2007 Caribbean Series
From BR Bullpen
The 2007 Caribbean Series (Serie del Caribe) is the thirtieth-seventh edition of the second stage of the Caribbean Series. It is being held in Puerto Rico from February 2 through February 7, 2007. The series features four teams from Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. The Aguilas Cibaeñas of the Dominican League won the series and were managed by Felix Fermin. The Most Valuable Player was Tony Batista, a third baseman with the Aguilas.
- The Aguilas Cibaeñas have been a frequent face in the Caribbean Series. They won their 19th Dominican League title in 2006-2007, tying the Tigres del Licey for the most in league history. Managed by Felix Fermin, the big names on the club were SS Miguel Tejada, 3B Tony Batista, 1B Jose Fernandez, P Julian Tavarez and veteran OF Luis Polonia, the all-time Series leader in hits and doubles. In the Series, they were led offensively by Batista (.259/.300/.667, 8 RBI, a Series-leading 3 HR), Tejada (.304/.448/.522, 6 R) and Fernandez (.211/.385/.474). They outscored their opponents 37-8. The team ERA was a stellar 0.87 and opponents hit just .183. Among the fine hurlers were Jose Acevedo (1-0, 0 R in 8 IP), Fabio Castro (0 R in 5) and Santiago Ramirez (0 R, 0 H in 4). They had 7 of the 12 members of the Series All-Star team.
- The Naranjeros de Hermosillo claimed their 15th Mexican Pacific League title in 2006-2007, beating out the defending LMP champion Venados de Mazatlan. Managed by Lorenzo Bundy, familiar names to US fans were 3B Vinny Castilla, P Elmer Dessens, 1B Erubiel Durazo and outfielder Karim Garcia. Outscored a whopping 45-13 in the Series, their offense was led by OF Luis A. Garcia, who hit .458/.480/.625 and was second in the Series in average as a one-man show. Among those struggling were former Series MVP Adan Amezcua (0 for 6), Durazo (1 for 18 with a walk and double), Karim Garcia (0 for 11, a walk, 5 Ks) and 2006 LMB batting champ/OF Derrick White (0 for 13, 7 K, a big defensive gaffe). Jose Silva (0-0, 3.60) was their lone hurler to work five or more innings and allow an average under .300; they allowed a .352 average while hitting just .216. Justin Lehr (0-1, 23.14), Pablo Ortega (0-2, 12.79) and Mauricio Tequida (1-0, 18.69) were hit the hardest.
- The Tigres de Aragua took home their sixth Venezuelan League title. Guided by Buddy Bailey, they included reigning Series MVP Ramon Hernandez at first base and Randall Simon at DH. Hernandez only hit .107/.138/.107 in a horrid series. Leading the way for the Venezuelans were SS Ronny Cedeno (.440/.481/.480), RF Jose Castillo (.321/.345/.536, 6 doubles), 3B/OF Oscar Salazar (.346/.393/.654, a tourney-leading 9 RBI) and pitchers Yohan Pino (0 R, 3 H, 10 K in 7 1/3 IP) and Josmir Romero (1-0, 0.00). They outscored opponents 26-25 overall. One weak spot on the staff was Rosman Garcia (0-1, 10.13). Salazar was their lone All-Star.
- The Gigantes de Carolina won their second consecutive Puerto Rican Winter League crown. Lino Rivera was the pilot of the club, which had Juan Gonzalez at DH and 10 present major leaguers on the roster. Leading the way in the Series were 1B Javier Valentin (.368/.500/.368), RF Armando Rios (.545/.615/.682, the tourney leader in OPS and average), IF Alex Cora (.364/.440/.455) and Gonzalez (.385/.385/.462). All but Cora made the Series All-Star team. Pitching very well were Carlos Alvarado (1-0, 0.73, 4 H in 12 1/3 IP) and Pedro Feliciano (2-0, 0 R in 5 IP). They outscored opponents 23-21.
