2010-2011 Cuban National League
Two records were broken. Duniel Ibarra saved 27 games, breaking the two-year old record held by Vladimir García. A more prominent mark fell as well, also two years old, as Alfredo Despaigne's 32 homers from 2008-2009 were topped by two players. José Dariel Abreu and Yoennis Céspedes both hit 33, Abreu doing so despite missing about a quarter of the season with a shoulder injury.
The playoffs were notable for the absence of some of Cuba's most dominant teams. The Industriales (winners of 12 of the first 49 titles, including last season) and Santiago de Cuba (winners of 8) both missed out on the playoffs. The only teams with multiple titles to get into the playoffs were Villa Clara (3 titles, squeaking in with the 4th and final spot in the East), La Habana (also 3 titles) and Pinar del Rio (2 titles). Pinar del Rio made the finals to face Ciego de Avila, which had never been to the championship before.
The finals began on April 23. Vladimir García (Ciego de Avila) and Yosvani Torres (Pinar del Rio) traded goose eggs for two innings, but Torres crumbled in the third, allowing five runs. A 3-run homer by DH Isaac Martínez was the big blow. Erlis Casanova tossed 5 1/3 shutout innings after relieving Torres, but the hole was too big for his teammates, who fell 5-3. García struck out 8 for the win, including #5 batter Yosvani Peraza all four times they faced off. Yadir Rabi got the last out in the 9th for the save.
On April 24, Pinar del Rio evened the series at a game apiece. They roughed up Maikel Folch for seven hits and three runs in 4 1/3 IP to knock him out with a 3-0 deficit. Julio Martinez tosses five shutout innings before being tagged for a 3-run homer by RF Rusney Castillo to tie the game in the 6th. In the 7th, though, Pinar del Rio scored once off Rabi to take a 4-3 lead they would not relinquish. Vladimir Baños tosses 2 2/3 shutout innings for the save and 1B William Saavedra and 3B Donal Duarte each drive in two for the winners.
At Estadio Capitán San Luis on April 27, Pinar del Rio took the lead with a 14-4 pounding. Saavedra (3 for 5, 3 R, 3 RBI, a triple shy of a cycle), C Lorenzo Quintana (3 for 5) and RF Mijain Rivera (3 for 5) led the onslaught to give Yosvani Torres a win. Ciego de Avila starter Yander Guevara took the loss, allowing three runs while retiring only one batter.
Pinar del Rio won game four by a one-run margin on April 28 to take a 3 game to 1 series lead. Baños allowed a second-inning run thanks to a Saavedra error, but would later retire 16 in a row. Vladimir García was also doing well, shutting out Pinar del Rio for the first four innings. Bad defense then cost the Tigers, as they allowed four unearned runs from the 5th through the 7th (and one earned run), putting Pinar del Rio ahead, 5-1. Baños finally flagged in the 9th, though, putting Yorbis Borroto and Rusney Castillo aboard. After 111 pitches, he was finally yanked by Alfonso Urquiola in favor of Jesús Guerra Jr.. CF Yoelvis Fiss promptly took Guerra deep and suddenly, a one-sided contest became a one-run affair. Guerra settled down, retiring Isaac Martínez and LF Abdel Civil. 1B Yorelvis Charles coaxed a walk then PH Mario Vega got out to end it.
Game five, on April 29, was a showcase for young pitchers as Rabi and Julio Martinez each tossed a gem. Martinez allowed only four hits in eight innings, allowing a sacrifice fly to Yoelvis Fiss in the first and a run on a wild pitch in the 5th to fall behind 2-0. In the 9th, Fiss led off with a home run to put Ciego de Avila ahead, 3-0. Rabi finally allowed a run in the bottom of the 9th, as Yosvani Peraza teed off. He put two on with one out and Yander Guevara saved the game to keep the Tigers' hopes alive.
