The Dominican Series, which is the championship series for the Dominican Winter League, is set (it is a best-of-nine series). Escogido clinched on January 14th in dramatic fashion (a combined no-hitter), while Licey beat Gigantes on January 18th in a one-game playoff (a home run in the ninth won it). That means seven current KC Royals will be playing for a title beginning tonight in Escogido’s home park.
Aguilas finished in last place in the playoff round-robin. Catcher Francisco Pena had a pretty good end to the tournament. In three games last week, he went 4-for-10 with a double, a run scored, and an RBI. He also stole a base.
Now to the seven that will continue competing.
Pedro Ciriaco played shortstop in all three games he played for Escogido last week. He went 2-for-11 with a double. He did commit his first error of the postseason on January 14th. Melky Mesa played one game last week and it was a memorable one. He went 2-for-4 with a two out, three-run homer.
Reliever Zack Jackson made one appearance for Escogido last week. He earned his first hold of the playoffs, as he induced a ground out with a runner on base in the 9th inning on January 15th.
The newest Royal is reliever Guillermo Mota, who signed just last week to a minor league deal with a spring training invite. He pitched in two games out of the bullpen since his signing (January 17th and 18th). Over 2.2 innings, he allowed two hits while striking out four. In his final game with Licey last week, he entered with one runner on base and left it stranded.
Second baseman Emilio Bonifacio continues to be the leadoff man for Licey. Last week, he went 5-for-20 with three walks, four runs scored, and three RBIs. He stole his third base of the postseason in the DS clincher, but also struck out a total of five times. Bonifacio committed his sixth playoff error on January 14th.
Reliever Maikel Cleto had a forgettable outing on January 16th (his only appearance of the week for Licey). He started the 3rd inning, but only recorded one out. He left with two men on base and both scored. Overall, he allowed three runs (none earned) on one hit and a wild pitch over 1/3 of an inning.
On January 17th, Francisley Bueno picked up his second win of the postseason to force the one-game playoff. He allowed one run on five hits and a walk over six innings. He struck out three and induced eight ground outs.
To the Venezuelan Winter League, where the round-robin playoffs are still going on. Magallanes leads the way at 10-5, while Caribes is in a second place tie at 11-7 with Caracas.
Catcher Ramon Hernandez played in four games last week for Magallanes. He went 4-for-11 with a double, two runs scored, and four RBIs.
Centerfielder Gorkys Hernandez moved into the leadoff spot for Caribes over their last two games. In that spot, he went 3-for-9 with five runs scored. Overall, Hernandez went 5-for-19 with six runs scored. He also had another outfield assist on January 16th, throwing a runner out at third base.
It may be a stretch for the Melbourne Aces to make the postseason in the ABL. They are 20-22, eight games back of first place Perth (who already clinched a playoff berth). They are one game back of the final spot, but there are three teams in front of them. On January 17th, the Aces won 4-2 in 13 innings. The following day, they had a three-run 8th inning to win.
Jared Schlehuber continues to excel in the three-hole of their lineup. In four games last week, he went 4-for-17 with a two out solo home run on January 18th. In that game, he drove in two runs with two outs.
Justin Trapp seems to like the fifth spot in the order. Last week, he went 5-for-15. He hit his first ABL home run on Sunday and stole his ninth base on January 17th.