 Final Standings
|Águilas Cibaeñas||Dominican League||6||5||1||.833||Felix Fermin|
|Carolina Giants||Puerto Rican League||6||4||2||.667||Lino Rivera|
|Tigres de Aragua||Venezuelan League||6||2||4||.333||Buddy Bailey|
|Naranjeros de Hermosillo||Mexican Pacific League||6||1||5||.167||Lorenzo Bundy|
- Batting Average: .545 - Armando Rios, Carolina
- Home Runs: 3 - Tony Batista, Águilas
- Runs Batted In: 9 - Oscar Salazar, Aragua
- Wins: 2 - Pedro Feliciano, Carolina
 Series All-Star Team
- C - Alberto Castillo, Aguilas (.261/.346/.391)
- 1B - Javier Valentin, Carolina (.368/.500/.368)
- 2B - Anderson Hernandez, Aguilas (.310/.344/.379)
- SS - Miguel Tejada, Aguilas (.304/.448/.522, 6 R)
- 3B - Tony Batista, Aguilas (.259/.300/.667, 3 HR, 8 RBI)
- OF - Alex Fernandez, Aguilas (.273/.273/.318)
- OF - Oscar Salazar, Aragua (.346/.393/.654, 9 RBI)
- OF - Armando Rios, Carolina (.545/.615/.682)
- DH - Juan Gonzalez, Carolina (.385/.385/.462)
- RHP - Jose Acevedo, Aguilas (1-0, 0.00)
- LHP - Fabio Castro, Aguilas (1-0, 0.00)
 The Games
 February 2
|Win: Almonte (1-0) Loss: Butto (0-1)|
The first game set Caribbean Series records for innings played and duration (6 hours and 13 minutes). Águilas DH Luis Polonia set a record with 9 plate appearances, going 1 for 8 with 3 strikeouts. In the fourth inning, Aragua RF José Castillo doubled, then scored on a hit by Ronny Cedeno. Long-time Aguilas star SS Miguel Tejada homered in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game. It was Tejada's 11th homer in Series history, tying Tony Armas Sr. for the career record.
In the sixth inning, Oscar Salazar singled and later scored on a Castillo double to put Venezuela ahead again. With two out in the bottom of the frame, Águilas 3B Tony Batista took Jose Lima deep to tie the score once more. 9 relievers then each threw 2 or more scoreless innings to keep this one going on for a while.
In the 18th, Luis Maza doubled off of Hector Almonte and Cedeno followed with a double to give the Tigers their third lead. In the bottom of the 18th, though, the Águilas rallied once more. C Alberto Castillo reached and took second on an error by pitcher Francisco Butto. Araguas C Steve Torrealba attempted a pick-off but he too erred, letting Castillo move to third base. LF Bernie Castro then singled home Castillo to tie the game. After a strikeout by Anderson Hernandez, Polonia singled for his first hit of the game and Castro took third. Tejada was intentionally walked to load the bases. Batista then hit a fly to Gregor Blanco and Castro came home with the winner.
Castro (2 for 3, run, RBI) was the hitting star for the Dominicans despite starting the game on the bench. Joel Peralta (2 hitless, walkless innings, 2 strikeouts) was the top Dominican hurler.
Yohan Pino threw three hitless innings, fanning four, from the 12th through the 14th. José Castillo (3 doubles in 8 AB) and Cedeno (3 for 7) were the top hitters for the Venezuelans.
|Win: Alvarado (1-0) Loss: Dessens (0-1)|
In a game that started close to midnight Puerto Rican time, the Carolina Giants put on a show in front of the crowd at Roberto Clemente Walker Stadium. They had four times as many hits as their Mexican opponents. RF Armando Rios (4 for 5, triple, 2 R, 2 RBI), DH Juan Gonzalez (3 for 5, 2 R) and P Carlos Alvarado (2 H, 0 BB, 1 R in 6 IP) were among the top performers for Carolina. For the Orange Growers, CF Alfredo Amezaga's home run was the lone bright spot in a dismal opener.
