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23rd Annual MSBL Carribean Winter Baseball Tourney Champions

 

Submitted by Rich Rosenblum, Premier Travel and MSBL Travel

23rd Annual Highlights: Gorgeous Caribbean weather, 5-games guaranteed, all games played in stadiums - including brand new Gurabo Stadium, 2 walk-off games in the Round Robin and 2 walk-off games in the playoffs, nearly half the games won by differential of 4 runs or less.   

25+ DIVISION: Milford Hunters became the first team in tournament history to three-peat - but is wasn't easy.  They finished 2-2-1 in the Round Robin, then played one of the most thrilling games in tournament history - a real dog fight vs. the always tough NY Titans (Manager: Aaron Geddins) which Milford won in the bottom of the 10th 5-4 on a leadoff HR.   Both teams showed brilliant pitching, timely hitting and great plays that included diving catches and close plays at the plate. In the Championship Game, Milford faced the #1 seed Long Island Tides (Manager, Max Feinberg), who made their first appearance at the Caribbean tournament.  It's no easy task for a new team to finish #1 seed and play in the Championship Game in a very competitive division.  The Tides were great and came up a bit short in the finals, which Milford won 5-3. 

35+ DIVISION: Oilers de Venezuela (Manager, Ron Hernandez) were repeat winners, butthey too had to get past two great opponents vs. the Puerto Rico GIGANTES (Manager, Bobby Cuevas) and Brooklyn Dodgers (Manager, Carlos Gonzalez). In Game 5 of the Round Robin division that would determine the #1 seed, Venezuela and the GIGANTES played a game that went into the 9th tied.  The Oilers scored to take a 1-run lead, but with 2 outs, Puerto Rico scored twice for the win.  Great pitching in the semi-final matchup and solid defense came through for the Oilers with a 3-2 win over Brooklyn.  Then a re-match in the Championship Game, Venezuela held off rallies by Puerto Rico for a 7-3 victory and Division Championship.

45+ DIVISION: Tampa Blue Jays (Manager, David Castro) played solid defense and timely hitting with a potent offense from top to bottom.  The Jays had several tough games, but found a way to win and ran the table, going undefeated.  Among the 45+ highlights was the semi-final game matchup between defending 45+ Champion Texas Redbirds (Manager, Chris Hux) and Puerto Rico A Team (Manager, Kelvin Rivera).  That game was decided in the 9th when the tying run for Texas attempted to score on a sac fly and was out at the plate on a great throw. 

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