Panama, (Prensa Latina) Very few experts bet on Panama in the Caribbean Series, but the Isthmus defeated Puerto Rico 1-0 today and reached the final of the tournament, which they won for the only time in 1950.
The Herrera Bulls entered the tournament for a strictly organizational reason: The Confederation of Professional Baseball of the Caribbean took the headquarters from Venezuela and gave it to Panama, with its champion team as a guest.
And then the tournament began. No one gave a penny for the canal squad against high-ranking rivals like the Puerto Rican Santurce Crab, five-time monarch of the Caribbean Series, and the Dominican team Eastern Stars, with Major League players.
On Sunday they reached the duel against the Boricuas with the obligation to win and after a hard battle of pitcheo, the Toros achieved the objective to fix in 3-1 their balance of victories and defeats, identical to the one of Dominican, reason why there was double tie in the top of the group B.
But the TQB tie-breaker system favored Panama, who took their direct ticket to tomorrow's final at the Rod Carew Stadium, where Cuba was waiting for them, qualified since late in the afternoon with a 3-0 victory over Venezuela in District A.
The tiebreaker had to go to the third corner, the offensive percentage between Panamanians and Dominicans, which favored the homeowners.
The only Panamanian race against Puerto Rico rose to the scoreboard in the fourth inning, by a mistake in shot of the Santurce torpedo maker Alexis Pantoja.
Manny Corpas, the Toros' star closer, launched the ninth inning of 1-2-3, with two punches included, and safeguarded the win impeccably.
Oriel Caicedo scored the win, with five innings and a third, with three tickets and three punches.
With that solitary touchdown, Panama, who last attended and hosted a Caribbean Series in 1960, consummated a historic victory.
The Panama-Cuba final will begin this Sunday at 16:00 local time.
Curiously, the two invited teams will discuss the crown.