Dominican Republic Takes Caribbean Series

Jeff SummersCorrespondent IFebruary 9, 2010

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - MARCH 10:  Tom Stuifbergen #51 of The Netherlands pitches against The Dominican Republic during the 2009 World Baseball Classic Pool D match on March 10, 2009 at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

The Caribbean Series is the culmination of winter baseball. Shortly after the World Series is completed in the United States, baseball is just beginning in other parts of the world. In the countries south of the United States, nations welcome players back onto the field for the beginning of another year of winter baseball.

Winter baseball is made up of players from various countries along with major and minor league players from the United States. It is partly a developmental environment to which players are sent to work on specific aspects of their games, and partly a matter of pride as teams attempt to represent their countries on an international stage.

At the end of the winter baseball season is the Caribbean Series in a playoff format of teams from the various winter ball regions to determine the Caribbean champion.

The participants in the Caribbean Series are made up of the top teams from the Dominican Winter League, the Mexico Pacific League, the Puerto Rican Professional Baseball League, and the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League. The tournament this year was held at Estadio Nueva Esparta in Porlamar Margarita Island in Venezuela.

The culmination of the Caribbean Series was held yesterday with the final game being contested between Los Leones del Escogido from the Dominican Republic versus Leones del Caracas from Venezuela.

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Going into this game, the Dominican Republic controlled its own destiny. If it won the game it would be the champion. If it lost, there would be a one game playoff between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico who had won earlier in the day.

Los Leones del Escogido dominated the game as they had through most of the Caribbean Series beating the team from Venezuela by a score of 7-1. The win was the third Caribbean Series title for Los Leones del Escogido and the 18th for a team from the Dominican Republic.

The MVP for the tournament was Fernando Martinez. Raul Valdes earned the win, his second of the series, and was helped when the Dominican Republic scored four runs in the first inning.

The celebration in Estadio Nueva Esparta was for the win by Los Leones del Escogido but here in the states baseball fans were cheering at the thought that winter baseball was now officially over, which means spring training cannot be too far away.

While much of the country is still blanketed in snow, players are gathering up their gear and after the winning celebration is over they will be making their way to Florida and Arizona to begin a new preparing for the upcoming 2010 MLB season.