Industriales Secret Weapon: Pitcher Joan Socarras

By Pilar Montes

HAVANA TIMES, April 1 — A baseball pitcher with glasses? When Industriales manager German Mesa called Joan Socarras to the pitcher’s mound in the seventh inning yesterday, experts and fans alike put their hands on their heads and hoped for the best.

The skinny 19-year old had had a bad debut in the playoffs and was almost immediately replaced last Sunday when he allowed Villa Clara to score two runs. On that occasion he looked bad and nervous, but the seventh game of the finals became his moment of glory.

With nothing to lose, this gaunt youth who came from the junior league of the 15-16 category as a southpaw sensation, “El Soca” as he is called by teammates and friends, assumed the challenge and used his entire pitching repertoire.

Fastballs around 84 miles per hour, but mainly resorting to curveballs and a sort of screwball that sinks in front of hitters, took veteran sluggers like Borrero, Pestano and others on the Villa Clara squad off balance.

Slowly and surely, he struck-out five of the Villa Clara lineup to wrap up the victory of the Industriales blue lions.

Of course there were other heroes on the blue side, like Stayler Hernandez (outfielder), Alexander Malleta (first base and pitcher prompter, soul of the team), Rudy Reyes (shortstop), Yoandri Urgelles (outfielder) and Arley Sanchez (starting pitcher).

After four years and a 49th season that was nothing to brag about, Industriales made it to the playoffs and gained in enthusiasm and teamwork until the final victory.