23rd Annual MSBL Carribean Winter Baseball Tourney Champions
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.
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.
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.
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.