1871: Serie Preliminar

seed / cabezaLiga Betanceswins / triunfoslosses / derrotasLiga Hostoswins / triunfoslosses / derrotas
#1
The logo of the Eléctricos de Guayanilla: a bold red "G" in square type on a yellow circle bordered in red.
2711
The logo of the Artesanos de Las Piedras: a cursive dark green "LP" on a dark blue circle, bordered in silver-green-silver.
2810
#2
The logo of the Maceteros de Vega Alta: a purple "VA" in an angular font with sharp edges, bordered in white and black, on a golden background dotted with black, bordered with black and then purple.
2414
The logo of the Polluelos de Aibonito: a lowercase serif "a" in orange, bordered in black, on a blue circle bordered in black, then orange, then black.
2612
#3
The logo of the Picudos de Ceiba: a "C" in white offset type, bordered in black and then gold, on a blue circle speckled with darker blue, bordered in black and then green.
2414
The logo of the Criollos de Caguas: black "CC" in bold serif type, bordered in white, on a gold circle with very faint black patterning, bordered in black.
2612
#4
The logo of the Chupacabras de Canóvanas: gold "CC" letters in thick type, bordered in white, on top of a black circle striped thoroughly with purple, bordered with purple, blue, and purple.
2315
The logo of the Capitanes de Mayagüez: a red "M" on a navy circle bordered in red.
2414
#5
The logo of the Tiburones de Aguadilla: A navy-blue "A" with weird irregular stylings in blue, against a yellow circle pockmarked with navy dots, bordered in blue and then navy.
2315
The logo of the Piratas de Quebradillas: a blue "P" in ragged, map-like font, on a white circle with brick patterns in black, bordered by blue and then brown.
2414
#6
The logo of the Maratonistas de Coamo: a pale golden "C" in thick block type on a white circle bordered in pale gold, black, and pale gold again.
2216
The logo of the Montañeses de Utuado: a squarely-built light blue "U" bordered in white and brown on a brown circle, bordered in black and light blue.
2414
#7
The logo of the Combatientes de Cabo Rojo: a gold "CR" in modern font, bordered in black, on a green circle studded with black dots, bordered in navy-white-navy.
2117
The logo of the Próceres de Barranquitas: a very fancy white "B" on a purple circle bordered in black-gold-black.
2315
#8
The logo of the Patriotas de Lares: a light blue "L" in Old English type, bordered in black on a white circle bordered in red and sky-blue.
2117
The logo of the Poetas de Toa Alta: "TA" in black Gothic font, bordered in white, on a purple glossy circle bordered in black-gold-black.
2216
#9
The logo of the Murciélagos de Camuy: a teal "C" in italic athletic block type bordered in white, on a purple circle with black patterning, bordered in black.
2018
The logo of the Esqueletos de Vieques: a narrow red "V" bordered in white and then black, on a purple circle where every other pixel is in black, bordered with black-red-black.
2117
#10
The logo of the Cuervos de Patillas: a purple "P" in square font, bordered in blue, on a black circle studded with blue, bordered in blue and then purple.
2018
The logo of the Mogotes de Florida: a red "F" bordered in black on a green circle, bordered in yellow and red.
2117
#11
The logo of the Caciques de Orocovis: a gold, wide O bordered in black and white on a dark green circle, which itself is bordered in gold and brown.
2018
The logo of the Petateros de Sabana Grande: a teal "SG" in athletic script, bordered in black and then yellow, on a purple circle studded with teal dots, bordered in teal-white-teal.
2218
#12
The logo of the Conquistadores de Guaynabo: A silver "G" in thin script on a green circle, bordered in black and silver.
2019
The logo of the Avancinos de Villalba: a gold slightly cursive "V" on a navy circle, bordered in white and teal.
2018
#13
The logo of the Guabaleros de Comerío: a goofy orange "C" in quirky type, bordered in white and then black, on a seafoam green circle with orange dots, bordered in orange, red, and orange.
1623
The logo of the Macabeos de Trujillo Alto: a golden "TA" bordered in in violet, on a white circle bordered in deep blue and then gold.
1820
#14 / WC1
The logo of the Petroleros de Peñuelas: navy and gold "PP" letters in modern type, bordered in white, on a black circle bordered in navy, white and navy again.
2414
The logo of the Cerros de Jayuya: a dark green "J" in boss type, on a white circle bordered in silver and dark green.
2315
#15 / WC2
The logo of the Soles de Luquillo: a dark red "L" in fancy curlicue font on a background of gold with black circles, bordered in black and then white.
2315
The logo of the Santos de Adjuntas: a green gothic "A" bordered in white on a purple circle streaked with black dots, bordered with black and then white.
2117
#16 / WC3
The logo of the Guardianes de Dorado: a green "D" in fancy script on a black circle gridded with green, bordered in green.
2216
The logo of the Atléticos de San Germán: a black "SG" in Gothic type on a pink circle bordered in white and then black.
2219

