1871: Series Eliminatoria e Interdivisional

  

1871: campeonatos

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

There was good coffee to be had in Dorado, even so soon after the Revolution, when Spanish ships still came to the shores of Arecibo to take on troops and materiel.

Just off the town square, in some small and nearly nameless shop, the Commissioner, in his simple and habitual black suit, was listening at the head of the table.

By virtue of his previous labors, he’d been able to scoop up quite a few good little functionaries—men who had lacked the proper patronage for high office in the various governmental agencies being set up left and right, but who certainly had the brains and willpower to carry the work of the league forward.

Two of them were currently devoting both aforementioned boons to a vociferous argument.

 

“It’s frankly insane that this has happened,” one of them was saying. “To have ten out of sixteen series go to the worse team—”

“What were you expecting? It’s clear to me that the season was too short. Some of the players didn’t know what they were doing until this week!”

“You have to admit it’s made the torneo interesting. Just with Guayanilla losing—”

“Oh, yes, very good. You’re not the one who has to deal with Hernández, he’s—”

“And who cares what Hernández thinks? There’s no way they would have won the pennant. He should be happy his team got the bonus.”

“Rogelio, for the love of God, to Hernández the money doesn’t matter. He thought he had guaranteed himself a win.”

“Well, then he can put one of those lightbulbs—” 

 

A hand, minatory and desperate, came close enough to the Commissioner’s coffee to awaken his diplomatic instincts. He cleared his throat, almost too quietly, and both men came to their senses.

 

“First of all, gentlemen, I must give you both thanks for being so forthright with your analyses. I confess myself impressed, although not surprised, by the depth of thought you have both given the subject.”

 

He omitted the length of said thought, and instead signaled to the back of the shop, whence emerged another young man. This one dressed in a hardier suit, meant for travel, and was armed with a small and equally hardy case.

 

“In any case, I also know that the three of us lack a certain access, as we are league officials, to the daily operations of the Liga Nacional. I have invited one of our seguidores to—hello, Alejandro.”

“It’s Agustín, sir,” the young man said, and to the other two added, “Agustín Espinosa. May I sit?”

“Of course. Do you know Señores Antúnez and Carvajal?”

“I have not met them, no.” The Commissioner saw the light of recognition in the young man’s eyes, and knew he’d chosen his man well, yet again. It was a gift. “I believe, however, that my father knew them both during the war.”

 

Espinosa’s words had the exact effect the Commissioner had hoped: Antúnez and Carvajal, who a moment ago appeared ready to argue exactly how well they knew the leagues over which they presided, now looked at the newcomer—and the narrow ledger he had just opened on the table, dangerously close to their mugs.

 

“Tell us, Agustín,” the Commissioner said. “What do you have for us?”

“There are many things I could say, sir, but I know you have too much to do already, so I’ll be quick.”

 

The young man steepled his fingers, closed his eyes for a moment, and let out a breath.

 

“This is not how baseball is supposed to be.”

liga betances

serie eliminatoria

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.

VS.

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

#10 Cuervos (.526) vs. #16 Guardianes (.579)

Espinosa had a point.

The Limpios had won more games than their opponent, and yet, because they had not lucked into a division with the Bucaneros and Jueyeros, had to be invited to the torneo.

Fortunately, for players like Pedro Sepeda and Rafael Arámbula, this was nothing more than a challenge. The two combined for three triples and eight stolen bases over four games, and unlike Guayanilla, the Cuervos simply didn’t have the power to keep up—especially when Fernando Galindo ran himself into a rib fracture, and Hichem “El Bloqueo” Khemiri had to sit out Game 4 with a sore knee.

Guardianes (#16) advance, 3-1.

#3 Picudos (.632) vs. #4 Chupacabras (.605)

Against the Guabaleros, Canóvanas could rely on a ponderous but efficient offense and their opponent’s absolutely baffling decisions for pitching.

No such luck would aid them against Ceiba, a team whose management was not only competent, but creative, and which had waited to unleash the full might of 24-year-old left fielder Ismael Arriaga until just before the torneo. 

Picudos (#3) advance, 3-1.

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 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.

