The Victoria de Giron Stadium may literally explode on Tuesday night (8:30 pm, local time) when Sancti Spiritus Roosters and Matanzas Crocodiles face for the first time ever in the history of Cuban baseball playoffs.
April 24th marks the official debut of the 51st season’s semi final stage in the West zone with two “electric” confrontations: The so-called Cuban “illustrious” team, Industriales Blue Lions is to face current third-placed in Cuba, Cienfuegos Elephants in the former’s headquarters, while Matanzas will be host to Sancti Spiritus.
Crocodiles earned the right to begin at home by leading the West region with 58-38, setting a win record for the province and sharing the overall victories in the tournament with Villa Clara Orangemen.
Sancti Spiritus, on the other hand, managed to obtain the last seat to playoffs in the zone with a 49-45 record, sending away to 5th position Cuban baseball current champions, Pinar del Rio.
Figures favor Matanzas over Sancti Spiritus. Guided by Cuba’s baseball showman Victor Mesa, Crocodiles were 3rd in offensive average (300), 2nd in defense (980) and 4th in the pitching area (3, 70ERA). Roosters batted for 283 ave (8th), defended for a 971 ave (14th) and their hurlers made it for a 3, 98 ERA (7th).
Roosters and Crocodiles are the opposite sides of a coin: the former depend exclusively on their tough offensive, with renowned names such as injured Frederich Cepeda, Yuliesky Gourriel, Yunier Mendoza, Eriel Sanchez, Yenier Bello and assets Orlando Acebey and Yuniesky Gourriel. The latter based their game on velocity, and a collective spirit, with no big men, except their manager.
Matanzas has more than met its goals. Sancti Spiritus is yet to prove its talent. Actions will continue during Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Roosters headquarters, the Jose Antonio Huelga Stadium. Time, eventually, will tell.