To the sparse staff that populated the halls—or hall, in those days—of the headquarters of the Liga Nacional Puertorriqueña, this was the secret weapon.

Baseball was played elsewhere, after all. Despite the league’s best efforts, in fact, Puerto Ricans of especially nationalistic stripe kept pointing out that the league had derived a national sport from the nebulous memories of a few revolutionaries.

As the LNP took shape, its founders, oddly cognizant of their experiment’s limitations, wondered whether perhaps the 38-game season—el ciclo, as they called it—was too short to demonstrate the true abilities of each team. 

What if, afterwards, they played more baseball?

Surprisingly, the league found little opposition to the proposal, especially once they drew up the divisions whose winners would enter the postseason. For the players, it would mean a little more money before they tried to earn offseason jobs with their team sponsors; in turn, the sponsors appreciated the additional money to pay their players, often in lieu of considering them for those very jobs.

For the odd baseball fan—and in those days, baseball fans were quite odd in Puerto Rico—it meant a few more games, especially if your team made a run of it.

Of course, without the benefit of hindsight, no one in the league could have known that they were trying to shoehorn a long-haul sport into two dense months of continuous baseball, or that this meant leaving teams that had not yet displayed the full range of their mettle out of the first torneo.

What they would discover very quickly, however, is that 78 teams and 32 playoff spots brought with them their own brand of chaos.

liga betances

The logo of the Eléctricos de Guayanilla: a bold red "G" in square type on a yellow circle bordered in red.

VS.

The logo of the Guardianes de Dorado: a green "D" in fancy script on a black circle gridded with green, bordered in green.

#1 Eléctricos (.711) vs. #16 Guardianes (.579)

The Eléctricos had combined the fourth-best offense in Betances, led by right fielder José “La Sombra” Ruiz and his .408 average, with a dynamite pitching staff led by Iván Cancino—league leader in wins, innings pitched, complete games, WHIP, and fewest runs allowed—and his late-inning 91 MPH fastballs.

While the Guardianes were only middling moundsmen, their offense was just behind Guayanilla—and any baseball fan knows a player like centerfielder Pedro Sepeda, with his 91.4% stealing success rate, can make the difference when he gets hot—and hot he got, scoring five badly-needed runs in Game 2.

Guardianes (#16) advance, 3-0.

#2 Maceteros (.632) vs. #15 Soles (.605)

With very little pitching depth, the Maceteros had turned to their fielders as run prevention, and proven extraordinarily successful—they allowed 5.5 per game, the fewest in Betances.

Unfortunately for them, the Soles, who were much worse on defense, had the hitting services of right fielder Orlando Cuevas and third baseman Roberto Ortega in the lineup, and in the words of Ángel Venegas, “at the end of the day, it’s about who scores the most runs.”

Soles (#15) advance, 3-2.

The logo of the Maceteros de Vega Alta: a purple "VA" in an angular font with sharp edges, bordered in white and black, on a golden background dotted with black, bordered with black and then purple.

VS.

The logo of the Soles de Luquillo: a dark red "L" in fancy curlicue font on a background of gold with black circles, bordered in black and then white.

The logo of the Picudos de Ceiba: a "C" in white offset type, bordered in black and then gold, on a blue circle speckled with darker blue, bordered in black and then green.

VS.

The logo of the Petroleros de Peñuelas: navy and gold "PP" letters in modern type, bordered in white, on a black circle bordered in navy, white and navy again.

#3 Picudos (.632) vs. #14 Petroleros (.632)

In their first season, the Picudos had already established their calling card: other than ace Celestino Rubio, the entire team was made up of skilled players who won games via solid consistency rather than explosive performance.

The Petroleros, on the other hand, had built a lineup on which nearly every starter displayed a dogged tendency to get on base by any means necessary. Their thunderbats, led by shortstop Jorge Peña and first baseman Leo Aparicio, put up some of the best offensive performances of the league. And yet . . .