 February 3
|Win: Acevedo (1-0) Loss: Ortega (0-1)|
Hermosillo again struggled mightily in their second straight loss. 2B Anderson Hernandez went 3 for 5 with 2 runs a double despite a slightly turned ankle, DH Luis Polonia was 3 for 5 and 3B Tony Batista drove in five with two homers. In the fifth, he had an inside-the-park home run. Hermosillo LF Derrick White had touched the ball, then appealed to the umpire that it was caught in the wall. While he waited for the umpire to make a decision, Batista rounded the bases. With the Dominican bullpen depleted by the game one marathon, Jose Acevedo helped his club out with 8 innings of goose eggs, allowing five hits only.
|Win: Edwards (1-0) Loss: Garcia (0-1) Save: Buzachero (1)|
The Puerto Ricans kept up with the Dominicans by winning again but it took a while for them to claim this one. LF Oscar Salazar singled home 3B Luis Maza in the bottom of the second to give the Venezuelans the lead. In the third, CF Gregor Blanco took Bryan Edwards deep to make it 2-0. In the top of the fourth, Carolina 1B Javier Valentin singled. RF Armando Rios followed with a single to right and a throwing error by José Castillo (normally a second baseman) let Valentin score and Rios take third. Yadier Molina then singled to tie the score.
Things remained even until the 7th. Cory Bailey was relieved by Rosman Garcia and the trouble started. Carolina 2B Ruben Gotay doubled to left. CF Luis Matos bunted but Garcia erred and Gotay scampered to third as Matos took first. 3B Alex Cora then singled in two and DH Juan Gonzalez added another RBI single later in the inning to put the game out of reach.
For the Aragua club, bad defense had hampered them for a second consecutive outing while Garcia's lack of relief was crucial. Maza (2 for 3, walk, run) and Salazar (2 for 4, 2 RBI) had solid games.
 February 4
|Win: McClaskey (1-0) Loss: Lehr (0-1)|
The Orange Growers continued to sputter, getting routed for the third consecutive game, while the Tigers won their first in easy fashion after two heartbreakers, locking it up in the first inning. Hermosillo starter Justin Lehr allowed 5 runs in 1/3 of an inning before getting knocked out; one of the runners he left on would later score.
LF and #9 hitter Oscar Salazar went 4 for 4 with a walk, 3 runs, 5 RBI, a triple and a home run for Venezuela, while #5 hitter and RF José Castillo went 4 for 5 with 2 doubles, 2 runs and an RBI; he now had six doubles on the Series. Mexico was led by 1B Juan Canizalez, who was 2 for 3 with 2 RBI and a walk.
|Win: Castro (1-0) Loss: Albaladejo (0-1)|
The Dominicans tossed their second straight shutout, this one by Fabio Castro and three relievers. 1B Javier Valentin (2 for 4) and RF Armando Rios (1 for 2, 2 BB) provided all the hits for the Puerto Ricans, dropping the first in front of their home fans as the Dominicans took the matchup of the two previously unbeaten clubs.
To help them move into sole possession of first, the Águilas had 7 hits and 6 runs off of Jonathan Albaladejo, who got knocked out with none away in the second inning. It was a team offensive effort for the Dominican team including fine shows by 2B Anderson Hernandez (4 for 5, 3 R), SS Miguel Tejada (2 for 3, 2 runs, 2 RBI, walk) and C Alberto Castillo (2 for 3, BB, 2B, R). LF Bernie Castro was 0 for 2 but walked twice and scored three runs.
 February 5
|Win: Tavarez (1-0) Loss: Nunez (0-1)|
The Dominicans maintained their dominance, having allowed only two runs in the past 39 innings by the end of this game and moving to 4-0. Aragua was eliminated by a bad defensive effort for the third time in four games. José Castillo, playing out of position in right field, had two throwing errors, to give him three on the Series.
The Águilas got all they needed in the second. Tony Batista singled and RF Nelson Cruz singled, with Castillo making a throwing error on the play. 1B Jose Fernandez singled home Batista and Bernie Castro singled home Cruz.
Julian Tavarez was perfect for the first four innings when the Dominicans allowed their first run in 23 innings when Randall Simon opened the fifth with a single, Castillo doubled and Steve Torrealba hit a sacrifice fly.
Tavarez left in the sixth with a leg injury and Venezuela had their last serious shot that inning ended when Gregor Blanco was caught in a run-down and Fernandez made a leaping grab to rob Simon of a liner.
In the 7th, Jose Fernandez doubled home Cruz and scored on a hit by CF Alex Fernandez to put it away.
