Puerto Rico Wins Big League Baseball World Series for Second Time in Three Years
2012 Big League Baseball World Series Results/Statistics
District 1 from San Juan, Puerto Rico came into the Big League Baseball World Series championship game Thursday night in Easley, S.C., having outscored its opponents, 53-3, in winning all five of its games.
But, it was District 1 from South Carolina that struck first scoring two runs in the opening inning and adding a third run in the top of third to take a 3-0 lead. South Carolina scored in the opening frame on a wild pitch and an RBI single by right fielder Stephen McKnight, both coming with two outs. Three walks sandwiched around a single plated the third inning run.
The team from Puerto Rico, which was hitting .373 as a team coming into the championship game, was rejuvenated by what turned out to be the big hit of the game in the bottom of the third inning.
Catcher Mikael Cintron led off the inning with a single and designated hitter Rafael Olivares reached when he was hit by a pitch from South Carolina starter Tucker Burgess, who had retired Puerto Rico in order in the first two innings. Left fielder Alexis Cruz, the leadoff hitter, then hit a three-run home run to left field and in an instant the game was tied.
Puerto Rico tacked on a go-ahead run later in the third inning on an RBI single by first baseman Alexis Olmeda, and added another run in the fifth inning on an RBI single to left field by second baseman Victor Caratini to give Puerto Rico a two-run cushion.
In the sixth inning, Olivares provided some breathing room stretching the lead to four runs with a clutch, two-out single to left field that drove in a pair of runs with two outs, and completed the scoring in Puerto Rico’s 7-3 victory.
Yadiel Cruz, the third pitcher of five pitchers used by Puerto Rico, entered the game in the third inning. The right-hander went the final 4.0 innings allowing only two hits while striking out five and keeping the host team from South Carolina off the scoreboard to earn his second win of the tournament. Yamil Rivera came on in the seventh inning to get the final out and earn his first save. South Carolina loaded the bases in the final inning before Rivera got the last out on a strike out.
Burgess, a right-hander, went five innings for South Carolina allowing five runs, four of those earned, and striking out three while suffering the loss.
Puerto Rico had eight hits in the game and South Carolina finished with six hits.
District 1 from Puerto Rico won the 2010 Big League Baseball World Series and lost to District 7 from South Carolina in last year’s championship game, 9-7. It is the fourth overall Big League Baseball World Series title for a team from Puerto Rico in the 44-year history of the tournament.