Picudos (#3) advance, 3-1.

#4 Chupacabras (.605) vs. #13 Guabaleros (.410)

Canóvanas had assembled the most complete offense in Betances. Second baseman José Mendoza, left fielder Rigoberto “El Casero” Ramos, center fielder Omar Ruiz, and even reliever Gerardo Castillo put up seasons that would have made them the darlings of other teams—and the Crípticos needed them, because their pitching was lamentable in every possible respect.

As their losing record shows, the Guabaleros had benefited from a weak division and a completely unrewarded 1.96 ERA performance by David López, who would not even get to pitch in the postseason. So it went.

Chupacabras (#4) advance, 3-2.

The logo of the Chupacabras de Canóvanas: gold "CC" letters in thick type, bordered in white, on top of a black circle striped thoroughly with purple, bordered with purple, blue, and purple.

VS.

The logo of the Guabaleros de Comerío: a goofy orange "C" in quirky type, bordered in white and then black, on a seafoam green circle with orange dots, bordered in orange, red, and orange.

The logo of the Tiburones de Aguadilla: A navy-blue "A" with weird irregular stylings in blue, against a yellow circle pockmarked with navy dots, bordered in blue and then navy.

VS.

The logo of the Conquistadores de Guaynabo: A silver "G" in thin script on a green circle, bordered in black and silver.

#5 Tiburones (.605) vs. #12 Conquistadores (.513)

These two teams, in terms of scoring their own runs and preventing their opponents from scoring more, were literally right next to each other: the Tiburones scored 7.1 runs and allowed 6.2, against Guaynabo’s respective 6.9 and 6.3. 

There’s not much else to say.

Tiburones (#5) advance, 3-1.

#6 Maratonistas (.579) vs. #11 Caciques (.526)

Spoiler: the Maratonistas would never again have it this good. Centerfielder Gil Avelar and his .403 average may have been the most famous part of the 1871 Coamo offense, but with three starters hovering around 130 wrC+, it was obvious this team scored in bunches—and averaging 10.2 runs a game only confirmed it.

Orocovis would never have it so good again either, but in their case, their performance did not exactly deserve it.

Maratonistas (#6) advance, 3-2.

The logo of the Maratonistas de Coamo: a pale golden "C" in thick block type on a white circle bordered in pale gold, black, and pale gold again.

VS.

The logo of the Caciques de Orocovis: a gold, wide O bordered in black and white on a dark green circle, which itself is bordered in gold and brown.

The logo of the Combatientes de Cabo Rojo: a gold "CR" in modern font, bordered in black, on a green circle studded with black dots, bordered in navy-white-navy.

VS.

The logo of the Cuervos de Patillas: a purple "P" in square font, bordered in blue, on a black circle studded with blue, bordered in blue and then purple.

#7 Combatientes (.553) vs. #10 Cuervos (.526)

During the regular season, these two teams had very similar output on offense. The Cuervos, who contended with the better paper teams in Arroyo and Maunabo, tried four different starting pitchers and found them, at best, satisfactory, while the Combatientes went for a mildly competent duo.

Unfortunately for Cabo Rojo, the Cuervos also had their second-round pick: 38-year-old right fielder Hichem “El Bloqueo” Khemiri, who absolutely torched everything the Combatientes threw at him.

Cuervos (#10) advance, 3-1.

#8 Patriotas (.553) vs. #9 Murciélagos (.526)

This was a classic mismatch: the Patriotas were built on a solid pitching rotation led by Juan García and Juan Laboy, who had just thrown the first (and, as of 1871, only) no-hitter in LNP history.

The Murciélagos used fourteen players as pitchers during the season, and their record was mostly due to left fielder Antonio González and his corner colleague Félix Mendoza batting their hearts out.

You’ve heard the rest before.

Murciélagos (#9) advance, 3-0.

The logo of the Patriotas de Lares: a light blue "L" in Old English type, bordered in black on a white circle bordered in red and sky-blue.

VS.

The logo of the Murciélagos de Camuy: a teal "C" in italic athletic block type bordered in white, on a purple circle with black patterning, bordered in black.

liga hostos

The logo of the Artesanos de Las Piedras: a cursive dark green "LP" on a dark blue circle, bordered in silver-green-silver.

VS.

The logo of the Atléticos de San Germán: a black "SG" in Gothic type on a pink circle bordered in white and then black.