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

#5 Tiburones (.605) vs. #6 Maratonistas (.579)

Another mismatch, with the Maras once again representing the offensive side of the equation against the Tiburones’ surprisingly decent pitching.

In a year where wild spurts of plate competence tended to lead to success, the Maratonistas were able to light up enough of Aguadilla’s staff to force a Game 5.

Starting pitcher Rogelio Román, who had practiced obsessively to hold on to an 0.99 WHIP in the torneo, even after starting nine of the Maratonistas’ ten games, snapped off his “slasher” in the top of the second . . . and dropped to the ground when his elbow popped.

Tiburones (#5) advance, 3-2.

#9 Murciélagos (.526) vs. #15 Soles (.605)

The Murciélagos were a bad pitching team with a very competent offense and a division full of garbage teams slapped together in a hurry.

The Soles, as already discussed, had decent pitching, above-average hitting, and had drafted several players, like second baseman Ángelo Quintero, who turned the jets on at the right times. 

Soles (#15) advance, 3-2.

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.

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.

serie interdivisional

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

#3 Picudos (.632) vs. #16 Guardianes (.579)

Arguably, this was the series the Guardianes had to win to prove themselves. The much-vaunted thunderbats of the Eléctricos were beatable with good speed, and the Cuervos had not been an actual threat beyond the inherent randomness of a short series. Sepeda, Arámbula, and José López, the third part of the Dorado outfield, were by far the major speed threat of the league.

The Picudos, on the other hand, had the kind of consistent, solid performance that left few holes for the Ejemplares to use to their advantage, and had it not been for a mess of injuries—the recurring back spasms that kept Celestino Rubio from pitching deep into games; the leg strain that forced shortstop Jordán Salgado to sit out Games 5 and 6; the (supposedly-purposeful) beanball that sidelined third baseman and Picudo torneo hero Rafael García—this could have easily gone the other way.  

Guardianes (#16) advance, 4-3.

At the time, since García was an excellent fielder who had suddenly become a hitting machine in the torneo, Ceiba played the game under protest and demanded the series be delayed until he returned. La Central denied both requests, citing that it would “unbalance” the Betances and Hostos series.

Given the common use of “los Limpios” to refer to the Guardianes, the fact that they may have intentionally injured a player in their first postseason seems at first blush rather ironic.

In fact, it’s likely the nickname stems from a different origin, as Tomás Garza Candel mentions in a recap written for La Metropol, a San Juan newspaper owned (unsurprisingly) by Metros sponsor Fabián Hurtado:  

It was sad to see a team like Dorado, which has lacked no small measure of success in this inaugural torneo, make use of what is without a doubt the most underhanded move available under the current regulations of the league: that is to say, to incapacitate an opposing batter of obvious prowess with a pitch targeted at their arms or hands.

 

Although Sr. García has been a model of gentility in what he has said about the subject, it is a job for the Commissioner to punish such tactics, before they grow common in the game.

 

Regardless, as has become usual with these Guardianes, they rarely stayed on any base for more than a play or two, as Sepeda, Arámbula and López were too swift for the efforts of the Ceiba catchers. Their nickname of “Limpios,” or sometimes “Barrebases,” remains well-deserved.

#5 Tiburones (.605) vs. #15 Soles (.605)

When Ángelo Quintero left Game 2 with what was almost certainly a concussion, against another of the top pitching teams in Betances, the Soles were convinced it was over. They had depended on one or two hitters to light up each opponent, and up until then, nothing was working.

Fortunately for Luquillo, “then” was the second inning of the second game, and despite the best efforts of Aguadilla’s pitching staff, the Soles rose to the occasion, starting with centerfielder Julio Pecina, whose four timely hits in Game 5 sealed the Tiburones for good.

Soles (#15) advance, 4-1.

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 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 Ingenieros de Rincón: a black cursive "R" bordered in white and then red, on a green circle streaked with black lines, bordered in black and then white.

A few of you may have thought you’d escaped further news from Rincón, but alas: during this series, catcher Juan González becomes the first player in Liga Nacional Puertorriqueña history to be diagnosed with gout, perhaps explaining his recurring knee pain at the age of 29.

Technically, he’s sidelined for three days, but the Ingenieros haven’t played since May 11th.

liga hostos

serie eliminatoria

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 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.

