Cuba Girls Development Camp set for ninth year

OTTAWA - Warm weather while playing your favourite sport in a country where the game is practically a religion, and in the month of February! That will be the reality for 25 lucky female baseball players next week when the annual Girls Baseball Development Camp gets underway in Havana, Cuba.

For the ninth consecutive year, Women’s National Team manager André Lachance is bringing a talented group of young players to the baseball hotbed for a week of baseball and a cultural experience that is equally important as the on field component.

“I said it every year, but a key to this trip being so successful is the overall experience that the participants receive,” he said. “On the baseball field, athletes are dealing with different weather and playing outdoors for the first time in months. Off the field, it’s an opportunity to travel to a new country and experience a different culture which is a first for many.”

Noémie Lapointe (Laval, Que.) is returning to Cuba after attending last year’s camp and recalls realizing how much the sport of baseball means to the Cuban people and their culture.

“I quickly understood that the passion and the need to play baseball isn’t just located in one place or one heart,” she said. “In fact, I love how everyone there seems so devoted to that sport. It brings out an energy that I love to be around.”

Lapointe used last year’s camp in Cuba and a strong performance at the Women’s Invitational in Windsor later in the year to earn an invite to the Canada-USA Development Program in Washington, DC where she got her first taste of the Women’s National Team program.

She’s excited for the 2018 season, a World Cup year for the National Team, and wants to use the upcoming experience in Cuba to help reach her goals.

“My number one goal (for 2018) is to make Team Canada and participate in the World Cup,” explained Lapointe. “I’m using the trip to Cuba to see where my progress is at right now and to see what I still need to work on in order to meet my goals.”

A teammate with Lapointe during the Canada-USA Development Program last summer, Vancouver’s Emma March will be heading to Cuba for the first time and is excited about the prospect of playing baseball in a foreign country.

“Hopefully this trip to Cuba will not only give me a great opportunity to compete against strong Cuban players but also give me more practice for the upcoming season,” said March. “I believe that competing against other girls around the world will make me stronger and more prepared to face other girls in Canada.”

Like Lapointe, March got her feet wet with the National Team program in 2017 and has her sights set on taking the next step with the program this year.

“My goal for the 2018 season is to make it onto the Women’s National Team. I’d love to have the opportunity to play with them (at the World Cup) in Florida and I believe that hard work, practice and this Cuba camp will help me achieve my goal.”

While the baseball aspect is really important for March, her hope is to soak in as much about the Cuban baseball culture as she can while also form new relationships with her Cuban counterparts.

“Seeing as it is my first time traveling to Cuba to participate in this camp I hope to get a new perspective of what baseball means to other girls around the world and the difference in the lives of girls who enjoy playing baseball in Cuba and in Canada,” added March. “I hope to meet some Cuban players to understand what it’s like playing in Cuba and the struggles they may face being a girl.

"I hope to come out of the trip with new insight into the meaning of girls baseball, I’d love to make new friends and come home more grateful for the life I have in Canada, how lucky I am for having many opportunities to play the sport I love and never take them for granted.”

It will be a busy schedule for the 25 athletes, coaches and support staff attending the camp with daily games, practices and off field activities planned.

Baseball Canada will be providing updates throughout the week via our Twitter account:

Cuba Development Camp Roster

Sena Catterall, Québec
Kassie Orr, British Columbia
Alexis Galloway, Alberta
Elizabeth Gilder, British Columbia
Danielle Smith, Newfoundland
Isabella Bortolotto, British Columbia
Celia Leaf, British Columbia
Alexane Fournier, Québec
Sophy Gagné, Québec
Olivia Sheldon, Manitoba
Sarah Moir, Manitoba
Ellie MacAulay, Nova Scotia
Miya Waldron, Ontario
Caitlin Tomotsugu, Ontario
Arianne Lévesque, Québec
Bridget Kelly, Québec
Lily Susin, Ontario
Tara Taylor, Ontario
Emma March, British Columbia
Lochlahn March, Ontario
Allison Schroder, British Columbia
Noémie Lapointe, Québec
Erica Ahad, Québec
Meghan Jasmin, Québec
Maylee Matchett, Ontario


