Cuba Baseball Finals Could End Tonight

by Circles Robinson

Vladimir Baños picked up a big win for Pinar del Rio.

HAVANA TIMES, April 29 — The Cuban baseball season could come to an end tonight if Pinar del Rio finishes off Ciego de Avila in game five of their championship series.

On Thursday the pride of the island’s westernmost province held on for a 5-4 win over Ciego’s top pitcher Vladimir Garcia putting the series at three games to one.

Pinar del Rio jumped off to a 5-1 lead after seven innings, helped by four costly errors committed by Ciego, the Cuban league’s best defensive team during the regular season.

Then in the top of the ninth the Ciego offense finally came alive against Pinar starter Vladimir Baños, who gave up three runs total. Reliever Jesus Guerra settled down after almost blowing the game to get a save.

Yosvani Peraza, Raidel Alvarez and Luis Alberto Valdes had two hits each, accounting for six of Pinar’s nine hits.

Vladimir Garcia went seven innings allowing five runs, but only one earned, in taking the loss. The other Vladimir, Baños – who pitched a no-hitter this season – was the winner for Pinar.

Yoelvis Fiss blasted a three-run homer off Guerra (two charged to Baños) with nobody out to bring the score to 5-4 before the reliever got the final three outs.

The series continues tonight with Game Five in Pinar del Río. If Ciego de Avila forces a sixth game it, and a possible seventh would be in Ciego de Avila on May 2 and 3.