Pinar del Rio rapped up the title in game six on May 2 thanks to another stellar outing from Torres, who wound up the MVP of the finals. In front of 12,000 fans on the road, Torres held Ciego de Avila to one run on eight hits in a complete game performance. The only run for the hosts came in the second, on a homer by Fiss. Pinar del Rio got all the scoring it needed in the third. CF Reinier León, the #9 hitter, doubled off Vladimir García, and 2B David Castillo singled. A crucial error by C Lisdey Díaz scored León and put Quintana aboard, but Castillo was out on the play. Duarte singled to put runners on the corner, then LF Saavedra hit a sacrifice fly for a 2-1 lead. 1B Norlis Concepción doubled in Duarte for an insurance run. In the 4th, Castillo and Quintana singled, then García threw a wild pitch. Duarte walked to load the bases, then Saavedra drove in Castillo for a 4-1 edge. In the 8th, Pinar del Rio tacked on two more runs to wrap it up. Castillo finished the day 3 for 4 with a homer, two runs and two RBI.
- Bold indicates Zona champion; Italics indicates Serie Nacional champion
|Pinar del Rio||50-39||8.5||Alfonso Urquiola|
|Sancti Spíritus||49-41||10||Lourdes Gourriel Sr.|
|La Habana||49-41||10||Esteban Lombillo|
|Isla de la Juventud||38-52||21||Armando Johnson|
|Ciego de Ávila||55-35||--||Roger Machado|
|Villa Clara||50-39-1||4.5||Eduardo Martín|
|Santiago de Cuba||45-45||10||Antonio Pacheco|
|Las Tunas||43-47||12||Pablo Alberto Civil|
- First round
- Ciego de Ávila 4, Villa Clara 3
- Granma 4, Guantánamo 3
- Cienfuegos 4, La Habana 1
- Pinar del Rio 4, Sancti Spíritus 2
- Pinar del Rio 4, Cienfuegos 2
- Ciego de Ávila 4, Granma 2
- Championship Series
- Pinar del Rio 4, Ciego de Ávila 2
The Juego de las Estrellas (All-Star Game) was held at Estadio 5 de Septiembre in Cienfuegos, Cienfuegos on February 6, 2011. In the game, the Orientales defeated the Occidentales by a score of 15 to 13 in 10 innings. The winning pitcher was Alexander Rodríguez and the losing pitcher was Duniel Ibarra. Yoelvis Fiss homered twice for the champions while Alexander Guerrero drilled a 3-run homer in the 10th. Yasiel Puig drove in five for the losers.
- Bold indicates either wooden bat record or aluminum bat record (1976-1977 to 1998-1999), Italics indicate Serie Nacional record
The Most Valuable Player (Jugadores más Valiosos) was José Dariel Abreu of Cienfuegos. Gerardo Concepción of the Industriales was the Series' Rookie of the Year (Novatos del Año). Yosvany Torres was named Postseason MVP.
All-Stars were C Yosvany Alarcón (Las Tunas), 1B Abreu, 2B Héctor Olivera Jr. (Santiago de Cuba), SS Alexander Guerrero (Las Tunas), 3B Donald Duarte (Pinar del Rio), RF Alfredo Despaigne (Granma), CF Yoennis Céspedes (Granma), LF Frederich Cepeda (Sancti Spiritus), DH Lázaro Herrera (Matanzas), UT William Saavedra (Pinar del Rio), RHP Freddy A. Alvarez (Villa Clara), LHP Norberto González (Cienfuegos) and RP Duniel Ibarra (Cienfuegos).
Gold Glove awards went to C Lorenzo Quintana (Pinar del Rio), 1B Yoennis Southerán (Guantanamo), 2B Yeison Pacheco (Holguin), SS Dainier Gálvez (La Habana), 3B Raúl González (Ciego de Ávila), RF Yusniel Ibáñez (Cienfuegos), CF Reutilio Hurtado (Santiago de Cuba), LF Joanquín Carbonell (Santiago de Cuba) and P Vladimir García (Ciego de Ávila)