André Lachance, Québec
Aaron Myette, British Columbia
Kate Psota, Ontario
Wayne Parro, Ontario
Charles St-Laurent, Québec
Chloé Gagnon, Québec

  • Published in Sports

Alazanes Baseball Team Train at the Latin American Stadium

The Alazanes from Granma, National Baseball Champions, are training in the Latin American Stadium in Havana with the objective of preparing the team for the upcoming Caribbean Series to be held from February 2nd to the 8th.

During a visit of the Cuban News Agency to the stadium, some players were carrying out batting practice others defense and the pitchers were doing their regular exercises led by their trainer Ciro Silvino Licea and Jose Elosegui.

Manager Carlos Marti Santos said that he is satisfied with the team, which is being reinforced with 12 additional players, including pitchers.

He pointed out that the pitching performance will be key to the team´s desire of winning the Caribbean Series.

Roel Santos, who will participate for the third time in the regional competition said being motivated and is ready to contribute to the team´s success.

He expressed that the main objective is to achieve the victory. The last time Cuba won the Caribbean Series was in 2015 when Pinar del Rio led by Alfonso Urquiola got the victory.

Guillermo Aviles, who is predicted to be one of the main offensive figures of Alazanes expressed feeling in excellent shape and confident in demonstrating his quality as a batter in the event which dates back to 1949.

In the previous regional event, Alazanes from Granma won 3 games and lost 1 in the first phase but fell before the Aguilas de Mexicali team 1 to 0.

  • Published in Sports

Daring in baseball: Tripping over the same structure again

Honestly, I had abandoned the idea of judging how the National Baseball Championship should be, until I fortuitously heard the current National Commissioner and former great pitcher from Jatibonico, Yovani Aragon, communicate that the next national series would have the same structure as the current and previous ones, uncommendable in their development, exhausting for the athletes and costly.

If sometimes it has been repeated that this season has been the most successful for the influx of spectators, one should not forget that two of the eight teams qualified are Industriales and Pinar del Rio, which attract sympathy, especially the first, across the nation, from Mantua to Baracoa, passing through Jatibonico, where many at the stadium named after Genaro Melero –still alive at that time– were hopeful of a victory of Industriales over Villa Clara (which today’s town of Sancti Spiritus belonged to, after being removed from Camagüey), but asthma played a dirty trick on dominant Lazaro Valle.

And about four years ago, during an argument at Alex’s barber shop, in Zone 7 of Alamar, one of the clients suggested a single and original tournament, much less costly, and at the end, in a couple of years, at most, it would be attractive and palliate the continued absences and lack of baseballs, leg guards, etc, as a result of the difficult economic development and the aggressive imperialist attitude, with the open aim to suffocate us in all spheres of life.

Likewise, we should put aside all those mannerisms and mental flatulences on derbies, classics, and that non-original idea of the “wild cards”, and that final merit falls on those who play well the baseball stages proposed.


A national championship split into two stages: a regional one –which reduces the costs– and a selective one, which increases the quality.

In the regional stage, there would be 16 teams: six from the West, and five from each of the remaining regions, where they would play among them, aimed at having a champion and a selection.

The challenge would be to find a schedule for the zone where six teams would get involved, geared at matching the number of games and the similar date of the general termination.

The champion is also reinforced within the zone and should choose at least the first two players of the total number agreed to choose.

The six teams will play in the second stage that should run in the months of our autumn and winter, and will contribute the champion due to be reinforced for the Caribbean Series. .

It’s foreseen that the long, exhausting and costly trips will be avoided in the first stage. The champions, of course, will take the names of the winners in the different regions, and the selections could be Eastern, Central and Western.

