By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, May 19 — Villa Clara showed on Monday that defeating the defending champion Santiago de Cuba in the quarterfinal playoffs was no fluke. The Orangemen came out swinging in game one of the Eastern Division championship series while the rival Ciego de Avila Tigers were all goose eggs.
The other scheduled dual, Game Two between Habana (0-1) and Pinar del Rio (1-0), was postponed due to rain.
The top of the Villa Clara lineup accounted for most of the firepower in the 8-0 win, with the number two hitter Aledmis Diaz (SS) driving in two runs. Andy Zamora (rf) batting third drove in another two and clean-up hitter Ariel Borrero (1B) had three RBIs including a two-run homer. Leadoff hitter Leonys Martin scored twice.
Ciego de Avila managed eight hits but couldn’t put them together. Yoelvis Fiss (cf) was 2-for-2 with a double and Yorelis Charles (1B) had two singles. Twice, in the first and fourth innings, Ciego de Avila loaded the bases but failed to score.
Villa Clara used four pitchers to complete its shutout. Starter Alain Sanchez went three innings allowing four hits, Robelio Carrillo walked his only batter, Yasmani Hernandez (the winning pitcher) threw 4.1 innings allowing three hits and Yolexis Ulacia closed with 1.2 innings allowing two hits.
For Ciego de Avila, lefthander Maikel Folch was not at his best allowing six runs, five earned in 5.1 innings, walking three and striking out four.
On Tuesday, La Habana hosts Pinar del Rio in Game Two of the Western Division championship. Pinar veteran star Pedro Luis Lazo squares off against Habana’s league leading ERA pitcher, Yadier Pedroso (1.91). In the East, Ciego de Avila plays again at home against Villa Clara in their Game Two. The probable pitchers are Valeri Garcia for Ciego and Yosvani Perez for Villa Clara.
Both division championships series are best-of-seven. For an insiders look at the playoffs read the Havana Times Cuban Baseball Playoffs Diary by Peter C. Bjarkman: http://havanatimes.org/?p=8213