#1 Artesanos (.737) vs. #16 Atléticos (.537)

One look at the Las Piedras rotation handily explained their league-best record—Leonel Jaramillo took the ace spot with a 12-9 record and a 2.00 ERA, with Jorge Álvarez (11-1 / 2.09) playing backup and Alejandro Sánchez (5-0 / 1.81) in reserve. 

Against that, the Atléticos could only hope to have the kind of gallant and completely unexpected performance that defines a postseason hero.

It didn’t happen.

Artesanos (#1) advance, 3-1.

#2 Polluelos (.684) vs. #15 Santos (.553)

The Polluelos won their games in two main ways: Álvaro Manchacha‘s steel arm, which gave him the durability needed to throw over 184 innings of very good baseball, and a tenacious defense that boasted surprisingly good range.

The Santos, on the other hand, gave up over two more runs on average than Aibonito, and appear to have relied, for the most part, on getting lucky with José Marcos, one of the few flyball pitchers in the early Liga Nacional and a base-granting machine during the regular season.

Luckily, when he took the ball in Game 5, he looked like a completely different pitcher.

Santos (#15) advance, 3-2.

The logo of the Polluelos de Aibonito: a lowercase serif "a" in orange, bordered in black, on a blue circle bordered in black, then orange, then black.

VS.

The logo of the Santos de Adjuntas: a green gothic "A" bordered in white on a purple circle streaked with black dots, bordered with black and then white.

The logo of the Criollos de Caguas: black "CC" in bold serif type, bordered in white, on a gold circle with very faint black patterning, bordered in black.

VS.

The logo of the Cerros de Jayuya: a dark green "J" in boss type, on a white circle bordered in silver and dark green.

#3 Criollos (.684) vs. #14 Cerros (.605)

Within a few years, the statement that the 1871 Criollos were the most exciting team in the league—between starter Ricardo Pérez, the #5 prospect on Opening Day, Alejandro Arisméndez hitting .357 and manning the hot corner, and a bounty of young, hungry players—would be farcical, even though they had posted one of the most balanced stat lines in the entire Liga Nacional.

Against that, the Cerros could only offer Dámaso Esparza‘s thoroughly pedestrian pitching and the batting prowess of third baseman Rogelio Román, who didn’t even look like himself when he came up to bat during this series. And yet . . .

Cerros (#14) advance, 3-2.

#4 Capitanes (.632) vs. #13 Macabeos (.474)

On paper, Trujillo Alto should have been terrified. Mayagüez had Josué Díaz and his 163 wrC+ at first base, with Juan Alcántar (129) in left field and José Millán (133) in center, and third baseman Ernesto Martínez (149) to boot, while the Macas had ridden a garbage division—the Vejigantes had the worst record in all of baseball—into the torneo. 

It was the perfect time for men like centerfielder Ricardo Montaner, a slightly above-average defender, to go 6-19 with a double and a triple, scoring five runs over three games, and for Marco Flores to pitch his heart out in Games 1 and 3, striking out three Capitanes each time and allowing only six earned runs. 

Macabeos (#13) advance, 3-0.

The logo of the Capitanes de Mayagüez: a red "M" on a navy circle bordered in red.

VS.

The logo of the Macabeos de Trujillo Alto: a golden "TA" bordered in in violet, on a white circle bordered in deep blue and then gold.

The logo of the Piratas de Quebradillas: a blue "P" in ragged, map-like font, on a white circle with brick patterns in black, bordered by blue and then brown.

VS.

The logo of the Avancinos de Villalba: a gold slightly cursive "V" on a navy circle, bordered in white and teal.

#5 Piratas (.632) vs. #12 Avancinos (.526)

If there was a source of high hopes for Villalba, it was that they were quite good on the defensive side of the ball—enough that even the good offenses of Hostos could have some trouble.

Unfortunately, the Piratas were not just good; they were the second-best offense in Hostos, and when shortstop Adrián Hernández put up five hits in Game 3, including two doubles and a triple, they proved they were more than up to snuff.

Piratas (#5) advance, 3-1.

#6 Montañeses (.632) vs. #11 Petateros (.550)

Between right fielder Carlos Manjarrez and shortstop David Ramos on offense and Eduardo “El Sedoso” Hernández and Omar Rodarte on the mound, it’s a wonder the Montañeses didn’t have the best record in their league. 

And yet, the Petateros, who had been considered a longshot to even make the playoffs, dismantled them with ease.

