Dominican Republic drops host nation
Mexico falls victim to long ball in '09 Caribbean Series' final nightcap
MEXICALI, Mexico -- It will be four more years before this country gets the chance to celebrate a Caribbean Series championship on its own soil.
It will be approximately one year until the Dominican Republic gets a chance at redemption.
In the meantime, the countries can ponder what went wrong during the week and what went right Saturday night, when the Dominican Republic's Tigres de Licey topped Mexico's Venados de Mazatlan, 4-2, in the finale of the 2009 Caribbean Series at Estadio Casa GEO.
With the victory, the Dominican Republic, the 2008 champions, finish with a 2-4 record. Mexico ends the tournament with consecutive losses and a 4-2 mark. The '09 Caribbean Series champion Tigres de Aragua from Venezuela return boasting a 5-1 record, while Puerto Rico's Leones de Ponce finished 2-4.
"We are happy to win tonight, but we came here for the crown and we are not leaving with it," Tigres catcher Ronny Paulino said. "I don't think anybody is happy with how we played this week. We should have been better."
The 2010 Caribbean Series will be held on Venezuela's Isle of Margarita.
The Dominican Republic scored two runs in the first inning, the first coming when shortstop Erick Aybar raced home on a ground ball by Jose Bautista. Paulino followed with a solo home run off Mexico starter Walter Silva to push the Tigres ahead, 2-0.
Silva recovered to shut the Tigres offense down for the next three innings, but ran into trouble in the fifth after a groundout by Dominican Republic third baseman Ronnie Belliard. Right fielder Ricardo Nanita hit a single up the middle, and first baseman Salvador Paniagua then smashed a shot over the left-field wall for two more runs to put the Tigres up, 4-1.
Mexico answered with a run in the bottom of the fifth, when third baseman Freddy Sandoval came home on a single to left field by right fielder Christian Quintero to cut the Dominican Republic's lead, but the home team would not score again.
Silva was charged with four runs on five hits over five innings. Dominican Republic starter Jose Mercedes allowed one run on three hits in three innings before passing the ball to Jailen Peguero for two innings.
Rafael Martin pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Silva.
After the game, Paulino was named to the All-Caribbean Series team along with Quintero and Mexico siblings Adrian Gonzalez and Edgar V. Gonzalez. Venezuela closer Francisco Butto was named the Series' Most Valuable Player.
"I think if we had a hit here or a hit there we would be accepting the first-place trophy instead of second," Mexico manager Lorenzo Bundy said. "But you have to give credit to Venezuela. They got wins when they needed to."
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.