#1 Artesanos (.737) vs. #9 Esqueletos (.553)

Despite their absolutely incredible pitching staff, the Artesanos manage to give up four hits to Israel Cruz, who was soon to become a serious threat at the plate. Three days later, outfielder Ramón García, whose season was just barely a notch above average, takes revenge for Las Piedras with a similar game.

In the end, the Esques could have the bats to win—but the Artesanos command the mound, and everyone knows it. 

Artesanos (#1) advance, 3-2.

#13 Macabeos (.474) vs. #14 Cerros (.605)

According to Espinosa’s notes, when he spoke with the Commissioner before the beginning of the Serie Eliminatoria, Jayuya was his chief example of why a short season was absolutely unworkable.

Surprisingly, the Fritos made it something of a fight—but they had clearly been the worse team during the season, and the Cerros were only heating up, led by centerfielder Teófilo Peñalosa, who hit two triples and scored five runs during the series. 

Cerros (#14) advance, 3-2.

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.

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.

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 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.

#5 Piratas (.632) vs. #11 Petateros (.550)

While Quebradillas was the better team statistically, the Petas have a way of taking the fun out of other teams’ baseball—and apparently, they tried their best, as it’s reported that they put 18 hits on their line in one game, scoring around 10 runs.

But any team can do that once. Quebradillas had already proven they could do it much more often.

Piratas (#5) advance, 3-2.

#10 Mogotes (.553) vs. #15 Santos (.553)

Like many second basemen after him, Manuel Saldaña—who had put up a .270 average during the season—had turned into a giant of the Adjuntas lineup, batting .400 through the torneo.

In fact, during game four, he managed a 5-5 line, including three doubles—a new record—and his only triple of the torneo, scoring three runs and driving in four teammates.

It was the most notable performance of the series, and much more so for having been on a losing effort.

Mogotes (#10) advance, 3-1.

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

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.

serie interdivisional

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

#1 Artesanos (.737) vs. #14 Cerros (.605)

The Picachos had had close to no expectations when they began their journey in the torneo.

After all, drawing the Criollos as your first-round opponent should’ve been a death sentence: they were one of the few all-around teams in the Liga Nacional, and full of exactly the kind of talent the Cerros themselves were relying on.

But they’d sawed their way through Caguas, only to dig in and fight against a much less impressive Trujillo Alto team, and now they faced the Artesanos, the cream of Hostos, whose rotation had made mincemeat of stronger opponents.

The brothers Marcos and Rogelio Rodríguez, who manned the right side of the outfield and infield for Jayuya, took it as a challenge. After all, they were never supposed to get this far. 

Cerros (#14) advance, 4-1.

#5 Piratas (.632) vs. #10 Mogotes (.553)

The Mogos held the thinnest of pitching advantages against Quebradillas, but the Piratas were far and away the offensive powerhouse.

Florida, though, has always excelled at the strategic, long-term thinking that torneo teams find necessary, and this round was no different. Rather than try to beat the Piratas at the plate, the Mogotes hunkered down and defeated them on the other side of the ball, strangling Hostos’ second-most powerful offense under a confounding barrage of slow pitches. 

Mogotes (#10) advance, 4-2.

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

Aunque pasara tan poco tiempo después de la Revolución, y todavía venían naves españolas a las orillas de Arecibo para transportar soldados y suministros, en Dorado había buen café.

Justo al lado de la plaza mayor, en alguna tiendita casi sin nombre, el Comisionado, en su traje negro simple y habitual, escuchaba mientras presidía la mesa.

Gracias a sus trabajos anteriores, había logrado recoger various funcionarios de buen carácter—hombres faltos del mecenazgo necesario para alto oficio en los ministerios que iban estableciendo por todo el país, pero sí tenían el coco y las ganas para hacer lel trabajo que la liga les pedía.

En el momento, dos de esos hombres dedicaban esos dones a una discusión vehemente.

 

“Francamente es una locura que haya pasado esto,” decía uno. Que diez de las dieciséis series hayan ido al peor equipo—”

“¿Y qué esperabas? Me consta que la temporada fue demasiado corta. ¡Algunos de los jugadores no sabían qué hacían hasta esta semana!”

