In one of the wildest semifinal series of recent memory, Pinar del Rio was twice able to climb out of deep holes on the road in Sancti Spiritus this weekend. With their tandem comeback miracles the Group A champs were thus able to salvage a berth in the Cuban League championship series that opens Wednesday night in Santiago’s Guillermon Moncada Stadium. Needing back-to-back road wins to survive elimination, Pinar took advantage of crucial home club errors on two successive days and twice came from behind in late innings to somehow snatch victory from the apparent jaws of defeat. On Saturday night, trailing 3-2 in the seventh, Pinar railed when the door was opened by shortstop Raikel Morales’s second bobble of the night. The fatal boot put Rafael
Valdes on base and permitted Yosvani Peraza to reach the plate. Peraza then belted a game-deciding 400-foot blast over the centerfield fence, his 29th homer of the campaign.
On Sunday afternoon Pinar seemed to be coasting in the late frames of the deciding Game 7 match when homers by Freddie Cepeda and Yulieski Gourriel keyed a five-run late-inning comeback that finally knotted the affair in the bottom of the ninth for the hometown Gallos. But then a key throwing error by Gourriel on the back end of an apparent inning-ending twin killing gifted the opportunistic Pinarenos with the winning margin in the tenth. The wild finale didn’t end quitely, however, as Pinar still had to weather one final bases-loaded storm in the bottom of the extra frame. Details of the two wild and woolly semifinal games this weekend in Jose Huelga Stadium will be provided in greater detail in articles published tomorrow on our Cuban League website. at www.baseballdecuba.com. That same site will also carry TV and radio feeds for the best-of-seven title series beginning this coming Wednesday.