2012-2013 Cuban National League
The 2012-2013 Cuban National League season began on November 25, 2012, with the defending champion Ciego de Ávila club winning 1-0 behind 8 no-hit innings from Vladimir García. The league introduced an unusual format due to the 2013 World Baseball Classic (in which Cuba dominated round one but was upset by the Netherlands in round two), with 16 teams playing 45 games apiece before the Classic. Afterwards, the top eight teams were allowed to add 5 players each from the bottom 8 teams and continue on to a second phase. The whole scheme created a lot of confusion.
One thing was done to reduce confusion as the league returned to its historical 16-team format with the elimination of the Metropolitanos after having played with 17 teams for a season. The league now had one team per province for the first time.
Two players reached milestones in early April. Joan Carlos Pedroso (no relation to Yadier Pedroso) became the 9th player to 300 career home runs on April 6. Three days later, Ciro Silvino Licea was the 7th hurler to 200 wins.
The finals faced a match-up of Villa Clara and Matanzas, with Villa Clara nearly sweeping to its first title in 18 years. The team had been barely over .500 in the first half but had benefited from its reinforcements to cruise from there. In the finals, Freddy Asiel Alvarez shut down Matanzas in the opener, running his playoff consecutive scoreless inning streak to 33, breaking Pedro Luis Lazo's Cuban record. The next day, June 12, Villa Clara won, 8-1, behind 3 homers and fine pitching from Misael Siverio. After two days off, Matanzas won its lone game, with Jorge Alberto Martínez tossing 8 shutout innings of four-hit ball in a 4-1 Matanzas win.
On June 16, though, Matanzas again had to face Alvarez; he finally allowed a run in the 8th after building his record to 40 2/3 consecutive scoreless postseason innings. Villa Clara won, 4-1. After a rain-out, Villa Clara won the finale, 8-5, thanks to a grand slam from veteran catcher Ariel Pestano in the 6th inning.
|Team||Classification Phase||Secondary Phase||Manager|
|Sancti Spíritus||31-14||22-19||Ruperto Zamora|
|Villa Clara||24-21||26-16||Ramón Moré Flaquet|
|Ciego de Ávila||24-21||21-21||Roger Machado|
|Isla de la Juventud||26-19||17-24||Armando Johnson|
|Pinar del Rio||24-21||12-30||Giraldo González|
|Las Tunas||23-22||N/A||Juan Miguel Gordo|
|Santiago de Cuba||18-27||N/A||Alcides Sánchez|
- Villa Clara 4, Cienfuegos 2
- Matanzas 4, Sancti Spíritus 3
- Villa Clara 4, Matanzas 1
On March 24, 2013, the 2012-2013 All-Star Game took place at Estadio José Antonio Huelga in Sancti Spíritus, Sancti Spíritus. The attendance was over 5,000. The Occidentales won, 13-9, with Fiss again putting a show, this time in a losing cause (3 for 5, 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI). Yasmani Tomás goes 2 for 4 with a double, homer, 3 runs and 3 RBI for the winners, while José Miguel Fernández scores three times. Vladimir Baños takes the win while Carlos Juan Viera is pounded for 7 runs in 1 1/3 IP in the loss.
- Bold indicates either wooden bat record or aluminum bat record (1976-1977 to 1998-1999), Italics indicate Serie Nacional record
Statistics are for classification phase only
The Most Valuable Player (Jugadores más Valiosos) was Ismel Jiménez of Sancti Spiritus. Norge Luis Ruíz of Camagüey was the Series' Rookie of the Year (Novatos del Año). Freddy Asiel Alvarez was named Postseason MVP. Elber Ibarra was named Umpire of the Year, while Ramón Moré took home Manager of the Year.
Offensive and Pitching All-Stars were C Lorenzo Quintana (Pinar del Rio), 1B Jose Dariel Abreu (Cienfuegos), 2B José Miguel Fernández (Matanzas), SS Yordan Manduley (Holguín-Villa Clara), 3B Yulieski Gourriel (Sancti Spiritus), OF Alfredo Despaigne (Granma-Pinar del Rio), OF Dayron Varona (Camagüey-Villa Clara), OF Frederich Cepeda (Sancti Spiritus), DH Yosvany Peraza (Pinar del Rio), UT Raúl González (Ciego de Ávila), RHP Joel Suárez (Matanzas), LHP Misael Siverio (Villa Clara) and RP Duniel Ibarra (Cienfuegos).
Gold Glove awards went to C Ariel Pestano (Villa Clara), 1B Joan Carlos Pedroso (Las Tunas-Isla de la Juventud), 2B Andy Sarduy (Villa Clara), SS Yordan Manduley (Holguín-Villa Clara), OF Lázaro Rodríguez (Cienfuegos), OF Dayron Varona (Camagüey-Villa Clara), OF Guillermo Heredia Jr. (Matanzas) and P Alberto Bicet (Santiago de Cuba-Ciego de Ávila).