By Robiel Vega
What seemed impossible was completed this Sunday afternoon, January 22, Agricultores walked off Portuarios 7×6 and won their third consecutive game to turn around a final that seemed to be slipping away from their hands.
Agricultores scored as early as in the first inning thanks to a sacrifice fly by Yordanys Alarcón that brought in Yuniesky Larduet from third; but Portuarios countered an inning later with an RBI-single to right by Roberto Acevedo that propelled Yasiel Santoya.
The home team did not give truce and took the lead again in the bottom of the frame with another sacrifice fly by Dailier Peña that drove in Andrés de la Cruz. in the third. they extended their lead when Yosvany Alarcón grounded into a double play with the bases loaded, which made Yuniesky Larduet score for the second time in the game.
But the Portuarios did not give up and between the fourth and fifth inning they scored a pair of runs that momentarily evened the score; the first, driven in by Acevedo, his second of the game, and the second by Oscar Valdés’ clutch hit.
But the joy in the bench of the Portuarios did not last long, because in the bottom of the fifth Agricultores scored a big cluster of three, with the offensive trident of Las Tunas, the Alarcón brothers and Rafael Viñales, who connected a trio of hits that put a seemingly definitive lead on the board.
From that moment on, there was a nice pitchers’ duel between relievers Joel Mojena and Andy Vargas, who, despite doing a good job in 5.1 innings, allowed three in the fifth.
Mojena yielded four runs in 6.1 innings, did not walk any batters and struck out one, making more than 100 deliveries to the plate but still could not get the win, as he left two runners on in the ninth, which finally caused the tie.
In the last inning, with two on board, Alberto Pablo Civil came to the rescue, but could not keep the game from getting tied after a single by Yasniel González. The best closer in the league took a second breath and retired an unfocused Yasiel Santoya with a strikeout, but Oscar Valdés sliced a golden hit that drove the two runs that tied the score.
Agricultores started the bottom half of the ninth by putting their first man on base, outfielder Dailier Peña, Larduet sacrificed and took Peña to second so that Osvaldo Abreu walked off Portuarios with a championship hit to center field that drove in the winning run.
A dramatic end to a hard fought playoff that crowned a tournament that despite being a complete disaster organizationally speaking, it was saved by the real protagonists, the ballplayers.
The victory finally went to Alberto Pablo Civil, despite not making a good relief, while Marlon Vega took the loss.
Carlos Martí maintained his undefeated record in the finals and Agricultores completed a historic and unique comeback in national tournaments, as never before had a team been able to win a final after trailing 1-3.
It is important to highlight the work during the entire final of the lineup formed by Yordanys Alarcón, Yosvany Alarcón, Rafael Viñales and Guillermo Avilés, who collected hits in all seven games of the final and drove in the great majority of the runs of Agricultores, who were a true offensive steamroller.
All credit to the Portuarios, because they never gave up and gave life and excitement to an Elite League that seemed doomed since its very foundation.
We already have our representatives to the Caribbean Series, we only need to define who will be the reinforcements and how many.