Cienfuegos Isn’t Kidding, Beats Champs

By Circles Robinson

HAVANA TIMES, Feb. 27 — Cienfuegos is nothing compared to last season when they battled all year for the cellar.  On day one of this season’s first round playoffs on Saturday the Elephants hung on for a 5-4 win over last year’s league champions, La Habana.

Catcher Osvaldo Arias, the Cienfuegos clean-up hitter, drove in two runs and scored another to lead his team.  This year’s batting sensation, first baseman Jose Dariel Abreu, went 2-3 and scored a run.  Second baseman Adriano Garcia also had two hits and scored twice.

For Habana, the team that plays out of San Jose de Las Lajas south of the capital, Ernesto Molinet had three hits and drove in two.

Two of Cuba’s top pitchers, loser Yulieski Gonzales and winner Norberto Gonzales both gave up four earned runs, Yulieski in 5.1 innings and Norberto in 7,1.

Later on Saturday, Sancti Spiritus, the league’s top team during the regular season, squares off at home against Industriales, the favorite of the capital Havana.