Petateros (#11) advance, 3-1.

The logo of the Montañeses de Utuado: a squarely-built light blue "U" bordered in white and brown on a brown circle, bordered in black and light blue.

VS.

The logo of the Petateros de Sabana Grande: a teal "SG" in athletic script, bordered in black and then yellow, on a purple circle studded with teal dots, bordered in teal-white-teal.

The logo of the Próceres de Barranquitas: a very fancy white "B" on a purple circle bordered in black-gold-black.

VS.

The logo of the Mogotes de Florida: a red "F" bordered in black on a green circle, bordered in yellow and red.

#7 Próceres (.605) vs. #10 Mogotes (.553)

Other than the 6-2, 1.87 ERA line Domingo Flores put up for Barranquitas, neither one of these teams had the kind of standout players that typically respond well to reaching the postseason.

Mogotes (#10) advance, 3-1.

#8 Poetas (.579) vs. #9 Esqueletos (.553)

The Poetas allowed exactly 6 runs per game, on average, which was 1.7 fewer than the Esqueletos; in turn, Vieques scored 1.4 more runs per game than Toa Alta.

In this series, neither team pitched well, which meant the job went to the lineups—and when your team is lucky enough to have David Dután, commonly agreed upon as the best infielder of the early 1870s, between second and third, good things tend to happen.

Esqueletos (#9) advance, 3-0.

The logo of the Poetas de Toa Alta: "TA" in black Gothic font, bordered in white, on a purple glossy circle bordered in black-gold-black.

VS.

The logo of the Esqueletos de Vieques: a narrow red "V" bordered in white and then black, on a purple circle where every other pixel is in black, bordered with black-red-black.

Era esto el arma secreta de les poques empleades que habitaban los pasillos—que entonces era uno solo—de la sede de la Liga Nacional Puertorriqueña.

Era obvio que la pelota no era deporte oriundo de Puerto Rico. De hecho, a pesar de los esfuerzos de la liga, les boricues más nacionalistes señalaron varias veces que la liga intentaba inventarse un deporte nacional con las memorias nebulosas de un puñado de revolucionarios.

Sin embargo, les fundadores de la liga, reconociendo los límites de su experimento, se preguntaron si tal vez un ciclo de 38 partidos no era demasiado corto para juzgar las verdaderas habilidades de cada equipo.

La solución, quizás, era jugar más.

Al proponerlo, les sorprendió no encontrar mucho desacuerdo, especialmente cuando establecieron las divisiones cuyos ganadores entrarían. Para los jugadores, era un poco más dinero antes de buscar trabajo con sus patrocinadores; a su vez, los patrocinadores utilizarían ese dinero para pagar a sus jugadores, muchas veces en vez de darles dichos trabajos.

Para los raros fanáticos—y en esos días, ser fanático de pelota en Puerto Rico era bastante raro—significaba poder ver más partidos, mientras sus equipos siguieran triunfantes.

Claro, sin tener la historia como retrospectiva, nadie sabía que estaban tratando de meter un deporte de largo plazo en dos meses repletos de pelota, o que significaría botar del primer torneo a varios equipos que todavía no habían demostrado sus fuerzas verdaderas.

Lo que aprendieron muy rápidamente, sin embargo, es que tener 78 equipos y 32 cabezas de torneo era redefinir el caos.

liga betances

The logo of the Eléctricos de Guayanilla: a bold red "G" in square type on a yellow circle bordered in red.

VS.

The logo of the Guardianes de Dorado: a green "D" in fancy script on a black circle gridded with green, bordered in green.

#1 Eléctricos (.711) contra #16 Guardianes (.579)

Entre el guardabosque derecho José “La Sombra” Ruiz, con su promedio de .408, y el elenco excelente encabezado por Iván Cancino—quien ocupó el primer puesto en triunfos, entradas lanzadas, partidos completos, OBEL, y permitió menos carreras que cualquier otro—y sus derechitas de 91 MPH en las últimas entradas, los Eléctricos tenían la cuarta ofensa de la Liga Betances.

Por otro lado, aunque los Guardianes no eran la gran cosa en el montículo, sus bateadores estaban justo detrás de Guayanilla—y todo fanático de pelota sabe que jugadores como el guardabosque central Pedro Sepeda, con su porcentaje 91.4% de robo, representan la diferencia cuando se calientan. Y sí que se calentó, anotando cinco carreras muy necesarias en el segundo partido.

