Cuba falls to Panamá and bids adieu to the LLWS.

Yesterday Bayamo fell 3-2 to the representative of Panama (Santiago de Veraguas) in their third game in the Little League World Series and was eliminated from the competition. Vladimir Vargas squad will return home with their heads held high despite succumbing in two of the three games held. They lost 1-0 against Japan and now against Panamanians, in both cases facing two of the best pitchers in the tournament.

Panama’s starter Omar Vargas shutdown the potent Cuban bats that had blasted Australian pitching to the tune of 11 runs via the day before. The right-hander Vargas combined blazing fastballs with an array of breaking pitches to strike out 10 in 4.2 innings of work. Previously, Vargas had struck out 12 Czech Republic batters in four innings.

Panama opened the scoring in the first inning with a hit by catcher Ian Corrales and then they scored two more in the fourth that were enough for the victory. The three runs were charged to the Ismael Ortega (3.1 IP, 5H, 3ER, 2BB, 6K) who took the loss. Edgar Torres went the rest of the way for Cuba allowing just one hit and striking out two.

Cuba scored two in the bottom of the sixth to make things interesting after combining a hit by Heikel Reyes and a home run by Luis Aparicio to the left field against Allan Rodríguez to cut the Panamanians lead to 3-2, but this was not enough for Cuba to pull out the game as its next batter was called out on strikes to close the contest. The young antilleans finished the tournament with a batting average of .215, two doubles, a triple, a home run, and 13 runs scored. They posted a .315 OBP, .338 SLG, walked eight times and struck on out 32 occasions .

The pitching said goodbye with a sterling 2.12 ERA in 17 innings of work, only allowing five runs (4 earned), issuing 11 walks and fanning 28. Opponents hit just .150 against Cuba and the team posted an excellent 1.17 WHIP during its time in Pennsylvania. Panama will face the loser of the clash between Japan and Chinese Taipei in its next match. Cuba says goodbye to the event, but will return directly next year via the champion of their Little League national tournament.

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