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Defending champ Granma qualifies to the finals in Cuban baseball

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Defending champ Granma qualifies to the finals in Cuban baseballHAVANA, Cuba, Jan 12 (acn) Granma reached the grand final of the Cuban National Baseball Series when beating 4-2 Matanzas, in the fifth match of their semifinal playoffs.

With this win, fourth in a row over the Crocodiles, the defending champion advance to this stage for second consecutive year as, in the last season, they eliminated this same rival in semifinals.
The winning side opened the score in the very first inning, mainly based on the speed of CF Roel Santos, who got a walk, stole second and third bases, to then being driven in by 1B Guillermo Aviles´ sacri-fly off Yoanni Yera, who held a magnificent pitching duel with the also lefty Ulfrido Garcia.
In the fifth frame, Matanzas took the lead thanks to CF Eduardo Blanco´s two-run homer.
But, in the seventh, Granma managed to tie the score 2-2 through an RBI-single by pinch hitter Lazaro Cedeño, tournament homerun leader, who was amazingly in the bench.
After Santos singled off Yera, the latter was relieved by right-hander Miguel Lahera, who took the loss after allowing, in the next inning, two earned runs and three hits, including a two-RBI hit by LF Geydi Soler, best batter of the match after hitting 2 for 4 with two RBIs.
The win went to closer Raidel Martinez who pitched two hitless innings, with no walks and two strikeouts.
Meanwhile, at Havana´s Latinoamericano stadium, Industriales made a great gift to former OF Carlos Tabares on the day of his official retirement ceremony when beating 4-0 Las Tunas, thus taking the lead 2-1 in the other semifinal series.
Industriales´ victory had two names: that of left-handed pitcher Misael Villa, who did not allow runs in 7.1 innings to earn the win -11th in the season-, as well as DH Yordanis Samon, who drove in the four runs of the winners, including a three-run homer in the very first frame.

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