Guardianes (#16) avanzan, 3-0.

#2 Maceteros (.632) contra #15 Soles (.605)

A pesar de tener muy pocos lanzadores, los Maceteros permitieron sólo 5.5 carreras por partido, la tasa mínima de Betances, al enfocarse en evitarlas con buen trabajo defensivo.

Desafortunadamente, los Soles eran peores defensores, pero tenían los bates del guardabosque derecho Orlando Cuevas y el antesalista Roberto Ortega. Como dijo Ángel Venegas, “al fin del día, lo que importa es anotar más carreras.”

Soles (#15) avanzan, 3-2.

The logo of the Maceteros de Vega Alta: a purple "VA" in an angular font with sharp edges, bordered in white and black, on a golden background dotted with black, bordered with black and then purple.

VS.

The logo of the Soles de Luquillo: a dark red "L" in fancy curlicue font on a background of gold with black circles, bordered in black and then white.

The logo of the Picudos de Ceiba: a "C" in white offset type, bordered in black and then gold, on a blue circle speckled with darker blue, bordered in black and then green.

VS.

The logo of the Petroleros de Peñuelas: navy and gold "PP" letters in modern type, bordered in white, on a black circle bordered in navy, white and navy again.

#3 Picudos (.632) contra #14 Petroleros (.632)

Los Picudos ya habían sentado sus bases en su primera temporada: tenían a Celestino Rubio como as, y el resto del equipo eran jugadores hábiles que ganaban partidos por consistencia más que actuaciones milagrosas.

A cambio, los Petroleros se cargaron de jugadores testarudos que llegarían a base como diera modo. Sus bates tronantes, encabezados por el campocorto Jorge Peña y el inicialista Leo Aparicio, montaron entre las mejores actuaciones en la liga. Y sin embargo . . .

Picudos (#3) avanzan, 3-1.

#4 Chupacabras (.605) contra #13 Guabaleros (.410)

Canóvanas tenía el conjunto más completo de Betances. Los desempeños de José Mendoza en segunda base, Rigoberto “El Casero” Ramos en el bosque izquierdo, su colega Omar Ruiz en el centro, y hasta el relevo Gerardo Castillo brillarían todavía más en otros equipos—y los Crípticos los necesitaban a todos, pues sus lanzadores eran un desastre.

Como demuestra su historial negativo, los Guabaleros se aprovecharon de una división débil y la efectividad 1.96 de David López, quien no tituló en el torneo y perdió su escaño con el equipo. Así pasó.

Chupacabras (#4) avanzan, 3-2.

The logo of the Chupacabras de Canóvanas: gold "CC" letters in thick type, bordered in white, on top of a black circle striped thoroughly with purple, bordered with purple, blue, and purple.

VS.

The logo of the Guabaleros de Comerío: a goofy orange "C" in quirky type, bordered in white and then black, on a seafoam green circle with orange dots, bordered in orange, red, and orange.

The logo of the Tiburones de Aguadilla: A navy-blue "A" with weird irregular stylings in blue, against a yellow circle pockmarked with navy dots, bordered in blue and then navy.

VS.

The logo of the Conquistadores de Guaynabo: A silver "G" in thin script on a green circle, bordered in black and silver.

#5 Tiburones (.605) contra #12 Conquistadores (.513)

En términos de apuntar sus carreras y prohibir las contrarias, estos equipos eran vecinos muy cercanos: los Tiburones apuntaron 7.1 carreras por partido y permitieron 6.2: los Conquistadores, respectivamente, 6.9 y 6.3.

No queda mucho por decir.

Tiburones (#5) avanzan, 3-1.

#6 Maratonistas (.579) contra #11 Caciques (.526)

Revelamos: los Maratonistas nunca volverían a este nivel. El guardabosque central Gil Avelar y su promedio .403 era la parte más famosa de un conjunto que apuntaba 10.2 carreras por partido, la tasa máxima de Betances, gracias a tres jugadores titulares que sobrepasaban el 130 wRC+.

Orocovis tampoco volvería, pero en su caso, no era tan merecido.

Maratonistas (#6) avanzan, 3-2.

The logo of the Maratonistas de Coamo: a pale golden "C" in thick block type on a white circle bordered in pale gold, black, and pale gold again.

VS.

The logo of the Caciques de Orocovis: a gold, wide O bordered in black and white on a dark green circle, which itself is bordered in gold and brown.

