Branson, MO – On day three of the Cal Ripken Major 70 World Series, Puerto Rico and New Zealand battled on Chicago Stadium. After experiencing loses in their first games, both teams were looking to rebound. Even though New Zealand kept battling all game, they ended up on the wrong side of the scoreboard again. This game featured a high-scoring, offensive battle in which Puerto Rico came out victorious, 14-6.
In their first game, Puerto Rico was shutout by Japan, but they made sure this was not the case against New Zealand. New Zealand’s pitching struggled to find the strike zone all game as they walked total of eight batters and Puerto Rico made them pay.
Puerto Rico’s bat came alive as they accounted for 14 runs on 12 hits. The offensive explosion began in the 2nd inning and they never looked backed. Hitting 7th in the lineup, Chris Arroyo led off the inning with a double and three walks were issued to the following batters. As a result, Arroyo scored and put Puerto Rico on the board 1-0. Next, that brought up Juan Ramos with the bases loaded. Ramos grounded out, but the runner at third scored, putting Puerto Rico up 2-0.
Following Ramos, Carlos Martinez and Deniel Ortiz brought the lead up to 6-0 with back-to-back homeruns. Martinez connected with a three-run homerun while Ortiz hit a solo shot. New Zealand got the following batter to fly out, but Daniel Ortero singled which brought up Arroyo for the second time in the inning. Arroyo drove in Ortero with an RBI single, pushing the lead up to 7-0. A flyout by Adriel Vega ended the long second inning.
Martinez was named game MVP for Puerto Rico. He finished the game 2-2 with a homerun, double, a walk, stolen base, three runs scored, and three RBI. Overall, Martinez played a spectacular game and his hot bat was a key contributor to Puerto Rico’s victory.
After the game, Martinez was asked how he approached each at-bat and how was able to have such great success.
“I just really wanted to wait for my pitch, make good contact, and drive the ball”, Martinez said.
In the top of 3rd, New Zealand inched their way back in the game by scoring four runs. Poor defense and walks allowed New Zealand to finally get on the board. Also, hits by Bunji Nakao and Damian Feaciaiga contributed to run column.
Receiving early run support, Puerto Rico’s starting pitcher, Adriel Vega, through 2 1/3 innings, dominated on the mound and shutout New Zealand. Vega allowed one hit and struck out six. Due to the pitching rules in the World Series, Jarrette Bonet came into relieve Vega. Bonet struggled to find the strike zone and did not receive much support from his defense. Through 3 2/3 innings, Bonet walked six, allowed three hits, struck out two, and six runners scored, two of which were earned on his behalf.
In the bottom of 3rd, Puerto Rico added three more runs to their name. Guilermo Rivera started off the inning with a single. Lackluster defense and walks by New Zealand allowed Rivera to score the first run of the inning. Following Rivera’s run scored, Ortero struck again. This time by adding a two run RBI double, bringing Puerto Rico’s lead to 10-4.
In the top of the 4th, New Zealand added their final two runs of the game. Nikau Pooako-Grego singled to drive in one of the two batters that walked before him. On a wild pitch, Grego scored New Zealand’s final run of the game.
Propelled by Martinez’s leadoff double in the bottom of the 5th and New Zealand’s inability to find the strike zone, Puerto Rico concluded their offensive outburst by scoring four runs. In the final inning, Puerto Rico kept New Zealand of the scoreboard and won the game 14-6.
For New Zealand, Bunji Nakao was named game MVP. Nako was very relaxed at the plate and went 2-3 with a double, single, and a walk.
Up next, Puerto Rico, will take on the Dominican Republic while New Zealand faces Japan to conclude pool play on the International side.