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LEBC 2024 Postseason | In Game 3 of the series, the Hunters come from behind to beat the Lions 2-1 and take a solid 3-0 lead

On Thursday, Game 4 will be an elimination game

Dennis Laza' single tied the game in the nineth. (Photo: Jit Digital)

Semifinals of the II Elite League of Cuban Baseball

Artemisa 2, Industriales 1

Artemisa leads the series 3-0

Among the II Elite League semifinals, Game 3 between Artemisa Hunters and Industriales Lions ended in an odd way.

Artemisa' José A. Jiménez hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the ninth inning as the Hunters came from one run down to beat the Industriales Lions 2-1 on Wednesday and take a 3-o lead in the semifinals of the II Elite League.

Artemisa tied the game with a single in the ninth by Dennis Laza off closer Juan X. Peñalver. Yoán Moreno singled to lead off the inning, followed by a flyout by Luis González, and then Frederich Cepeda singled to advance Moreno to second base. The tying single was then produced by Laza.

Artemisa's closer Liván Moinelo closed it out in the ninth, allowing Christian Rodríguez' single - combined with an error that moved the runner to second - and then putting the tying run in third base after a sacrifice hit by Roberto Acevedo. But Moinelo retired Luis V. Mateo in a groundout double play that included a tagging of Christian Rodríguez in home plate trying to score to end the game.

Artemisa is now one win away from advancing to its first Cuban League finals, which include the National Series and Elite League tournaments.

If the Lions lose the series - as expected -, there's no doubt that this game will trouble manager Guillermo Carmona for a long time.

Mateo singled with one out in the first inning, and then Jorge Alomá hit a towering fly against the wall in left field. After admiring his possible home run, Alomá started running slowly and - without any chances - tried to reach second base. He was put out by Dennis Laza's throw to second baseman Osbel Pacheco and then first baseman Jiménez.

Minutes later Industriales loaded the bases with walks to Yasiel Santoya and Oscar Valdés, but Artemisa' starter Albert Valladares settled down to get Yosvani Peñalver out on a flyout to the infield for the third out. Despite Valladers using 21 pitches and putting four runners on base, Industriales failed to score.

The biggest reason for the team's loss in Game 3 was this. As the Lions did tonight, a team cannot afford to go 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position in a close game.

Valladeres was a different pitcher after struggling in the first inning. He gave up an unearned run in the second, after walking one and largely due to Artemisa's poor defense. But the starter gave manager Yulieski González 5 1/3 innings, allowing just four hits, with four walks, and two strikeouts. Having walked Peñalver with one out in the sixth, Yulieski decided it was time to replace his starter. He had thrown 87 pitches and overall had a quality start.

The Artemisa bullpen then came into its own. Combined, Israel Sánchez and Moinelo pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and walking one. Sánchez was awarded the win for his work and Moinelo got his first save of the semifinals.

But we can't forget Raymond Figueredo's outing for Industriales. In the series Industriales was looking for a sign from their pitching that would allow them to come back in this semifinal. Figueredo was able to provide that sign. In 5 scoreless innings, the right-hander allowed just 3 hits, struck out two, and walked two. After 87 pitches, Figueredo was removed at the right time. 

As for Industriales bullpen, it was also effective, at least until the eighth inning. In the sixth, Kevin Hernández got into trouble, but Islay Sotolongo saved him. Yunielkis Duardo then kept Artemisa scoreless for 1 1/3 innings. Although Peñalver got two outs in the eighth, he blew the game in the ninth.

There has never been a Cuban League team that has come back from a 3-0 deficit. 

Game 4 is Thursday at 2:30 pm. As of yet, no starters have been announced.



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