The San Juan Daily Star
Mayagüez wins winter league championship in 7 games
The Mayagüez Indians won their 19th winter league baseball championship, and first in a decade, with a 2-1 victory over the Carolina Giants at Roberto Clemente Walker Stadium in Carolina on Wednesday night.
The Mayagüez Indians were crowned on Wednesday night as Puerto Rican winter baseball champions after defeating the Carolina Giants 2-1 at Roberto Clemente Walker Stadium in Carolina.
Mayagüez notched its 19th winter league championship and will represent Puerto Rico in the 2023 Caribbean Series in Venezuela.
The Indians had a season of ups and downs, and in the last week of the regular season the team hired veteran manager Mako Oliveras, the winningest helmsman in Puerto Rican baseball, to take over the team.
As soon as Oliveras arrived, the Indians strung together enough wins to qualify for the postseason with a 26-24 record, occupying the fourth position in the tournament.
In the semifinal, Mayagüez quickly dispatched the Caguas Criollos, 4-2, with a home run by Blaine Crim that took them straight to the final.
On Tuesday, a single by the Mayagüez’s Jeremy Rivera in the ninth inning forced a Game 7 in the Final Series of the Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League.
The Indians, who arrived in Carolina on Wednesday with the goal of ending a decadelong championship drought, entrusted their hopes in veteran pitcher Rob Whalen.
Whalen gave the tribe a solid six and one-third innings, striking out seven and allowing no runs for the win.
In the top of the second inning, Mayagüez scored the first run of the game when Rivera’s groundout to shortstop sent Crim home from third base.
An RBI double by Ruchie Palacios in the fourth inning made it 2-0 Mayagüez.
Facing closer Brandon Webb in the ninth inning, Carolina put the tying runs on base, but only managed to capitalize on one, not enough to avoid the setback.
Webb picked up the save, while Eduardo Rivera took the loss, allowing the two runs over six innings.
Rivera, of Aguada, was awarded the Copa Humana as the most valuable player in the finals.