The Leones de Yucatán (Mérida) (45-60, first place in South Division) defeated the Bravos de León (63-42) 5-1 at Estadio Domingo Santana in León on August 17. The win gives the Leones a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven first round playoff series.
Four Leones pitchers, RHP Jose Samayoa, RHP Jesus Barraza, RHP Pedro Rodriguez, and RHP Ronald Belisario, held the Bravos to three hits. The starter, Samayoa, didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning. That was a double by SS Niko Vasquez, who scored the Bravos’ only run of the game on a single by 3B Miguel Torrero. The Bravos didn’t get another hit until the bottom of the ninth, a double by CF Junior Lake. Lake was stranded on third base when the game ended.
The Tigres de Quintana Roo (Cancun) (42-54) defeated the Bravos de León (40-56) 7-4 at Estadio Domingo Santana in León on July 30.
The Bravos took a 2-0 lead with an RBI single by 1B Dan Johnson (Coon Rapids, MN) and a sacrifice fly by 2B Carlos Valencia in the bottom of the first inning. They loaded the bases with nobody out in the third inning with singles by Johnson and Valencia, and a bunt single by RF Leandro Castro. However, the next batter, SS Niko Vasquez, hit into a double play. Johnson scored, and the Bravos didn’t score again until the bottom of the ninth.
The Tigres got to starter RHP Mitch Lively in the top of the fourth. Lively hit 3B Brian Hernandez. One of Hernandez’ hands was injured. He couldn’t stay in the game, so he was replaced by 2B Abel Martinez. Martinez was forced out at second on a ground ball by 2B-3B Osniel Madera. The next batter, DH C.J. Retherford, hit a fly ball to right field. Castro made a good effort to get to the ball, but didn’t hold onto it long enough. (A review confirmed this.) Madera went to third on the play, then scored on a single by LF Ramon R. Ramirez. The next batter, C Francisco Cordoba, hit a fly ball to left field. Again, LF Gilberto Mejia made a great effort to get a glove on the ball, but he couldn’t hold on, and Retherford scored.
The Rieleros (Railroaders) de Aguascalientes (52-38) defeated the Bravos de León (34-50) 8-7 at Estadio Domingo Santana in León on July 16.
It took over four hours to play this game. Neither of the starting pitchers got through the third inning. The Rieleros used eight pitchers, and the Bravos used seven, despite the fact that both bullpens were depleted by the double-header the previous day.
This game was close all the way. The winning run came on an RBI single by 1B Jesus Castillo in the top of the sixth inning, and it put the Rieleros ahead 8-6. The Bravos stranded a baserunner on third in the bottom of the seventh. With one out in the bottom of the ninth, 2B Gilberto Mejia hit a ball down the right-field line to the fence that was just foul. A couple of pitches later, he hit a ball down the left-field line that was almost to the fence, and just fair, but it was caught by LF Amilcar Gomez for the second out. However, the next batter, CF Junior Lake, was hit by a pitch, and he went to second on defensive indifference. Lake then scored on a single by 1B Dan Johnson, and it was a one-run ball game. However, DH Carlos Valencia, after a long turn at bat, flied out, ending the game.
The Bravos got off to a good start. They ended the top of the first with a double play. LF Eduardo Arredondo led off the bottom of the first with a single. Mejia followed with a double, and Arredondo scored on a ground out by Lake. Johnson then hit a sacrifice fly to score Mejia.
The Piratas de Campeche (24-32) swept a double-header against the the Bravos de León (19-37), 8-1 and 4-2, at Estadio Domingo Santana in León on June 4.
First game: RHP Rolando Valdez went the seven-inning distance for the Piratas, allowed eight hits, walked one, struck out four.
The Piratas got all the runs they needed in the top of the first inning. They loaded the bases on Bravos starter RHP Alfonso Sanchez with a walk, a base hit by DH Frank Diaz, and another walk. Sanchez then hit SS Paul Leon with a pitch to open the scoring. The next batter, LF Maxwell Leon, bunted for an RBI and the winning run. 1B Fernando Flores hit a double to score two runs, and RF Roberto Valencia hit a double to score another run.
Sanchez didn’t allow another hit until the fifth inning, when Diaz led off with a double. 3B C.J. Retherford followed with a home run. Sanchez walked the next batter, and was relieved by RHP Fredy Quintero, who gave up a single, then a double-play ball. Leon completed the scoring with home run in the seventh that went a long way over the left field fence.
