Yokohama BayStars infielder Yulieski Gurriel iced a 3-2 win by Cuba’s Pinar del Rio over Mexico’s Tomateros de Culiacan in Sunday’s Caribbean Series final with an eighth-inning home run.
Yomiuri Giants outfielder Frederich Cepeda was named MVP of the Series, which also includes teams from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. Cuba, which rejoined the competition last year after a 54-year layoff, saw its team win for the first time since 1960.
Cepeda helped rally a Pinar del Rio squad that was reinforced with its nation’s biggest stars in the semifinal, when they trailed Venezuela’s representative 4-0. Cepeda had four hits, including two doubles and a triple, while driving in five runs in Cuba’s 8-4 victory that sent the Cubans into the final.
“This is what Cuban baseball is all about,” Gurriel said according to MLB.com. “We’ve had a lot of experience in international competition, in our Serie Nacional, and here against these teams on this level. Baseball is alive and well in Cuba. This is who we are.”