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Licey Tigers Win Championship!

Licey Tigers Win Championship!

Licey Tigers Win Championship!
Santo Domingo, January 29, 2014

The glory is back in back in the hands of the captain. The comeback came when Emilio Bonifacio hit a decisive RBI single at the bottom of the seventh inning in a brilliant play giving the Licey Tigers a 3-2 victory over the Leones of Escogido, winning the 21st Dominican Winter League Championship.

This is the first crown for the Tigers since the 2008-2009 championship as they retook the lead with 20 wins over the Cibao Eagles.

This win puts the Eagles within one game of winning the best-of-nine Championship Series (5-3) that was dedicated to their former president Miguel Hedded, In Memoriam.

Now the Tigers are going after victory number 11 in the Caribbean Series when they will represent the Dominican Republic this coming Saturday in Isla Margarita, Venezuela.

Bonifacio, whose appointment as team captain was questioned by some, was hailed as a hero as a hitter and a fielder.

With a two-run tie in the game, the Lions filled the bases in the seventh inning, with one out. Carlos Santana struck out with a fly ball over second base. Then Jesús Feliciano hit what looked to be just a single over Bonifacio’s head but he leaped up and in an agile, cat-like move and nabbed the ball to tie the game.

At the bottom of the inning, with two outs and two men on first and second base, Bonifacio, hit a single into center field, driving in Jairo Pérez for the winning run.

Víctor Marte (1-0), fifth Licey pitcher out of seven, was accredited with the win.

Juan Carlos Cruz scored his fourth save of the series. Armando Rodríguez (0-1), second of six pitchers for the Lions, was the losing pitcher.

Escogido runs all took place in the first inning. Eury Pérez hit a double to center field then took third when Gregory Polanco got up to bat.

Pedro Ciriaco, Licey starter, hit a pitch from Francisley that drove Pérez in. Ciriaco and Carlos Santana closed the inning with a ground ball to third.

Licey tied the score in the second when Lew Ford hit a double, thrown by Escogido’s starter Evan MacLane. He took second on a groundball to Félix Pérez then René Rivera popped up and drove Ronny Paulino to third on an error by third baseman Santana, which ended up allowing Ford to score at home base.

The Lions took the lead in the fourth inning after one out when Santana and Feliciano hit two in a row. Melky Mesa struck out but Ramón Santiago smacked an RBI into center field.

The Tigers tied the score at the top of the fifth when René Rivera drove the ball right out of the park over center field.

Rivera and Paulino began the decisive inning when they nabbed Rodríguez’s fly balls.

Jairo Pérez substituted Paulino as a pinch runner.

Ramón García, who took over pitching duties from Rodríguez and Rivera, was forced out at third base (6-5) by Edward Rogers who nabbed him his glove. Engel Beltré also struck out but Bonifacio slammed the golden hit. Erick Aybar forced Bonifacio out with a 6-4 combo.

Licey Campeon

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