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B a s e b a l l M e x i c o
November 19, 2 0 1 7
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Hermosillo wins LMP first half title; Vizcarra, Sojo both fired
The Hermosillo Naranjeros have won the Mexican Pacific League’s first-half championship, picking up eight playoff qualification points in the process, after beating last-place Obregon twice in a three-game weekend home series. Managed by longtime Mexican baseball figure Lorenzo Bundy (a Philadelphia native), the Orangemen were in a three-way tie at the top of the LMP standings with Culiacan and Mazatlan after going 20-15 in the half, but got the nod for first based on their record against the Tomateros and Venados, respectively.
Culiacan was awarded second (7 points) while Mazatlan takes third (6 points). In one of the tightest races in recent LMP seasons, Jalisco finished one game out of first at 19-16 to place fourth while 18-17 Navojoa finished two games back in fifth place. The final first half standings and points are posted below this story. Playoff seedings in the MexPac are based on points accrued over the two halves of the schedule.
Meanwhile, Mexicali has fired the man who led them to the pennant last winter. Manager Roberto Vizcarra was cut loose Sunday after the Aguilas finished a disappointing sixth in the first half with a record of 16-19. It’s the second time Vizcarra has felt the axe in 2017 after he was fired by the Mexican League’s Quintana Roo Tigres, a team he led to the 2014 pennant, late in the regular season. Vizcarra will be replaced in Mexicali by Pedro Mere, skipper of current Mexican League champion Tijuana who’d been managing the Moroleon Toros Bravos in the Mexican Winter League with players assigned from both the Toros and Leon.
The Los Mochis Caneros didn’t wait until the end of the first half to fire manager Luis Sojo, who was let go last Thursday. The former Yankees utilityman, who was a member of five World Series champions (including the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays), had the Caneros at 13-18 when he was canned. Sojo managed a Yankees team to the Rookie Gulf Coast League title last summer. He was replaced in Mochis by another former longtime Liga infielder Ramon Orantes, who led Union Laguna to a 60-49 record in his first stint as a manager this year but missed the LMB North playoffs. Like Mere, Orantes was managing in the LIM with the Maravatio Leones, an affiliate of both Laguna and Yucatan. The Caneros are 1-3 under Orantes and were swept by Mazatlan over a three-game weekend home series.
The LMP All-Star Game is slated for Monday night at Mochis’ Estadio Emilio Ibarra Almada. The All-Star contest, which will be preceded by a Legends Softball Game and Home Run Derby, was revived last winter after an absence of 19 years when the North defeated the South, 4-3, on a walkoff single by Obregon’s Olmo Rosario in the bottom of the ninth in front of 15,145 fans at Nuevo Estadio Yaquis in Obregon. Attendance won’t approach that figure this time, as Emilio Ibarra Almada holds just 11,000. Ironically, the two managers who’d been slated to head the All-Star teams were Vizcarra and Sojo, whose teams met in last winter’s finals.
LMP FINAL FIRST HALF STANDINGS
Hermosillo 20-15 (8.0), Culiacan 20-15 (7.0), Mazatlan (20-15) 6.0, Jalisco 19-16 (5.0), Navojoa 18-17 (4.5), Mexicali 16-19 (4.0), Los Mochis 14-21 (3.5), Obregon 13-22 (3.0).
LMP HITTING LEADERS
Batting-Sebastian Elizalde (CUL) .382, Hits-Sebastian Elizalde (CUL) 52, Runs-Randy Arozarena (NAV) and Jeremias Pineda (MAZ) 29, Homers-Jovan Rosa (NAV) 8, RBIs-Manny Rodriguez (JAL) 32, Stolen Bases-Jeremias Pineda (MAZ) 22.
LMP PITCHING LEADERS
Wins-Mitch Lively (MAZ) 5, Earned Run Average-Edgar Gonzalez (CUL) 1.80, Strikeouts-Cesar Vargas (HM) 35, Saves-Austin House (HMO) 11, Holds-Edgar Gomez (MXI) 10, WHIP-Edgar Gonzalez (CUL) 1.09.
FROM MEXICO, VISIT