The logo of the Combatientes de Cabo Rojo: a gold "CR" in modern font, bordered in black, on a green circle studded with black dots, bordered in navy-white-navy.

VS.

The logo of the Cuervos de Patillas: a purple "P" in square font, bordered in blue, on a black circle studded with blue, bordered in blue and then purple.

#7 Combatientes (.553) contra #10 Cuervos (.526)

Los ataques de estos equipos se parecían mucho en la temporada. Los Cuervos, quienes en teoría tenían enemigos más duros en Arroyo y Maunabo, trataron cuatro lanzadores titulares que más o menos sirvieron. Los Combatientes prefirieron un dúo de talento promedio.

Tristemente, los Cuervos tenían al guardabosque derecho Hichem “El Bloqueo” Khemiri, selección de segunda ronda y 38 años, quien sitió al elenco entero de Patillas.

Cuervos (#10) avanzan, 3-1.

#8 Patriotas (.553) contra #9 Murciélagos (.526)

Un desfase clásico: los Patriotas tenían una rotación sólida dirigida por Juan García y Juan Laboy, quien acababa de lanzar el primer (y, en 1871, el único) juego sin imparables en la historia de la liga.

Por otro lado, los Murciélagos utilizaron a catorce jugadores como lanzadores en la temporada. Debían sus triunfos más que nada a los guardabosques Antonio González (izquierdo) y Félix Mendoza (derecho) jugando a batazo limpio.

El resto ya lo han oído.

Murciélagos (#9) avanzan, 3-0.

The logo of the Patriotas de Lares: a light blue "L" in Old English type, bordered in black on a white circle bordered in red and sky-blue.

VS.

The logo of the Murciélagos de Camuy: a teal "C" in italic athletic block type bordered in white, on a purple circle with black patterning, bordered in black.

liga hostos

The logo of the Artesanos de Las Piedras: a cursive dark green "LP" on a dark blue circle, bordered in silver-green-silver.

VS.

The logo of the Atléticos de San Germán: a black "SG" in Gothic type on a pink circle bordered in white and then black.

#1 Artesanos (.737) contra #16 Atléticos (.537)

Bastaba con mirar a los titulares de Las Piedras para explicar su marca, que era el mejor en la liga. Leonel Jaramillo era el perito, con un historial 12-9 y efectividad de 2.00, con Jorge Álvarez (11-1 / 2.09) de número dos y Alejandro Sánchez (5-0 / 1.81) en reserva. 

Contra eso, la única esperanza de los Atléticos era lograr el tipo de desempeño valiente que define a un héroe del torneo.

No la obtuvieron.

Artesanos (#1) avanzan, 3-1.

#2 Polluelos (.684) contra #15 Santos (.553)

Los Polluelos ganaban sus partidos de dos maneras: el brazo de acero de Álvaro Manchacha, que tenía aguante para lanzar 184 entradas de buena pelota, y una defensa tenaz con buen alcance.

Por el otro lado, los Santos permitieron dos carreras más que Aibonito, y parecían fiarse más de la suerte de José Marcos, que otorgó bases con desenfreno en la temporada y era uno de los pocos lanzadores de plegaria en la liga del 1871.

Con suerte, cuando le dieron la bola en el quinto partido, parecía un lanzador completamente distinto.

Santos (#15) avanzan, 3-2.

The logo of the Polluelos de Aibonito: a lowercase serif "a" in orange, bordered in black, on a blue circle bordered in black, then orange, then black.

VS.

The logo of the Santos de Adjuntas: a green gothic "A" bordered in white on a purple circle streaked with black dots, bordered with black and then white.

The logo of the Criollos de Caguas: black "CC" in bold serif type, bordered in white, on a gold circle with very faint black patterning, bordered in black.

VS.

The logo of the Cerros de Jayuya: a dark green "J" in boss type, on a white circle bordered in silver and dark green.

#3 Criollos (.684) contra #14 Cerros (.605)

Dentro de unos años, sería absurdo decir que los Criollos habían sido el equipo más estimulante de la liga. Sin embargo, en 1871, entre el titular Ricardo Pérez, que había sido la promesa #5 el primer día de abril, Alejandro Arisméndez y su promedio de .357 en la esquina caliente, y una plenitud de jugadores jóvenes y hambrientos, lograron el desempeño más equilibrado de la liga.