Cruz (2 for 3, 3 R, BB), Jose Fernandez (2 for 3, BB, 2B, R, 2 RBI), Alex Fernandez (2 for 4, 3 RBI) and Batista (2 for 4, 2 R, 2B, RBI) led the Dominican assault.
|Win: Feliciano (1-0) Loss: Hackman (0-1)|
Mexico finally played a competitive game, only to come away empty again, while Puerto Rico remained in the race. Hermosillo got going early when RF Luis A. Garcia singled home LF Jon Weber. In the third, Jose Santiago allowed another run when Garcia singled in 2B Carlos Alberto Gastelum. Troy Cate had gotten out of several prior jams but let Carolina tie it in the 4th when an error by Amezaga scored Yadier Molina and Luis Figueroa singled home Ruben Gotay. Mexico suffered another setback in the 5th when DH and #3 batter Erubiel Durazo was ejected for arguing over a strike call. Hermosillo loaded the bases in the 6th with one out but failed to score in their last major shot.
In the 10th inning, Carolina rallied off of reliever Luther Hackman. 3B Alex Cora singled and was bunted over by Figueroa. LF Hiram Bocachica reached on a throwing error by Alfredo Amezaga. DH Juan Gonzalez popped up and 1B Javier Valentin coaxed a walk to load the bases. RF Armando Rios then pulled a single to right field to score Cora and Bocachica.
Despite a hit by Luis A. Garcia in the bottom of the 10th, Pedro Feliciano held on for the win.
Cora and Rios both went 3 for 5 to lead the Carolina office, while Fernando Cabrera and Feliciano combined for five scoreless innings of relief. Luis A. Garcia (4 for 5, 2 RBI) powered the Hermosillo attack.
 February 6
|Win: DePaula (1-0) Loss: Ortega (0-2) Save: Vargas (1)|
In a surprisingly close game for the unbeaten Águilas, winless Hermosillo remained in this one until the end. Things started well for them as 2B Anderson Hernandez walked, DH Luis Polonia singled and SS Miguel Tejada doubled for a 1-0 lead with none out. An inning later, RF Luis A. Garcia hit a ground-rule double for Hermosillo and scored two outs later on a single by 3B Vinny Castilla.
In the bottom of the third, the Dominicans went ahead again on a homer by Rakuten Golden Eagles slugger Jose Fernandez for a 2-1 lead. In the sixth, Hermosillo LF Jon Weber singled off of Jose Capellan. With one out, Luis A. Garcia singled and an ill-advised throw by 3B Tony Batista let Weber come home as Batista's aim was off. Mexico had tied it up.
In the bottom of the 7th inning, Polonia, Tejada and Batista rapped three straight one-out singles against reliever Pablo Ortega. RF Nelson Cruz worked a walk to force in the go-ahead run and Fernandez hit a sacrifice fly to score another for a 4-2 edge.
Mexico wasn't done yet. Against reliever Arnie Munoz, SS Alfredo Amezaga reached on a wild pitch-strikeout and advanced on a groundout and another wild pitch. A grounder by Erubiel Durazo scored Amezaga and closed the gap to one run. C Alberto Castillo doubled and scored later in the frame, though, to give the Águilas some insurance.
After a leadoff ninth-inning single by 1B Juan Canizalez off of Jose Vargas, Vargas settled down by striking out LF Derrick White, getting Castilla to fly out and retiring PH Karim Garcia on a fly to left.
|Win: Romero (1-0) Loss: Collazo (0-1) Save: Butto (1)|
Needing a win to stay alive, Carolina sputtered offensively against Josmir Romero, failing to score in five innings against the Venezuelan starter. Willie Collazo dueled him evenly for five but in the sixth, gave up a run when 1B Ramon Hernandez singled in CF Gregor Blanco. The next inning, RF José Castillo walked and stole second, then scored on a hit by 3B Oscar Salazar to provide some insurance.
In the bottom of the 8th, Carolina finally got going in front of their fans as DH Juan Gonzalez doubled with one out. Kevin Tolar relieved but walked 1B Javier Valentin and allowed a single to RF Armando Rios to load the bases; Tolar was yanked at that point in favor of Francisco Butto. C Yadier Molina popped out to Salazar at third for out #2. 2B Ruben Gotay hit a grounder to first, where Ramon Hernandez (a catcher in MLB, though a first baseman frequently in winter play) erred to let Gonzalez score and make it a one-run contest but CF Cesar Crespo popped out to strand the bases loaded.
