Panama Wins Country's 1st Caribbean Series Since 1950 in Victory vs. Cuba

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 11, 2019

Panama's Los Toros de Herrera baseball players celebrate their 3-0 victory over Cuba's Los Leneros de las Tunas amid confetti at the end of the Caribbean Series baseball tournament's final, championship game at Rod Carew stadium in Panama City, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
Arnulfo Franco/Associated Press

Panama was only in the Caribbean Series because it was a secondary hosting choice, but it went ahead and won the entire thing Sunday.

According to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com), Panama defeated Cuba 3-1 in Sunday's championship game to clinch the country's first Caribbean Series title since 1950 and second in its history. It was the first time the nation was in the tournament since 1960.

The AP explained Panama was only included in the field because the series was moved from Venezuela to Panama for security concerns, opening up a guest invitation.

"There are no secrets. I had 29 warriors with a lot of talent and every day they gave me their best," Panama manager Manuel Rodriguez said, per the AP. "When you play baseball in this way, you are going to get the titles and this win will help the baseball in Panama."

It was quite the underdog story, and the home fans were in a celebratory mood after the victory:

Panama reached the final with a 1-0 victory over Puerto Rico on Saturday, while Cuba defeated Venezuela 3-0. It was a notable win for Cuba, seeing how it lost in the semifinals the three previous years after winning the Caribbean Series in 2015.

However, Panama prevailed in Sunday's title game, and the AP noted shortstop Javy Guerra was named the tournament's MVP.

Guerra is a minor leaguer in the San Diego Padres' system and played 13 games last season for the major league club. He slashed .125/.263/.125 with an RBI and three walks in those 13 contests.

This victory also stands out for Panama because the 1950 team that won the tournament, the Carta Vieja Yankees, did so with a roster of American players, per the AP.

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