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LEBC 2024 Finals | Erlis Casanova throws 109-pitch complete game as Artemisa beat Matanzas 3-2 in Game 4, ties the series 2-2

An outstanding pitching performance by the right-hander from Pinar del Rio evened the series at 2-2

Erlis Casanova pitched a complete game to win Game 4. (Photo by Abel Rojas)

Finals of the II Elite League of Cuban Baseball

Game 4: Artemisa 3, Matanzas 2

The series is tied 2-2

Erlis Casanova paid the best tribute to his wife just 13 days after she passed away. To even the series at 2-2, the right-hander threw a complete game in Game 4 of the II Elite League Finals.

Frederich Cepeda and Dayán García each recorded crucial singles in the win.

After the game ended, the man from Pinar del Rio, who reinforces Artemisa in this edition of the Elite League, could not avoid crying. After all, it was just his first start since losing his wife to an unfortunate illness.

Backed by RBI singles from Frederich Cepeda and Dayán García, Casanova allowed only eight hits in a 109-pitch effort, giving a necessary victory to the local team.

Throughout the game, there were only two bad moments for the right-hander. In the first inning, when he allowed two hits, one by Ariel Sánchez and a single by Yurisbel Gracial. However, he was well-defended, inducing a double play, including a throw to the plate for the third out by right-fielder Luis González.

The other came in the eighth inning when Matanzas opened the scoring. Ariel Sánchez's double to right drove two runners after a walk, a single, and a sacrifice hit. It looked like Casanova would be out of the game soon. However, after Gracial's single, Samón was retired on a fly ball to right field to end the threat.

In the ninth, a defensive error allowed one runner to reach first, but he retired the other three men to secure the victory.

In five of nine innings, he faced the minimum number of batters. Following Gracial's hit in the first inning, he retired nine consecutively until Samón's single in the fourth. After allowing two hits in that inning, he closed it out by striking out Arruebarrena. Then Samón started the seventh inning with a single. However, Casanova managed to force Rusney Castillo to hit into a double play, ending the inning with his second strikeout against Arruebarrena.

With runners in scoring position, Matanzas went 3-for-6, but those hits had no impact on the scoreboard aside for Sánchez's double in the eighth. In the first, fourth, and eighth innings of the crucial game, great hitters like Samón and Arruebarrena were 0-for-3 with RISP.

Meanwhile, against Matanzas' right-handed starter, César García, Artemisa scored in the first inning. A single by Yoán Moreno and a walk by Luis González started the inning for the Hunters. Nevertheless, Dayán García was retired in a double play, leaving Moreno on third. Frederich Cepeda's single to left would help him score minutes later.

Frederich Cepeda drove in the first run of the game. (Photo by Abel Rojas)

García recovered and had a quality start. His six innings of work always included at least one runner on base. However, in two of them, the defense contributed with two errors, and three times he managed to induce double plays that prevented runs.

Raúl González led off the seventh with a double. García had already thrown 96 pitches, and manager Armando Ferrer called his bullpen. Reliever Noelvis Entenza entered the game, and he retired José Jiménez on a grounder to short that moved the runner to third. Carlos de la Tejera, however, was intentionally walked. When Andy Cosme followed with a ground ball to third base, Gracial made an error allowing González to score. Artemisa led 2-0. The inning extended when Entenza hit Moreno to load the bases. But after retiring Luis González in a fly-out, Dayán García's single to center gave Artemisa a 3-0 lead. A bad baserunning error led to Moreno's third out.

As a result of Artemisa's victory, the series is now leveled at two wins, which ensures the return to Matanzas for Game 6.

Now Matanzas has to stop the Hunters' winning streak at 26 de Julio Stadium in Game 5 on Sunday. The game will be a rematch of the opener, with Matanzas ace Yoennis Yera facing Geonel Gutiérrez.



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