US Defeats Cuba in Final Exhibition Game

Victor Mesa led Cuba to its 3-2 series victory despite losing the final game.

HAVANA TIMES — The US national collegiate baseball team defeated Cuba on Monday night by a score of 5-4 in the fifth and final match of an exhibition series held at Havana’s Latin American Stadium.

A three-run eighth inning rally lifted the US team to victory, although the Cubans did score one in the bottom of the inning to fall one run short.

Jonathan Crawford picked up the win, his second of the series, in relief of Carlos Rodon. The save went to Bobby Wahl who got the final three outs.

Johnny Field drove in two runs for the USA which had seven hits to Cuba’s nine.

Bright spots for Cuba were the three hits and an RBI from Mr. Clutch Frederich Cepeda, and two hits including a homer from Alfredo Despaigne.

While Cuban starter Odrisamer Despaigne failed to last three innings, good relief performances came from Dalier Hinohosa and Darien Nuñez who probably earned themselves a spot on the 24-roster for the tournament in Holland that starts on Friday.

Dissapointing relief jobs came from Vladimir Garcia, Antonio Romero (the losing pitcher) and Yoelkis Cruz.


The US team, loaded with several MLB prospects, won the first and fifth games of the series, but — although the island’s team managed to come up with an overall victory — it was obvious that the Cubans were pulling out the stops to obtain wins in the second, third, and fourth clashes.

Both teams will travel to Holland to participate in the Haarlem Baseball Week Tournament, scheduled from July 13 to 22, along with teams from Puerto Rico, Taipei China, Japan and the host team.

Cuba opens in Holland against Puerto Rico on the 13th and then plays USA on the 15th.

Cuba and the US will repeat their exhibition face-off within a year — though on US soil this next time — to continue these contests that had been canceled since 1996.