“Tienes que admitir que ha hecho el torneo interesante. Sólo con Guayanilla perder—”

“Ah, sí, muy bien. no eres el que tiene que lidiar con Hernández, él está—”

“¿Y a quién le importa lo que piense Hernández? No iban a ganarse el banderín. Que se quede tranquilo con el bono del torneo.”

“Por el amor de Dios, Rogelio, a Hernández lo que le importa es ganar, no el dinero.”

“Pues que se meta una de esas bombillas—”

 

Una mano desesperada amenazó el café del Comisionado con bastante cercanía para despertar sus instintos diplomáticos. Aclaró su garganta, casi sin ruido, y los dos hombres recuperaron el sentido.

 

“Primero que nada, caballeros, debo darles las gracias por ser tan francos con su análisis. Me confieso impresionado, aunque no sorprendido, con la profundidad del pensamiento que le han dado al tema.”

 

Prefirió pasar por alto el largo de dicho pensamiento, y señaló al fondo del café, de donde vino otro joven, éste vestido en un traje más robusto, hecho para viajar, y armado con un maletín igualmente robusto.

 

“De todos modos, también sé que a los tres, como oficiales de la liga, nos falta cierto acceso a las operaciones diarias de la Liga Nacional. He invitado a uno de mis seguidores—buenos días, Alejandro.”

“Es Agustín, señor,” dijo el joven, y a los otros dos añadió, “Agustín Espinosa. ¿Puedo sentarme?”

“Claro. ¿Conoce usted a los señores Antúnez y Carvajal?”

“No los he conocido, no.” El Comisionado vio los ojos del joven brillar al reconocer la oportunidad, y sabía que de nuevo había elegido bien. Era un talento. “Sin embargo, creo que mi padre los conoció durante la guerra.”

 

Las palabras de Espinosa tuvieron el efecto preciso que esperaba el Comisionado: hacía un momento, Antúnez y Carvajal parecían preparados para presentar por qué sí tenían esa perspectiva, pero ahora miraban en silencio al recién llegado—y la bitácora estrecha que acababa de poner sus tazas en peligro.

 

“Díganos, Agustín,” dijo el Comisionado. “¿Qué tiene para nosotros?”

“Hay muchas cosas que pudiera decir, señor, pero sé que ustedes tienen mucho que hacer, así que iré rápido.”

 

El joven juntó los dedos, cerró los ojos por un momento, y suspiró.

 

“No se supone que el juego sea así.”

liga betances

serie eliminatoria

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.

VS.

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

#10 Cuervos (.526) contra #16 Guardianes (.579)

Espinosa tenía un punto.

Aunque los Limpios habían ganado más partidos, fue necesario invitarlos al torneo, pues tuvieron la mala suerte de no compartir división con los Bucaneros y los Jueyeros.

Por suerte, para jugadores como Pedro Sepeda y Rafael Arámbula, esto sólo presentaba un reto. Los dos dispararon tres tripletes y robaron ocho bases en cuatro juegos, y a diferencia de Guayanilla, los Cuervos no podían seguirles el ritmo, especialmente cuando Fernando Galindo se fracturó una costilla corriendo, y Hichem “El Bloqueo” Khemiri tuvo que sentarse para el cuarto partido con una rodilla adolorida.

Guardianes (#16) avanzan, 3-1.

#3 Picudos (.632) contra #4 Chupacabras (.605)

Contra los Guabaleros, Canóvanas podía fiarse de su ataque, eficiente anque pesado, y las decisiones desconcertantes que hacían con sus lanzadores.

No habría tanta suerte contra Ceiba, cuyo equipo gerencial era no solamente competente, sino también creativo, y había esperado a soltar la fuerza total del guardabosque izquierdo Ismael Arriaga hasta justo antes del torneo.

Picudos (#3) avanzan, 3-1.

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 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.

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

#5 Tiburones (.605) contra #6 Maratonistas (.579)

Otro desequilibrio, con los Maras de nuevo representando el lado ofensivo contra los lanzadores de los Tiburones.

En un año donde esfuerzos supremos en el cajón solían tener mucho éxito, los Maratonistas lograron invitar a los Tibus a un quinto partido.

