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LEBC Postseason 2024 | In a wild finish for the Lumberjacks, they defeated the Crocodiles 4-3 and tied the best-of-seven semifinal series

Despite the fact that Game 5 will take place at 6:30 pm on Thursday, it is guaranteed that the series will return to Matanzas


The ninth inning was highlighted by Rafael Viñales' key hit. (Photo: José Raúl Rodríguez Robleda)

Semifinals of the II Elite League of Cuban Baseball


Las Tunas 4, Matanzas 3

The series is tied 2-2


We just had a weird ending to Game 4 of the II Elite League semifinals involving the Matanzas Crocodiles and Las Tunas Lumberjacks.



Matanzas, which won Games 1 and 2, took a 3-0 lead before the Lumberjacks rallied. RBI singles by Danel Castro - his number 2499 in National Series history - and Yosvani Alarcón trimmed the lead to 3-2 in the seventh inning. Back-to-back walks were issued by closer Armando Dueñas to Castro and Alarcón in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. Then Rafael Viñales hit an infield single that had shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena make an outstanding catch. Castro scored the tying run with the single, and Alarcón scored the deciding run on Arruebarrena's throw to home plate.  A throw that was cut by Dueñas, who then made an error with his throw.


Instead of being down 3-1 and on the brink of elimination, Las Tunas has now tied the series heading into Game 5 Thursday night in Las Tunas.


On the mound, Matanzas right-hander starter Renner Rivero outdueled Lumberjacks right-hander Alejandro Meneses. Rivero tossed five one-third scoreless innings, permitting six hits and issuing three walks.


Meneses pitched well through 5 1/3 innings too and had only one bad inning, allowing three unearned runs in the fourth inning, before struggling in the sixth, giving up an Erisbel Arruebarrena's single before being removed from the game after getting the first out of the inning.


Despite Meneses allowing two hits in the fourth and issuing two walks - one intentional - Matanzas scored his only runs in the inning and game thanks to two errors by Las Tunas' defense.


But if Matanzas does not advance in this semifinal series, everyone will remember how right-hander reliever Keniel Ferráz performed in Game 3. A lineup packed with stars was dominated from top to bottom by Ferráz. Aside from striking out two and hitting one, he only allowed two hits through three and a half innings and walked none. Ferráz's efforts were rewarded with the win.


Armando Dueñas, a historically consistent closer with the Crocodiles, took the loss after an inefficient ninth inning. One of his failures? Allowing Viñales to reach the batter's box.


Game 5 is at 6:30 p.m. ET Thursday in Las Tunas. For Matanzas, Yoennis Yera will take the mound against likely Las Tunas pitcher Dariel Góngora.




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