They say that when you are cornered and there are only two diametrically opposed ways out, depending on the chosen is that the essence of every being can be assumed about. Taking it to the sport , and seen what happened yesterday in the Victoria de Giron stadium, no one can now doubt anymore that the Pinar del Rio team , whatever its situation , is an eternal champion who does not believe in cabals or favors and if it is pressed , will always choose the exit meant for the greatest .
It had already shown it in the semifinal round. It stumbled on three consecutive occasions against archrival Industriales and when almost everyone thought they were beaten, they drew their caste, one that is further exacerbated when guided by Alfonso Urquiola, and overcame Industriales mercilessly for a berth in the final playoff.
At that point, no one dared to take them for dead. They had, besides a winning management, described by all as a lucky charm, the best pitchers and a non negligible offensive that if operating properly, would make it very hard the work to their rival.
But Matanzas also pushed hard. It was the third year of its winning and solid version, heir to the lineage of those indomitable Henequeneros , and a thirst for victory that made them everyone’s favorites . However, the staging was favorable to tradition and blood, postponing the coronation of momentum and irreverence.
In six games, Pinar del Rio won his fourth championship under that name , which rose to ten the number of titles for teams representing the westernmost province of the island and three crowns obtained under the aegis of that winning legend that is Alfonso Urquiola ; a man who does not let himself getting intoxicated by flattery and deification of baseball lovers , and even though he has an important bearing on the success of the team, he strongly minimizes his role as strategist and dictates that the key to success for any manager is not in teaching how to hit, catch and throw well , but being a good teacher.
According to his statements after the victory, his team is characterized by a drive that only the individualities stand out and work so they are complemented with other players. For general or abstract it may seem, his words deserve credit and a thorough study by the other directors, since with the same players that last year failed to pass the eighth place and with five reinforcements that played better than others, another example of his wisdom, Urquiola managed to bring the former Vegueros once again to the top, as he did three years ago in the Gold Series and the 1998 championship.
In yesterday’s game Pinar del Rio batting lineup paid dividends with depth and opportunity. It managed to score twice in the first four innings against three of his opponents and then, in the sixth inning, came from behind and had a five-run rally including a grand slam by the shortstop and ninth in the order Luis Alberto Valdés, sufficient to overcome the Crocodiles that could not exceed six. Later on, scored two more times, in the seventh and ninth, the latter by means of a long homer by catcher Lorenzo Quintana .
On the mound, the Pinar del Río high command decided to use the services of the most valuable player of the season, Yosvani Torres, whom hadn’t been able to secure his the twentieth victory of the season in his last two outings. Yesterday, Torres was able to fulfill that which the third time’s the charm despite working only five innings, well below his average, and have allowed five runs, although it is fair to say that the first three were due to poor defense since he only allowed four hits.
His reliever was the rookie of the year, Vladimir Gutierrez who with fastballs at over ninety miles per hour, and accurate wrecking balls for two innings only allowed the disciples of Victor Mesa to score one more in the bottom of the seventh inning, again aided by another defensive blunder.
But in its final at-bat with the score 9-6, Matanzas showed that it would not give its last three outs easily. Raúl González and Yurisbel Gracial hit singles against the rookie and Urquiola , without hesitation, went to Vladimir Baños to suffocate the last attempt of the rebellion.
Banos came strong, and took out the three batters he faced, showing no nerves at all. Lazaro Herrera, as pinch hitter struck out, he then forced leadoff Moreira to hit a groundout and coolly, as is needed in key moments, he also achieved striking out Ariel Sanchez.
Thus, in swampy ground where quite few ventured a double bite by the Crocodiles, Pinar again crowned and will reign for another year while Matanzas must wait another season to see if it gets its longed scepter. With this goal in view, and since yesterday they have a first tip from Julio Alfredo Martinez, one of the Pinar del Rio pitchers who contributed most to the success of his team and warned them that to win, they should play less pressured .