El titular Rogelio Román, quien había desarrollado un hábito obsesivo de práctica para seguir con un OBEL de 0.99 en el torneo, hasta después de titular nueve de los diez partidos de Coamo, tiró su “cuchilla” en la segunda alta . . . y cayó a la grama cuando su codo reventó.

Tiburones (#5) avanzan, 3-2.

#9 Murciélagos (.526) contra #15 Soles (.605)

Los Murciélagos eran un equipo con fuerza de bate, malos lanzadores, y dos equipos compañeros de basura, armados con prisa.

Como ya hemos dicho, los Soles tenían monticulares capaces, bates más que suficientes, y habían seleccionado varios jugadores, como el intermedista Ángelo Quintero, que sabían ponerse serios cuando era necesario.

Soles (#15) avanzan, 3-2.

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.

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.

serie interdivisional

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

#3 Picudos (.632) contra #16 Guardianes (.579)

Esta era la serie más necesaria para los Guardianes dar prueba.

Los bateadores cacareados de los Eléctricos se podían vencer con buena velocidad, y si no fuera por la aleatoridad de las series cortas, los Cuervos no hubieran sido amenaza alguna. Sepeda, Arámbula, y José López, el tercer guardabosque de Dorado, eran por bastante el grupo más rápido de la liga.

Los Picudos, a cambio, tenían el desempeño sólido y consistente que dejaba pocas debilidades que los Ejemplares podrían aprovechar, y si no fuera por varias lesiones—los espasmos de espelda que obligaron a Celestino Rubio a bajarse del montículo temprano; la tensión de pierna que obligó al campocorto Jordán Salgado a comer banco en los partidos 5 y 6; el porrazo, supuestamente a propósito, que sacó al postrero Rafael García, el héroe torneal de los Picudos—esta serie pudiera haber terminado de manera muy distinta.

Guardianes (#16) avanzan, 4-3.

Como García era un defensor perito que se había convertido en bate valioso durante el torneo, Ceiba protestó el partido y exigió que se atrasara la serie hasta su regreso. La Central les negó los dos pedidos, citando que desequilibraría las series de Betances y Hostos.

Dado el uso común del apodo los Limpios para los Guardianes, parece irónico que posiblemente lesionaron a un jugador con premeditación y alevosía en su primer torneo.

De hecho, es probable que el apodo surgió de otra manera, como menciona Tomás Garza Candel en un repaso en La Metropol, un periódico de Fabián Hurtado, patrocinador de los Metros.

Triste fue ver un equipo como Dorado, quienes no han sido faltos de éxito en este torneo inaugural, utilizar lo que es sin duda la movida más deshonesta todavía disponible bajo los reglamentos presentes de la liga: es decir, deshabilitar a un jugador enemigo que haya demostrado su proeza con un lanzamiento dirigido a su mano o brazo.

 

Aunque el Sr. García ha sido todo un caballero cuando se le ha preguntado del tema, es menester para el Comisionado castigar estas tácticas antes de que se normalicen.

 

A pesar de todo, como es usual con estos Guardianes, no se quedaron en las bases por más de dos jugadas, pues Sepeda, Arámbula, y López fueron demasiado rápidos para los receptores de Ceiba. El apodo de “Limpios,” o a veces “Barrebases,” sigue bien merecido.

#5 Tiburones (.605) contra #15 Soles (.605)

Los Soles casi quedaron convencidos que la suerte se les había acabado cuando Ángelo Quintero se fue del partido 2 con lo que probablemente era una conmoción cerebral, contra otro de los mejores equipos monticulares en Betances. Habían dependido de sus bates, y hasta entonces, ninguno había aparecido.

Afortunadamente, era la segunda entrada del segundo partido, y a pesar de los mejores esfuerzos de los lanzadores aguadillanos, los Soles se renacieron para la serie, empezando por el guardabosque central Julio Pecina, cuyos cuatro imparables en el quinto partido sellaron la cuestión.

Soles (#15) avanzan, 4-1.

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 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 Ingenieros de Rincón: a black cursive "R" bordered in white and then red, on a green circle streaked with black lines, bordered in black and then white.

