Leñadores from Las Tunas, 2nd Elite Baseball League

In that universe of numbers, physical condition, probabilities, tactics, divine entrustments, and even a bit of luck, baseball reserves a space for another intangible factor: group dynamics. Without fear of reproaches or mistakes, the Lumberjacks, throughout the 2nd Elite League, were oblivious to the consistency of that harmonious game that catapulted them to the crown of the 62nd National Series. With dissimilar arguments behind each word, it can be stated that to win it takes a team while to fail in the attempt, only one man is enough.

Las Tunas, Cuba.- Although batting has been the letter of introduction of the team from the Eastern Cuban Balcony, the instability when making runs and the lack of variants to bring the runners on base closer to home plate buried the hopes of winning several matches. The crude, old-fashioned form of the siege by the force of bats cannot be the only tool in the Abeysi Pantoja's roster.

With 376 hits in 1,326 at-bats, the green-and-red lineup averaged 281, just four points below the tournament average. That superficial look at the data from the qualifying stage awakens the criterion of tranquility but when delving into the towing situations, alarms explode since the artillery found 1,171 players in the pads and only 167 scored for 14.26 percent. Poor parameters for a championship where the offensive line supported all contenders. The sterile pace changed little in the postseason, against Matanzas. Like a puncture on the wound, reckless running magnified the crisis, in a duel that required balance in the different indicators on the grass.

The group of pitchers did not have the same luck as the previous season, despite being the sector with the most reinforcements. The pitchers carried the cross of establishing themselves as the third most batted team, due to an opposing average of 297, while the effectiveness average (ERA: 4.80) finished only ahead of Sancti Spíritus' record. However, with the development of the fight, the bullpen resumed its good performance, focusing on two or three arms.

The mixture of infertile bats and shaky pitching puts any team on the edge of the precipice. And if that were not enough, the defense also succumbed in the playoffs. The errors, countable on the statistics sheet and logical thinking in the clash, betrayed Las Tunas and, in unison, granted freedom to rivals capable of taking advantage of the minimum to take the lead.

Managers were also left with pending tasks, especially when there were feelings of wasting virtues in their ranks. The merits support them, yes, but taking the reins of a roster with so much potential gives them the responsibility to improve themselves in each play and, although it may seem like a lot to ask, to get ahead of events, to look for that light that spreads serenity when decisions must be made in a matter of seconds.

In that swing from the disastrous to the acceptable, the winter event moved for the representatives of this territory. A passing grade saves the grade, but shadows hover in the retina of the midterms given the expectations. Even so, from an individual perspective, various performances were outstanding.

Rafael Viñales, in that idyllic approach to the tournament after winning the Most Valuable Player award of the concluding phase in the previous edition, commanded Las Tunas from the “pentagon.” The slugger's performance placed him at the top of many departments, especially runs batted in, produced runs, and home runs.

For his part, Dariel Góngora lived up to his nickname and appeared as a “whip” from the box. For the umpteenth time, the native of Camagüey exhibited a performance that, at the very least, should place him on the radar of the federations on the Island. If any negative trait accompanied the left-hander, it was the fragile work in the semifinals against Matanzas, a team he had overcome with relative ease in the qualifying stage. Even so, his reunion with the “Mella” directed the spotlight towards gratitude for his commitment to the red-green axe jersey.

Likewise, Yosvanis Alarcón, with three home runs in the contest, achieved the banner of 180 full-round hits in domestic competitions, while Dánel Castro gave another nod to glory by surpassing the barrier of 2,500 hits. Without much media hype, on the contrary, with the same parsimony as he breathes from the mound, Alberto Pablo Civil stamped his signature on the baseball pages of these parts, after reaching José Miguel Báez as the pitcher with the highest number of saves, with 55.

Its fourth place kept Las Tunas within the aristocratic rank of Cuban baseball; however, the conformity seems like a brake for a generation that has made triumphs a natural process. The improvement, seen from different aspects, occurs through the level of self-criticism and the ability to eradicate the evidenced evils.

The circumstances seem tailor-made to germinate the reflection of whether it is time to renew the foundations of the golden cycle of the sport of balls and strikes in the province. It is up to everyone to preserve the vitality of the illustrious present and leave a past of defeats in oblivion.