With the score tied at 4-4 heading to the bottom of the ninth, former NY Yankees minor leaguer Jorge Vazquez stepped to the plate for Mexico with a heavy heart (his father had died a few weeks earlier). The slugging first baseman, who had doubled earlier in the game, delivered the walk off hit, a home run to send Mexico to the Caribbean Series victory over Venezuela.
Vazquez had played for Aragua, the Venezuelan representative, during the winter ball season and helped get the team into the Caribbean Series.
Mazatlan gave Mexico its third Caribbean Series title in four years and went a perfect 6-0 in this year’s installation. Mexico will host next year’s Caribbean Series.
The game was a battle between veteran Major League Freddy Garcia (in his final professional game) and knuckleballer Eddie Gamboa. Neither factored into the decision, though Gamboa lasted into the seventh, while Garcia was done after 5.1 innings.
Down 4-2 in the 7th inning, a Venezuelan error with two outs allowed former Philadelphia Phillies catching prospect Sebastian Valle to step to the plate. He delivered the two-run, game-tying single. Valle was named to the All-Series team (along with Garcia).
Despite playing on the runner up, KC Royals minor leaguer Jose Martinez was named the Caribbean Series MVP. He went 1-for-4 with two runs scored in the title game. He singled to lead off the fifth and scored on Hernan Perez’ (Colorado) two-run homer off Gamboa. Martinez scored the third run of the game on a single by his brother Teodoro (formerly of Texas and the Yankees).
Overall, he went 12-for-25 with six RBIs.
Martinez will have a little extra hardware when he arrives in Surprise for spring training, along with some extra confidence.
Former Royal Alex Liddi went 0-for-4 with a strikeout in the title game for Mexico. During the postseason, he played for every team in Mexico. Fellow former Royal Yuniesky Betancourt went 1-for-3 with a run scored in the win.
Former Royal lefty reliever Jose Mijares entered with two on in the seventh for Venezuela and left both stranded (he recorded two outs in the game).