Si pensaban que se habían salido de Rincón, se equivocaron: durante esta serie, el receptor Juan González fue el primer jugador en la historia de la Liga Nacional Puertorriqueña en ser diagnosticado con un ataque de gota, lo que quizás explica sus dolores de rodilla a los 29 años.

Aunque quedó lesionado por tres días, los Ingenieros no habían jugado desde el 11 de mayo.

liga hostos

serie eliminatoria

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 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.

#1 Artesanos (.737) contra #9 Esqueletos (.553)

A pesar de la destreza de los lanzadores pedreños, Israel Cruz, quien pronto sería una verdadera amenaza con el bate, les mete cuatro imparables. Tres días después, el guardabosque Ramón García, cuya temporada sobrepasó el promedio por par de puntitos, logró vengarse con una actuación similar.

Al fin, los Esques tenían los bates para ganar—pero todos saben que los Artesanos mandaban en el montículo.

Artesanos (#1) avanzan, 3-2.

#13 Macabeos (.474) contra #14 Cerros (.605)

Dicen las notas de Espinosa que cuando habló con el Comisionado antes de que la Serie Eliminatoria comenzara, Jayuya fue su ejemplo principal de las desventajas de una temporada tan corta.

Sorpresivamente, los Fritos lucharon hasta el fin—pero era obvio que eran el peor equipo, y los Cerros, con el guardabosque central Teófilo Peñalosa y sus tres tripletes y cinco carreras apuntadas, se iban calentando más y más.

Cerros (#14) avanzan, 3-2.

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.

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.

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 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.

#5 Piratas (.632) contra #11 Petateros (.550)

Aunque Quebradillas era el mejor equipo en la bitácora, los Petas tienen fama de aguarle la fiesta a otros equipos—y casi lo lograron, pues se dice que en un partido dispararon 18 imparables, apuntando por lo menos 10 carreras.

Pero cualquier equipo puede hacer eso una vez. Quebradillas acababa de probar que podía hacerlo a menudo.

Piratas (#5) avanzan, 3-2.

#10 Mogotes (.553) contra #15 Santos (.553)

Como muchos camareros harían después, Manuel Saldaña, quien tenía un promedio .270 en la temporada, era un gigante del ataque de Adjuntas, con promedio de .400 en el torneo.

De hecho, durante el cuarto partido, logró una línea 5-5, incluyendo tres dobletes—un récord nuevo—y el único triangular del torneo, anotando tres carreras e impulsando a cuatro colegas.

Fue el desempeño más notable de la serie, y mucho más por haber sido un desempeño perdedor.

Mogotes (#10) avanzan, 3-1.

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

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.

serie interdivisional

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

#1 Artesanos (.737) contra #14 Cerros (.605)

Cuando empezaron en el torneo, los Picachos casi no habían tenido expectativas.

Salir con los Criollos como adversarios en la primera ronda era pena de muerte: eran de los pocos equipos equilibrados en la Liga Nacional, y tenían el tipo de talento que también alentaba a los Cerros.

Pero le habían ganado a Caguas, se habían batido contra los Macabeos, que supuestamente eran peores, y ahora se enfrentarían a los Artesanos, la primera clase de Hostos, cuyos lanzadores habían hecho picadillo con equipos de mejor calidad.

Esta vez fueron los hermanos Marcos y Rogelio Rodríguez, inicialista y guardabosque derecho de Jayuya respectivamente, quienes lo tomaron de reto. Como le decían a sus colegas, nadie había pensado que llegarían tan lejos.  

Cerros (#14) avanzan, 4-1.

#5 Piratas (.632) contra #10 Mogotes (.553)

Los Mogos tenían una ventaja defensiva muy estrecha contra Quebradillas, pero los Piratas eran el equipo más fuerte por mucho.

Florida, sin embargo, siempre logra pensar a plazo largo, cualidad que los equipos torneales encuentran muy necesaria, y no cambiaron la estrategia aquí. En vez de tratar de ganarle a los Piratas en el cajón, los Mogotes se resguardaron y los derrotaron al otro lado de la pelota, estrangulando el segundo ataque más poderoso de Hostos con un bombardeo aturdidor de lanzamientos traicioneros.

Mogotes (#10) avanzan, 4-2.

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

Comment away! / Dale, ¡di algo!

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