By Carlos Torres Bujanda
HERMOSILLO, MEXICO–For those that remained from the sellout crowd that settled in to watch the Caribbean Series final, Mexico’s Yaquis de Ciudad Obregon’s 4-3 win over the Dominican Republic’s Leones del Escogido was worth a seven and a half hour wait.
In the longest game in Caribbean Series history, Mexico’s Doug Clark homered in the top of the 18th. Marco Carillo allowed a single to Miguel Tejada with two outs in the bottom of the 18th, but Donnell Linares lined out to end the game.
"It was a crazy game, I didn´t look for the homer. Now is time to celebrate,” Clark said.
It’s a miracle that anyone had enough energy to celebrate. The game took 7:28 to play and included 500+ pitches and 19 pitching changes.
It was the seventh Caribbean Series title for Mexico, and the second for Yaquis. They also won the 2011 edition. The Yaquis tied Tomateros de Culiacan with two crowns for Mexico in the "Clásico Caribeño".
The Dominican Republic club had dominated the Caribbean Series, but it was Mexico that controlled the championship game. Escogido did score first when Abraham Almonte doubled in the third inning and scored on a Jose Ramirez groundout.
But Mexico took the lead with two runs in the top of the fifth. Barbaro Canizarez doubled to lead off the inning and scored on a groundout. Oscar Robles scored the second run on an error by right fielder Jordanny Valdespin.
For the next three innings it looked like Mexico’s narrow lead would hold up. But in the bottom of the ninth, Mexico’s closer Luis Ayala gave up a game-tying home run to the first batter he faced–Ricardo Nanita.
The Dominican Republic club had several chances to pick up a walk-off win in extra innings. They had runners on first and second with no one out in the 10th but Valdespin’s bunt failed to get the runners over and Hanley Ramirez couldn’t get a fly ball out of the infield.
The Dominican Republic had a pair of baserunners in the 12th and 13th as well. After Karim Garcia homered to give Mexico a 3-2 lead in the 14th, Miguel Tejada singled to score Valdespin to tie the game in the bottom of the 14th, but Linares struck out to strand Nanita at second base.
The Dominican Republic also stranded a pair of runners in the 16th and 17th. For the game, the Dominican Republic stranded 21 baserunners as the club went 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position.
Carillo pitched four scoreless innings to pick up the win. Edward Valdez gave up Clark’s home run for the loss.