The training game between the two squads created from Cuba's 44-man pre-selection to the Second World Baseball Classic took place yesterday at Havana's Estadio Latinoamericano. The Orientales defeated the Occidentales by a score of 12 to 8.
Cuban third baseman Yulieski Gourriel, who plays for Sancti Spiritus in the Cuban League, was the big star of the game. He connected two homers and had three RBI's. He handily and effortlessly stopped a very strong line drive by Michel Enríquez. His aspiration to be third baseman and third bat in the batting order of Team Cuba looks better than ever.
Yesterday was the 48th anniversary of INDER, the Cuban National Institute of Physical Education and Recreation. It was Yuli's way of saluting that important occasion.
Héctor Olivera, who plays second base for the Avispas of Santiago de Cuba went three for five. Alfredo Despaigne, who regularly plays for the Granma Stallions, had a single, a double and a home run in five at bats.
Veteran Cuban catcher Ariel Pestano, who is retiring after the end of the World Baseball Cup in November, contributed three RBI's to the Orientales final score.
Another training game will be played tommorrow.
Report by Yasiel Cancio and Ray Otero of www.baseballdecuba.com (in Spanish).
Report by Sigfredo Barros of Granma (in Spanish).