Miami Herald (Sunday)

Venezuela shuts out Dominicans for 8th Series title

- BY JORDAN MCPHERSON jmcpherson@miamiheral­ Jordan McPherson: 305-376-2129, @J_McPherson1­126

It had been nearly four decades since Tiburones de la Guaira represente­d Venezuela in the Caribbean Series. You have to go back to 1986 since the last time before this year that they won the Venezuelan Profession­al Baseball League and even then, Tiburones had never won the Serie del Caribe, the internatio­nal tournament that features the winners of the Caribbean and South America’s winter ball leagues, in any of its first four attempts.

That finally changed on Friday.

Tiburones won its first Serie del Caribe title — and the eighth overall for Venezuela — with a 3-0 win over the Dominican Republic’s Tigres del Licey in front of a soldout crowd of 36,677 at Miami’s loanDepot park.

It was the largest crowd ever for a Caribbean Series game, topping the crowd of 35,972 for the Dominican RepublicPu­erto Rico game during the round-robin portion of the tournament on Saturday, and was a higher attendance than the 2023 World Baseball Classic championsh­ip game (36,098), which was also held at loanDepot park.

The victory marked the first time since 2009 that Venezuela won the Serie del Caribe in 66 editions of the tournament that began in 1949 (the tournament was not held from 1961-69, as well as 1981). The others titles claimed by Venezuela: 2006, 1989, 1984, 1982, 1979 and 1970.

On Friday, Tiburones sealed the tournament win with another stellar pitching effort and executing on a couple of prime scoring opportunit­ies.

Five pitchers combined to limit the Tigres to just six hits.

Ricardo Pinto struck out six over 5 innings before leaving with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth after giving up a single to Emilio Bonifacio, walking Robinson Cano and hitting Dawel Lugo. Jorgan Cavaniero entered and eliminated the threat by getting Yadiel Hernandez to ground out to shortstop.

Silvino Bracho, Anthony Vizcaya and Arnaldo Hernandez pitched the final three innings, with Hernandez earning the save and sealing the championsh­ip win.

After each team was held scoreless over the first three innings, Tiburones finally struck in the fourth. Yasiel Puig, who appeared to experience hamstring discomfort in the first inning, led off with a single before being removed for pinch-runner Odubel Herrera. Ramon Flores followed with a single of his own before Luis Torrens moved both runners over with a sacrifice bunt. The Tigres then intentiona­lly walked Leonardo Reginatto to load the bases with one out, and nine-hole hitter Alcides Escobar responded with a sacrifice fly to right field to score Herrera.

Tiburones then scored two more runs in the fifth on a Wilfredo Tovar RBI triple and Herrera RBI groundout.


Tiburones, managed by one-time Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen, was arguably the most dominant team of the sevencount­ry tournament that also featured representa­tion from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Panama, Curaçao and Nicaragua.

The Venezuelan team went 5-1 in the roundrobin portion of the tournament, capped by Angel Padron throwing the second no-hitter in Caribbean Series history in its 9-0 win over Nicaragua on Wednesday. The team’s only loss was a 6-2 defeat to Puerto Rico.

In the semifinals, Tiburones rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to beat Curaçao 6-2 on Thursday to punch its ticket to the championsh­ip game against the Dominican Republic’s Tigre del Licey.

Tiburones had four players hit at least .321 with an OPS above .905 over their eight games: Tovar (.370 average, .933 OPS, three doubles, two RBI, four runs scored), Escobar (.364 average, .968 OPS, one double, one home run, three RBI, four runs scored), Flores (.345 average, .924 OPS, one double, one home run, eight RBI, five runs scored) and Hernan Perez (.321 average, .905 OPS, two doubles, one triple, five RBI, three runs scored).

Pinto, Padron and Miguel Romero were the workhorses on the mound, combining to pitch 33 of Tiburones’ 72 innings and posting a collective 1.60 ERA. Vizcaya and Cavaniero were perfect in six relief appearance­s apiece, while Hernandez was 4 for 4 in save opportunit­ies.


The combined paid attendance for the nineday, 25-game 2024 Caribbean Series at loanDepot park was 340,325.

Five games had announced crowds of at least 20,000 people.

Of those five games, four featured Venezuela: the championsh­ip game (36,667), the semifinal against Curaçao (20,459) and round-robin games against Puerto Rico (32,092) and the Dominican Republic (27,338).

The crowd for the championsh­ip game included a pair of baseball stars in Venezuela’s Miguel Cabrera and the Dominican Republic’s Juan Soto, as well as a handful of Marlins players (Venezuelan­s Luis Arraez and Avisail Garcia, along with Dominicans Sandy Alcantara, Eury Perez and Jesus Sanchez).

 ?? D.A. VARELA dvarela@miamiheral­ ?? Venezuelan players celebrate after winning the Serie del Caribe on Friday at loanDepot park in Miami.
D.A. VARELA dvarela@miamiheral­ Venezuelan players celebrate after winning the Serie del Caribe on Friday at loanDepot park in Miami.

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