Veterans power Curacao’s offense past Mexico after falling behind early

     Curacao and Atlanta Braves legend Andruw Jones was all over the clubhouse of the visiting Curacao team before the game, watching players take batting practice and conversing with coaches. After Jones threw the first pitch of his country’s first Caribbean Series game against Mexico on Thursday, his fellow MLB veteran compatriots would put on a show. Backed by Home Runs by Major Leaguer Jonathan Schoop, sluggers Vladimir Balentien Ademar Rifaela, and a three-run triple from Didi Gregorius, Curacao was able to come back from an early deficit inflicted early on by the Mexican offense.

     Back-to-back Home Runs by Mexico sluggers Aaron Altheer and Julian Ornelas gave Naranjeros de Hermosillo an early 2-0 lead in the second inning. However, after that, Curacao’s pitcher Cody Mincey settled down and pitched into the 5th inning. He was relieved when Mexico threatened in the 6th inning. After this, Balentien’s Home Run made it 6-2 in favor of Curacao.

     For the second game in a row, the team that entered the game trailing in the ninth inning attempted to make a comeback. In the Mexico ninth, the offense that had been dormant since the second inning woke up and produced a rally of three runs that fell one run short of a Curacao win. After the game, Mexico manager Juan Castro said, «Even though his team may have been favorites on paper, there are no easy games in the Caribbean Series.» He concluded by saying he expects his team to come back tomorrow and get ready for their winning ways.

     Curacao features a team of many former and current MLB players who have taken this opportunity to showcase the progress Curacao is making in baseball. Didi Gregorius, who is playing his first Caribbean Series, stated that this generation of Curacao baseball players are doing what they can to propagate baseball in Curacao. «All of us are doing what we can to push the love for baseball forward. Just as I used to watch Andruw Jones as a youngster, youngsters are watching us». Gregorius also praised his fellow veterans in the team for stepping up and doing their part, saying, «This is a very united team.»

     Curacao will take the field next against Panama, who will begin their Series tomorrow. Mexico, who found themselves in an unfavorable position to start the tournament, will now square off against Puerto Rico tomorrow as well.

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