There are many adjectives that come to mind now to describe the performance of Cuban baseball in the Pan American Games, but none are capable of filling the capacity for such an embarrassment. There is no other description, no matter how we look at it, the performance again in the Pan American Games is a monumental embarrassment, in every sense of the word.
It is inexplicable, incredible, without detracting from what the rest of the teams have achieved, there is no way to explain that a Cuban team with 13 members on the roster from their World Classic team finishes in that place, in a tournament where the majority of the teams attend are taking their D or F rosters.
With rosters that are far from being the second or third best in their country, even if it is a short tournament there is no way to explain it. After the first narrow victory (4×3) against Colombia, the Cuban team succumbed to Venezuela (6-5) and Brazil (4-2). With a balance of one victory and two losses, the Cuban team was left with no options to advance to the super round, so it had to settle for fighting for fifth place against the DR.
Cuba scored two in the same first inning after combining consecutive hits by Roel Santos, Yoelkis Guibert and Roberto Baldoquín, Santiago de Cuba’s Guibert scored the second run after the throwing error by the DR’s rightfielder on the same hit by Baldoquín. The Dominicans struck back at in bottom half of the inning, after opening the frame with a single by Deivi Muñoz and a double by Elier Hernández and a sacrifice fly by Darlin Germán.
Sexto lugar para #Cuba en #beisbol panamericano
Se iguala lo hecho en Lima 2019 y califica como lo peor registrado en estas lides. #MasRetosMasCompromiso #Santiago2023 https://t.co/rGqlA52zhv pic.twitter.com/4IRF1nE3b4
— JIT Deporte Cubano (@jit_digital) October 26, 2023
The Antilleans added another couple of scores in the second. Luis Mateo and Roel Santos reached base with consecutive hits and scored thanks to the singles by Yoelkis Guibert and Roberto Baldoquín. The Quisqueyans got a run in the third and another in the fourth to get within a run.
Yoennis Yera (3.0 IP, 5H, 3R, 2ER, 2K) was also unable to win in his second outing of the tournament after a disappointing day on the mound. Raymond Figueredo (1.2 IP, H, BB, 2K) and Yankiel Mauris (1.1 IP, H, BB, 2K) kept the Dominicans at bay and the Cubans had a one-run advantage going into the last inning.
Carlos Juan Viera was in charge of closing the show for Cuba, after one out he gave up a walk to pinch-hitter Kelvin Peña and immediately afterward Luis González, who had entered the game as a defensive replacement, made an error on a hit by Deivi Muñoz that put both runners in scoring position; Minor leaguer Elier Hernández (Triple A, Texas) walked it off on the Cubans with a rocket to left that drove in the men on base.
Cuba finishes the tournament sixth and equals its worst historical performance, Lima 2019. More than 16 years have passed since the last time Cuba won a championship in the Pan-Am Games. On that occasion (Rio de Janeiro 2007), they beat a team from the United States 3-1 whose players who’s roster included future Major Leaguers, Joe Kelly, Lance Lynn or Logan Forsythe.
1. Roel Santos (CF): 3-2, 2R, BB
2. Yoelkis Guibert (RF): 4-2, R, RBI, K
3. Roberto Baldoquín (3B): 4-2, RBI
4. Yurisbel Gracial (LF): 4-2, K
Luis González: Jugó a la defensa
5. Dayan García (DH): 4-1
6. Raúl González (2B): 2-0, BB
7. Yasniel González (1B): 3-1
8. Andrys Pérez (R): 3-0, K
9. Luis Vicente Mateo (SS): 3-1, R, 2K
Yoennis Yera: 3.0 IP, 5H, 3R, 2ER, 2K
Raymond Figueredo: 1.2 IP, H, BB, 2K
Yankiel Mauris: 1.1 IP, H, BB, 2K
Carlos Juan Viera: 0.1 IP, H 2R, ER, BB, K, L (0-2)