The Bravos de León (17-34) trailed the Sultanes de Monterrey (36-13) 4-3 going into the bottom of the eighth inning, but the Bravos got three solo home runs in the bottom of the eighth for a 6-4 win at Estadio Domingo Santana in León on May 28.
The deciding inning started with a fly out. Then, 2B Carlos Valencia hit a home run to left field. The next batter, RF Brandon Macias, hit another home run to left field, and that one got out of the ball park in a hurry. The Sultanes replaced RHP Marcos Rivas with LHP Edgar Torres. Torres recorded a strikeout, but the next batter, C Marco Chicuate, completed the scoring with yet another home run over the left field fence. The Bravos sent in their closer, RHP Craig Stern, to pitch the top of the ninth, and he retired three of the four batters he faced.
The Bravos out-hit the Sultanes 14-7, but missed some opportunities in the early going. A single by Valencia in the third inning scored a run, giving the Bravos a 3-1 lead, but SS Niko Vasquez was tagged out at third; a review of the play upheld the call on the field. After a fly out, Valencia went to second on a single by 1B Leslie Anderson. The next batter, Chicuate, hit a single to left field, but Valencia was tagged out at home after a excellent throw by LF Zoilo Almonte.
The Sultanes opened the scoring with a run in the top of the first without a hit. CF Chris Roberson led off with a walk, went to second on a wild pitch, stole third, and came home on another wild pitch. The Bravos answered with a run walked in, RBI to Valencia. However, the Bravos left the bases loaded when Macias struck out. The Bravos got a runner on first in the bottom of the second, but 3B Agustin Murillo made a great catch of a line drive to prevent any damage.
The Sultanes tied it 3-3 with a two-run home run by Murillo in the top of the fourth. They went ahead 4-3 with a home run by Almonte in the sixth. They were kept off the board the rest of the way by relievers RHP Mitch Lively (seventh inning, one hit), RHP Gerardo Sanchez (eighth inning, no hits), and Stern.
2B-3B Brandon Macias batted in five runs to lead the Bravos de León (11-20) to a 12-3 win over the Olmecas de Tabasco (10-20) at Estadio Domingo Santana in León on May 6.
This was the first game for the Bravos' new manager Luis Carlos Rivera and new pitching coach Ray Loya. It was also the first game for 1B Leslie Anderson, who went 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and three runs scored.
The Olmecas opened the scoring with a run in the top of the first on a triple by CF Yordanys Linares, who scored on a single by DH Sandy Madera. Olmecas starter LHP Carlos Teller didn't allow a hit until the forth inning. With two out and the bases empty, he walked LF Alfredo Marte. Anderson got the Bravos' first hit of the game. Teller then walked Macias to load the bases, then hit DH Joshua Banuelos to tie the game. The next batter, 3B Miguel Torrero, hit a two-RBI single, and the Bravos led 3-1 after four innings.
The Bravos got a "small ball" run in the fifth. CF Sergio Garcia opened the inning with a single. He moved to second on a hit batter (Teller hit three of them), and third on a line drive out. He then scored on a sacrifice fly by Marte. Teller was relieved by RHP Rodolfo Aguirre after walking the next batter.
C Israel Nunez hit a two-RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning to break a 4-4 tie and give the Bravos de León (9-12) a win over the Toros de Tijuana (14-7) at Estadio Domingo Santana in León on April 23. Nunez was followed by SS Hector Hernandez, who hit an RBI double to make the final score 7-4.
RHP Edwin Quirarte to0k the mound for the Toros at the start of the deciding inning. He retired the first two batters he faced, and didn’t retire another one. With two outs and the bases empty, he walked the Bravos’ leading hitter, LF Alfredo Martes. 3B Miguel Torrero hit a single to move Martes to third, and DH Adam Munoz walked to load the bases for Nunez. It was Martes who scored the winning run.
