Moving Up to the Championship Round
When hired by the Leones de Yucatan in September of 2014 the new manager, Wilfredo Romero, was quoted as saying “(w)e know what it takes to win and we will implement the changes necessary”.
2015 arrived and the Leones de Yucatan started off slowly but finished 1st in the Zona Sur division of the LMB, 1 ½ games ahead of the Tigres de Quintana Roo.
Romero led the Leones to a 66-46 record, a 20 game improvement over the 2014 season. If I had a vote, Romero would be the Manager of the Year in the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol. He is that good, and he has made that much of a difference.
As it is, Miguel Ojeda led the Diablos Rojos del Mexico to a 73-39 record this year, the most ever in LMB play. Ojeda will probably be the MOY for 2015.
The Piratas de Campeche took a different path to their meeting with Yucatan. Finishing the season with a 53-56 record, the Piratas had to defeat the Pericos de Puebla in a 1 game play-in for the chance to face the #1 seed Leones.
Campeche vs. Yucatan
Once they got to Merida, the Piratas gave the Leones all they could handle.
The Leones took Game 1 of the divisional playoffs with Campeche by an 8-0 score, leading some to believe the series was as good as over. Yoanner Negrin pitched well and the Leones hitters flexed their muscles in the win.
Game 2 saw the Leones limited to 5 hits in a 3-1 loss. This time the Piratas pitching was superb.
The bats came alive in Game 3, in Campeche, as the Leones had 14 hits, including 5 home runs to top the Piratas 9-2. Jonathan Castellanos picked up the win. Jesus Valdez, Kevin Flores, Israel Nunez and Ricardo Serrano (2) all hit home runs for Yucatan.
Campeche started strong and got great pitching from Evan Maclane as the Piratas shut out the Leones 5-0 in game 4. There wasn’t much to cheer about for the Leones as the Piratas evened the series at 2 game each.
Game 5 was all Piratas as they topped the Leones 4-2. The Piratas took a 3-games-to-2 lead in the best of 7 game series.
Back again in Merida, Luis Garcia was the hero of game 6 with a 3-run home run in the bottom of the 8th giving the win to the Leones. The series was tied at 3 games apiece.
Leones Come Out on Top
The Leones left no doubt as to the outcome in game 7, building a 5-1 lead after 3 innings and coasting to the win. Jonathan Castellanos worked 7 very good innings for the win.
Yucatan now faces the Tigres de Quintana Roo in the Zona Sur Championship round.
The series begins in Merida on Friday the 28th of August with the winner of that series paying the winner of the Zona Norte series between the Toros de Tijuana and the Acereros de Monclova.
Guest writer W.D.Barr writes about baseball from his home in Guadalajara. He follows the LMB and the LMP, both the summer and winter baseball leagues here in Mexico.