After a necessary day of rest for both teams, the runners-up Carolina Giants and the Ponce Lions will collide this Wednesday in the seventh game of Semifinal B of the Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League (LBPRC)which will take place at the Roberto Clemente Walker Stadium.
The winner will face the winter league’s top champions in the final, the Caguas Creoles, who eliminated in five commitments to the leaders of the regular series, the Santurce Crab Eaters.
“We have to go back to being the Carolina Giants,” he told The new day the manager of the Carolina ninth, Edwards Guzmanafter his team’s second consecutive setback in the series.
The Lions won on Monday 8-1 to the Giants at the Francisco “Paquito” Montaner Stadium, to provoke the decisive clash. Now, everything will come down to a sudden death game in Carolina, where the Poncena ninth already knows what it means to win.
Guzman announced that left-handed pitcher Luke Westphal will start for the Giants on Wednesday.
Carolina, which finished in second place in the regular season with a 24-16 record, has been punished for his own defensive errors in their series against Ponce.
On Monday, in the bottom of the third inning, right fielder Jonathan Rodriguez dropped a routine pop hit by Calvin Estrada. Later in that inning, Lions captain Jesmuel Valentin drove Estrada home.
“The defense has been erratic. If we don’t help the pitching defensively, what happens happens,” said Guzman.
The day before, on Sunday, the Giants they made five mistakes in its reverse 3-0 against a Ponce who was limited to only two hits compared to six for Carolina.
“The players know the situation we are in. My communication has always been open with them. We have to remember what we have done right, and what we have done wrong. In the three defeats we have made mistakes,” he added.
For his part, the leader of the Lions, Andy Gonzalezwho was ejected from the sixth game on Monday after protesting an interference play in the third inningpraised Ponce’s pitching and indicated that his team must take advantage of its “momentum” to capitalize on the series.
“We all know we have to win. If not, we go home,” she noted.
“The team chemistry has been excellent all year… Producing and doing the things they have to do. The pitching has been excellent and the offense has picked up. Is ‘do or die‘on Wednesday,’ Gonzalez said.
The team from the Stately City finished in third place in the table with 21-19, in a tournament that saw a change of command in its own dressing room, when Gonzalez assumed the reins of the team in place of the veteran Edwin Rodriguezwho remains as general manager.
“We have a good opportunity”
Gonzalez, similar to the case of Yadier Molina with the Criollos, he is practically another player within the Club House.
“I don’t talk much in meetings to the boys in these cases. That would be putting more pressure on him. A Game 7 is what one always wants and dreams of. We go to Carolina and we know what that environment will be like. My players know what they have to do. We have a good opportunity,” Gonzalez said.
His player Jesmuel Valentin agreed.
“We are a team of streaks. It has been seen since last year… We won three, four, five games and so on we continue. Let’s hope this is the definitive streak that takes us to the final. We have had two runs and we will have a well-deserved day of rest to rest our bodies,” added the 29-year-old second baseman.
Valentin hit a solo home run Monday and drove in two runs.
“We will attack on Wednesday and follow the same plan. Try to get them to bring their bullpen as early as possible and take out your starter. We trust in our offense,” said Valentin.
The experienced Fernando Cabrera He will take the mound for the Lions in the seventh game, Gonzalez confirmed.
The match is scheduled for 7:00 pm and will be broadcast on WAPA Deportes.
The Lions, who have not played a final since the 2010-2011 tournament, announced through their social networks that there will be “unlimited buses” to transport their fans to Carolina.
They will leave Paquito Montaner at 3:00 pm
The Giants fell in seven games in the 2022-23 final against the Mayaguez Indians.
After Caguas (20), Mayaguez (19) and Santurce (16), Ponce is the fourth most winning team in the LBPRC with 11 titles. Carolina adds two, tied with Guayama and Arecibo.