By José Alejandro Rodríguez Zas
Last Saturday March 19, in the framework of the Cuban Baseball All-Star Game, played in Estadio Victoria de Girón, in Matanzas, there was an interesting Little League game. The team of Bayamo, current National Champion, beat host Matanzas 12-1.
During that game, baseball fans in the Island could appreciate the young talent being developed in Cuba from the early categories, hoping to bring the necessary generational substitutes. They also learned about the tournament.
At the same time, they witnessed the nine strikeouts in-a-row by Granma’s hurler Pedro Castillo, as well as the homer hit by one of the Gurriel’s descendents, Luis Enrique Gurriel, Jr., who hit the ball out all the way through centerfield.
Precisely, this Saturday March 26 was supposed to be the date of the Eastern Final of the Second Little League National Championship between the teams of Bayamo and Yaguajay, according to a Facebook report by journalist Hernández Luján, the game was canceled because Yaguajay was disqualified from the tournament for having used an illegal player. Their victory in the semi finals was annulled and Bayamo was left without a defined rival for the Eastern title.
“The eastern final, which was initially supposed to be held this Saturday, was rescheduled for April 2. The games of the defending national champions were supposed to be against the team of Yaguajay, from Sancti Spíritus, but the latter was disqualified after a protest of the team of Camagüey,” said Luján following an information received from Radio Ciudad Monumento from Bayamo.
The reason for the disqualification was because “the catcher the team of Yaguajay used was in reality from Remedios, in Villa Clara,” despite the fact that he studies in Yaguajay and has a letter of authorization from his home province to play in Sancti Spíritus since 2020, “the protest of the Camagüey team was validated.”
For all of the above, the tournament’s authorities decided that the teams of Camagüey and Ciego de Ávila, the ones that were eliminated by Yaguajay, play a best-of-three semi final play off this Saturday (doubleheader) and if need be, Sunday March 27.
The winner will play for the eastern title against Bayamo, a team that will waiting for their rivals in the Beisbolito (Little League Field) Manuel Alarcón of Granma’s capital. The winner of the eastern crown will face the winner of the western crown, not only for the gold medal, but also for securing a spot for the Caribbean Regional Tournament, to be played in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, from July 5 to July 10.