Salazar then built Aragua's lead back with a two-out homer in the top of the 9th off of Buzzie Buzachero. In the bottom of the 9th, Luis Figueroa singled with one out and after Hiram Bocachica struck out, Juan Gonzalez singled to put the tying run aboard but PH Victor Rodriguez flew out to center field to end the contest, eliminating Carolina and handing the Águilas the title.
In the decisive game for Carolina, Juan Gonzalez led the offense by going 4 for 5, but the club stranded 13 runners against the five Venezuelan hurlers. SS Ronny Cedeno (3 for 4) and 3B Salazar (2 for 4, 2 RBI, 1 HR) paced the Tigers' attack as they played the spoiler role.
 February 7
|Win: Tequida (1-0) Loss: Ovalles (0-1)|
Mexico battled for their only win of the Series, taking this one in the bottom of the 9th.
Hermosillo did score first. In the bottom of the fourth, 1B Vinny Castilla (playing his final game) doubled, then scored on a hit by RF Luis A. Garcia. They were the only hits the Orange Growers would manage against Venezuelan starter Horacio Estrada. In the fifth, Elmer Dessens allowed a run when SS Ronny Cedeno singled and CF Gregor Blanco followed with a triple to right that Garcia misplayed.
In the 7th, LF Luis Maza singled against Jose Silva and advanced on a wild pitch and a passed ball by Geronimo Gil. C Steve Torrealba brought him home with a single. Mexico tied it in the bottom of the frame when reliever Cory Bailey struggled after replacing Estrada. Luis A. Garcia doubled to lead off the inning, advanced on a grounder by PH Karim Garcia and scored one out later on a single by Gil as he redeemed his earlier defensive mistake.
The Tigers kept on fighting, though, and in the 8th, Blanco singled off of Silva. 2B Luis Rodriguez laid down a bunt but Silva fired to second to nab Blanco for the force. Another wild pitch by Silva sent Rodriguez to second. 1B Ramon Hernandez advanced Rodriguez with a ground-out then RF José Castillo singled in the run.
Hermosillo kept close, though, when 2B Carlos Alberto Gastelum singled and SS Alfredo Amezaga was plunked. LF Jon Weber flew out and Bailey threw a wild pitch, the third of the game. Castilla was intentionally walked to load the bases for cleanup hitter Luis A. Garcia, an odd move. Yohan Pino relieved and got Garcia to ground to third, but Gastelum scored as the Tigers could only record the out at second base. Juan Canizalez pinch-hit for Karim Garcia and was retired to keep the score 3-3.
In the top of the 9th, DH Alex Nunez and Cedeno both singled but were stranded in the last bid for Aragua. In the bottom of the inning, Juan Ovalles came in to pitch and allowed a triple to 3B Heber Gomez into the right-center gap. Gil grounded out to short but SS Jose Sandoval singled to right to bring in Gomez with the winner as Hermosillo avoided a winless tournament. It was the first win by a Mexican team in 12 Caribbean Series games since they had won the 2005 Caribbean Series.
|Win: Feliciano (2-0) Loss: Lima (0-1)|
With the Series results determined, all that remained was to see whether the Carolina club could join the Aguilas in posting a winning record or whether the Águilas entry would go unbeaten. Through six innings, neither Jose Lima nor Carlos Alvarado had allowed a run. Alvarado struggled in the 7th, putting two men on board and was relieved by Fernando Cabrera, who escaped further damage to keep the pitching duel going. Pedro Feliciano replaced Cabrera in the 9th and gave up a leadoff double to 3B Tony Batista but the Dominicans got no further.
In the bottom of the 9th, Lima finally ran into trouble. RF Armando Rios walked with one out and DH Juan Gonzalez singled to left. Lima was replaced by Arnie Munoz, who gave up the game-losing hit to 1B Javier Valentin on the first pitch he threw. The Dominicans took their only loss of the series as the home team finished 4-2 and one game out.
No player on either team had multiple hits, though both Jose Fernandez and Rios were 0 for 2 with two walks.
|Serie del Caribe (Caribbean Series)
| Most Valuable Player | Serie Interamericana | Confederación de Béisbol del Caribe|
|Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame|