By Sigfredo Barros
Industriales, the capital’s most popular team, obtained the fourth and final ticket to the semi-finals of the Cuban Baseball League on Wednesday by trouncing the Isla de la Juventud 11-1. A relentless offense and the stellar performance by right-hander Deinys Suarez allowed Industriales to complete a spectacular comeback after trailing 2-0 in games in the best-of-five quarterfinals series.
The next round of the playoffs begins Friday in Santiago de Cuba between the home team and Granma for the Eastern Division championship. In the West, Industriales opens as the visitors against Sancti Spritus on Saturday.
The Isla de la Juventud went with their best pitcher Carlos Yanes, the innings pitched record holder of Cuban Baseball, but this time the right-hander didn’t make it out of the second, allowing four runs on an attack begun with a double by Alejandro Regueira, which also sent Omar Licourt to the showers.
Industriales didn’t connect any homers but an offense based on speed was more than enough. In all, they stole eight bases without being caught once. Industriales led the league this season with 76 stolen bases.
After losing 8-7 and 2-1 in the opening two games of the series, Industriales pounded Isla de la Juventud pitchers for 28 runs on 36 hits in the final three games won by scores of 7-4, 10-0 and 11-1. The final two games were won on the mercy rule, the first such victories ever in quarterfinal play for Industriales.
While neither Yanes, Licourt or left-handed reliever Sergio Espinosa were able to stop their rivals, Deinys Suarez, went eight innings without difficulty. At 22, Deinys is considered one of the top Cuban pitching prospects. He has a 94 MPH fastball and a good slider. His worst enemy is his lack of control, however yesterday he was on his game and made only one mistake, an outside fastball belted for a home run by Michel Enriquez. Suarez allowed only four hits and walked five, which the Isla de la Juventud was unable to take advantage of.
Carlos Tabares went 3 for 4 with three RBIs, Doelis Linares 3 for 5 and Yasser Gomez also had three RBIs.
Meanwhile, Sancti Spirtus, the team Industriales will face on Saturday, won their quarterfinals series 3-1 over Havana province.
In the Eastern Division, Santiago de Cuba, last year’s champions, defeated Ciego de Avila 3-1 and Granma came from behind to beat Villa Clara 3-2.
GO IDUSTRIALES! GO!