Contra eso, los Cerros sólo podían ofrecer las destrezas prosaicas de Dámaso Esparza y la proeza del antesalista Rogelio Román, que no se parecía a sí mismo durante esta serie. Y sin embargo . . .

Cerros (#14) avanzan, 3-2.

#4 Capitanes (.632) contra #13 Macabeos (.474)

En teoría, los Macabeos tendrían que aterrorizarse. Mayagüez tenía a Josué Díaz y su wRC+ de 163 en primera base, Juan Alcántar (129) en el bosque izquierdo, y para colmo a Ernesto Martínez (149) en la antesala, mientras que los Macas entraron al torneo con la ayuda de una división tan trágica que los Vejigantes tenían el peor historial en la liga entera.

Era el momento perfecto para jugadores como el guardabosque central Ricardo Montaner, defensor talentoso, para batear 6-19 con doblete y triplete y apuntar cinco carreras en tres partidos, y para Marco Flores lanzarse la vida en el primer y tercer partido, ponchando tres cada vez y permitiendo sólo seis carreras limpias.

Macabeos (#13) avanzan, 3-0.

The logo of the Capitanes de Mayagüez: a red "M" on a navy circle bordered in red.

VS.

The logo of the Macabeos de Trujillo Alto: a golden "TA" bordered in in violet, on a white circle bordered in deep blue and then gold.

The logo of the Piratas de Quebradillas: a blue "P" in ragged, map-like font, on a white circle with brick patterns in black, bordered by blue and then brown.

VS.

The logo of the Avancinos de Villalba: a gold slightly cursive "V" on a navy circle, bordered in white and teal.

#5 Piratas (.632) contra #12 Avancinos (.526)

Si Villalba tenía esperanza, era que sabían algo de defensa—suficiente que le daban dificultades hasta a los buenos ataques de Hostos.

Desafortunadamente, los Piratas no eran sólo buenos; eran el segundo ataque más productivo en Hostos, y cuando el campocorto Adrián Hernández disparó cinco indiscutibles en el tercer partido, incluyendo dos biangulares y un triplete, probaron que eran más que pasables.

Piratas (#5) avanzan, 3-1.

#6 Montañeses (.632) contra #11 Petateros (.550)

Entre los bates del guardabosque derecho Carlos Manjarrez y el campocorto David Ramos y el mando monticular de Eduardo “El Sedoso” Hernández y Omar Rodarte, es una maravilla que los Montañeses no tenían la marca mejor de la liga. 

Y aun así, los Petateros, quienes habían sido apuesta arriesgada para llegar al torneo, los despacharon fácilmente.

Petateros (#11) avanzan, 3-1.

The logo of the Montañeses de Utuado: a squarely-built light blue "U" bordered in white and brown on a brown circle, bordered in black and light blue.

VS.

The logo of the Petateros de Sabana Grande: a teal "SG" in athletic script, bordered in black and then yellow, on a purple circle studded with teal dots, bordered in teal-white-teal.

The logo of the Próceres de Barranquitas: a very fancy white "B" on a purple circle bordered in black-gold-black.

VS.

The logo of the Mogotes de Florida: a red "F" bordered in black on a green circle, bordered in yellow and red.

#7 Próceres (.605) contra #10 Mogotes (.553)

Fuera de la línea 6-2 con efectividad de 1.87 que Domingo Flores tuvo con Barranquitas, ninguno de los dos equipos tenía el tipo de jugadores que suelen salir bien en el torneo.

Mogotes (#10) avanzan, 3-1.

#8 Poetas (.579) contra #9 Esqueletos (.553)

Los Poetas permitieron exactamente 6 carreras por partido, 1,7 menos que los Esqueletos; a su vez, Vieques apuntó 1.4 más carreras por partido que Toa Alta.

En esta serie, ningún equipo lanzó bien, lo que significaba que el trabajo fue de los ataques—y cuando un equipo tiene a David Dután, el mejor jugador de cuadro de la primera mitad de los años 1870, entre segunda y tercera base, suelen pasar cosas buenas.

Esqueletos (#9) avanzan, 3-0.

The logo of the Poetas de Toa Alta: "TA" in black Gothic font, bordered in white, on a purple glossy circle bordered in black-gold-black.

VS.

The logo of the Esqueletos de Vieques: a narrow red "V" bordered in white and then black, on a purple circle where every other pixel is in black, bordered with black-red-black.

Comment away! / Dale, ¡di algo!

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