Neither of the starters, LHP Miguel Pena for the Toros and RHP Fernando Villalobos for the Bravos, made it to the fifth inning. The game was scoreless going into the fourth, and Villalobos allowed only one hit over the first three innings. That changed quickly in the top of the fourth. RF Dustin Martin started the inning with a double, LF Cyle Hankerd hit a single, and 3B Alex Liddi hit a single, scoring Martin. CF Corey Brown then hit a three-run home run, chasing Villalobos with the Toros ahead 4-0, but that ended the scoring for the Toros. The Bravos answered with a two-run home run by Munoz, and another two-run home run by CF Rico Noel. The score remained 4-4 until the seventh. The Bravos got double plays in the fifth and seventh.
A three-run home run by LF Jose Ruiz in the top of the sixth inning provided the winning run for the Acereros (Steelers).
The game was tied 1-1 going into the sixth. CF Eliezer Ortiz opened the scoring with a home run in the bottom of the third for the Rieleros (Railroaders), and 3B Olmo Rosario hit a long home run over the center field fence. Rieleros starter RHP Fredy Quintero was replaced by LHP Jose Sanchez after Quintero walked Rosario to start the sixth inning. Sanchez only faced two batters. He walked the first one, DH Brett Harper. (He was obviously having control problems.) The second batter he faced was Ruiz, and the result was the home run.
Ruiz' home run seemed to wake up the Rieleros offensively. DH Saul Soto led off the bottom of the sixth with a double. The next batter, 3B Danny Richar, drew a walk, and Soto and Richar moved to third and second on a wild pitch by Acereros starter RHP Jose Oyervidez. The next batter, C Carlos Rodriguez, hit a fly ball that was very close to being a three-run home run, but was a sacrifice fly instead. Richar moved to third. The next batter hit a popup that wasn't deep enough for Richar to come home, and he was stranded on third when a ground out ended the inning.
The Rieleros (Railroaders) of Aguascalientes entered this game one game out of the Mexican League playoffs. They played tonight like they want that playoff spot, but came up short in extra innings.
The starter for the Rieleros, Dominican Republican RHP Lorenzo Barcelo, has good credentials for playing in this league; he pitched 66 innings for the White Sox during 2000-02. He was upstaged by Acereros (Steelers) starter RHP Josh Lowey of Fort Walton Beach, FL, who played college ball at Mercer, then played several seasons of independent league ball before going to the Acereros last season. Lowey pitched six innings, allowed two runs on six hits, struck out nine. When he left the game, the Aceros had a 7-2 lead.
The lead didn't hold up. The first reliever for the Acereros, Juan Ramon Noriega, was charged with three runs on three hits, didn't record an out, and the Acereros lead was 7-5 after seven innings. (A sacrifice fly by 1B Jesus Castillo was just short of a three-run home run.) Rieleros relievers Emmanuel Torres and Jose Sanchez were able to keep the Acereos off the board in the top of the eighth. (The scoreboard in Estadio Alberto Romo Cavez doesn't show pitch speeds, but Torres was throwing some serious heat.) The Rieleros then took an 8-7 lead in the bottom of the eighth on a leadoff home run by 3B Danny Richar, followed by RBI singles by RF Carlos Ibarra and pinch-hittehr Omar Mendoza. Ibarra scored the go-ahead run, and it was the result of a defensive mistake. On his base hit, the Acereros threw home, even though the run had scored long before the throw. Ibarra was able to move to second on this throw, putting him in scoring position for Mendoza.
The Diablos Rojos (Red Devils) of Mexico City and the Rieleros (Railroaders) of Aguascalientes split a double header (two seven-inning games) before a good crowd in Aguascalientes.
First game: This was a good one. The Diablos led the game until the bottom of the seventh. RF Doug Clark got the Diablos on the board with a two-run home run in top of the first inning. They added two more runs in the second inning. LF Ivan Terrazas hit a single, and C Gabriel Gutierrez hit a double. Terrazas scored when SS Juan Carlos Gamboa reached on a fielder's choice.
CF Rubén Rivera made a good catch in center field on a ball hit by 1B Japhet Amador in the top of the third inning. The Rieleros got two runs in the bottom of the third. RF Carlos Peñuelas hit a leadoff single, and scored on a double by LF Oscar Lemus. 2B Ivan Bellazetin hit a bunt single, moving Lemus to third. Lemus scored on a single by 3B Jesse Castillo. The Rieleros added another run in the bottom of the fourth when Peñuelas hit a slash bunt to score Rivera, who had reached on a single. So, the Diablos led 4-3 after four innings.