Holguín beat 5-0 to Villa Clara to place just 1 victory to complete the sweep in last sub series at the 53rd Cuban Baseball Championship in order to get the only available ticket to the post season.
Two separate homers of Guillermo Avilés and Raudelín Legrá --the latter with loaded bases-- before the pitching of defeated Yasmany Hernandez Rojas led to the success of Holguin's Los Cachorros, with Yusmel Velázquez' remarkably performance of solid pitching, who handcuffed Villa Clara's Los Naranjas offensive to just 4 hits in 7 innings to score his 9th victory with only 2 defeats.
Now Holguín has 48 and 38 and if it wins this Tuesday in the final challenge it would tie in the 4th seat with Villa Clara (49-37), but it would ensure the qualifying ticket for having dominated their bilateral series.
This would be the first time that Holguin sneaks in the playoffs since 2009, when they won the 4th place with 47 and 43, without forgetting they took the championship trophy in the final against Sancti Spiritus in 2002.
Meanwhile, the current rulers are forced to fight for winning and may advance to the post season for the 16th consecutive Season, even if they have to use the star Ismel Jimenez, their main figure after the exclusion of Fredy Asiel Alvarez.
In other results on Monday, Pinar del Rio and Industriales assured the 2nd and 3rd positions in the Table, in that order, at the end of the 2nd round and will encourage one of the semifinals match ups from March 28th.
Pinar succumbed twice to the leader Matanzas by 5-4 and 12-7, respectively, to finish the regular Season with 52 and 35, only 1 game ahead of Industriales (51-36), which divided honors with Isla de la Juventud 1-3 and 8-1, in that order.
Finally, the leader Matanzas closed with 57 and 30 --a record for the team-- and will receive at the start of the post season next Thursday 27th the winner between Villa Clara and Holguin.
And regarding the current Series, the Cuban Baseball Federation and the Cuban Sports Institute (INDER), said in an official note that the pitcher Wilber Perez, 37, from the Isla de la Juvetud team and member of the Cuba's National Team to III World Baseball Classic, was suspended for 1 year of any official activity related to baseball for unsportsmanlike conduct while playing with his team on Sunday.
The note added that with his misguided action, Pérez, who has played 13 national Series, damaged the image of his team and the show, while affecting the possibility that his team will continue striving to improve its position in the current Series.
The Cuban GM Maritza Arribas moved up to 10th place to face the 5th round of the Continental Chess Tournament for women, underway in Argentina's Villa of Marteli.
Arribas (Elo 2313) defeated Salvadoran International Master (IM) Lorena Zepeda (2196) and reached 2.5 units, but still must improve in search of the only World Cup place at stake because as she has to face the leaders of the event, including IM and hostess Carolina Luján (2375), Peruvian IM Ann Chumpitaz (2189), and others of high level.
And regarding the Game of Sciences, it was officially said the Cuban GM Leinier Domínguez (2757) will defend the 3rd board of St Petersburg Club at the UEFA Teams of Russia, which will run from April 6th to 14th at the Megapolis Sport Room of the Russian region of Krasnodar.
Russians Peter Svidler of 2758 Elo points and Nikita Vitiugov 2747 will act as 1st and 2nd board, Armenian Sergey Movsesian (2678) as 4th, local Maxim Matlakov (2695) as 5th while Ukrainian Zahar Efimenko (2657) will cover the 6th.
Rounding out the staff of the St. Petersburg Club, champion in edition 2013, includes Russian GMs Ildar Khrairulin (2657) and Aleksandr Shimanov (2649).
The fair, to be held at 7 rounds, will include 14 men's teams and for Leinier Domínguez, ranked 12th at the world rankings, this will be his 2nd event of the year, after participating at the Tata Steel Tournament, held in the Netherlands, last January.
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