Granma Rallies Late to Down RedHawks in BCL Opener
The Baseball Champions League got underway on Thursday with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks representing the American Association in the new international competition. Unfortunately, the RedHawks bats were overmatched in this contest and as Cuban National Series representative Alazanes de Granma downed Fargo-Moorhead, 3-1. It was a two run eighth inning that proved to be the difference in the contest.
This was a great pitcher’s duel between Milwaukee Milkmen starter Christian Young and Granma hurler Erly Casanova Callaba. Both teams were held off the scoreboard through the first three innings, but Granma got on the board in the bottom of the fourth. Yordanis Samon singled with one out and moved to second on a hit by pitch. That brought Yosvany Alarcon to the plate, who singled into left field, scoring Samon. Connor Panas helped to keep the inning from becoming a major rally when he threw out Yordany Alarcon at third. That proved to be critical as Guillermo Aviles Difurno followed with a single that put runners at the corners. Young was in trouble, but got the final out on a ground out to end the threat.
Fargo-Moorhead had no answers for Casanova-Callaba through the first five innings, but finally got on the board in the top of the sixth when Roy Morales drilled a shot down the left field line for his first home run of the tournament.
The game remained tied at one through seven, but the Cuban team took the lead for good in the bottom of the eighth. Garrett Alexander came on and gave up a leadoff walk to Raico Santos Almeida. Samon followed with a double to the wall in center, bringing Santos Almeida around to score. A single put runners at the corners with one down for Aviles Difurno, who hit a sacrifice fly to extend the lead to two.
The RedHawks were down, but began to rally against Juan Xavier Penalver Hernandez. Max Murphy singled to start off the inning and moved to second on a base hit by Manuel Boscan. After a fly out, Panas walked to load the bases. That brought a call to the bullpen as Alberto Pablo Civil Hildalgo took over. Winnipeg Goldeyes infielder Dayson Croes came to the plate, hitting a ball to second, but the grounder turned into a double play, ending the contest.
Morales had a hot start to the tournament, going 3-4. He had three of the seven hits for the RedHawks. Samon had three hits and scored two runs for Granma.
Fargo-Moorhead will spring back into action tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. when they take on Columbia Professional Baseball League representative Barraquilla.
by Robert Pannier