Regarding the uniforms, the champion, of course, wears its own, but the selections can wear a uniform with the name of the selection, and another with the name of the team they belonged to in the first stage, so variety and team of origin are established.

“The form of games, number and clashes, etc, are decided previous study, because, he remarked, the western region has one more team, and except if it is champion, a team from the Isle of Youth should never travel to Santiago de Cuba, for example”.

We should not fall in paternalism if a zone is weaker than another or, for example, place Sancti Spiritus in the West, because the local authorities of each province are responsible for developing baseball from the grassroots, taking care of the baseball fields and preparing the whole logistics for that purpose, mainly to fete the visitor. What will be missing? Daring!

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

  • Published in Specials

Seven-Inning Baseball?

Not the first time the topic is approached, and by the same person, because the chairman of the World Confederation of Baseball and Softball, Italian Ricardo Fraccari has been long pleading for changes in the rules so that, baseball especially becomes more attractive in countries where is not practiced regularly, and stays in the official program of the Olympic Games.

After appearing uninterruptedly since Barcelona-1992 until Beijing-2008, this sport will return to the Olympic games of Tokyo-2020, but Fraccari wants it to stay for good. Fraccari has considered vital the introduction of a few changes to do it more attractive and especially, shorter in time-consuming.

He insists, and he is certainly right about it that the dynamics of current times is that the youth worldwide is not willing to spend more than three hours watching a ball game, when at the same time other sports are on.

That is the main reason for which he has promoted changes, and the most polemic and radical is to downsize the baseball to seven innings.

Purists fall off their seats, but the question here is to be or not to be. Do we prefer to respect rules but remain on the sidelines of the Games? Those who wish to be in the Games must adapt, and the most radical measure is in fact the one of reducing innings.

In his condition as member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Fraccari realized that doping cases or the lack of the most upper-class professionals was not a big problem, because that also affects other sports. However, in a board of European majority, from countries that don’t play baseball massively, the time used is a key factor. Also, other sports have made important modifications to their rules, but not baseball, and that is also seen as an expression of willing to adapt.

On the other hand, baseball keeps the same rules of its origins, and the little changes done to shorten the time of the game (base on balls with a pitch, chronometer for pitchers, etc.) have not produced a remarkable change in the duration of matches, as it would certainly do to play only seven innings.

I particularly like baseball as it is, but as I mentioned at the beginning, it’s to adapt or die, and I’d rather like the Olympic tournament to be played to seven innings, before none is played. Boxing has different rules in its Olympic style, soccer has age limit, basketball also modifies its rules regarding professionals, however, they are included in the Olympic Games, and it’s enjoyed with its variants.

Baseball could do it too, and keep these regulations only for the Games and its classificatory tournaments. In the end, statistically most challenges are decided before the eighth inning, although to the eye what’s left are the spectacular plays of the ninth inning, or beyond.

It would be a remarkable change, actually, but less traumatic than the other variants on the table, as to leave the count in two strikes and three balls, or similar proposals.

It’s to be or not to be in the Olympic Games, and I’d rather be, although that’s the price to pay for it.

  • Published in Sports

U.S. Falls to Cuba, 7-2

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
USA Baseball 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 6 1
Cuba 0 3 0 0 2 0 2 0 0 7 13 1
Win: Dachel Duquesne Loss: Gianluca Dalatri
Box Score | Play by Play | Cumulative Stats | Series Stats

CARY, N.C. - Andrew Vaughn and Tyler Frank each drove in a run as the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team fell to Cuba, 7-2, on Thursday in the fourth game of the sixth USA vs. Cuba International Friendship Series from Bill Coleman Field. This marks the first loss for the United States in international play this summer but the U.S. still holds a 3-1 lead in the best-of-five series.

Cuba scored three runs in the second inning for the opening runs of the game led by Juan Torriente singling in a run and Yoelkis Cespedes hitting a RBI-double. Cuba pushed its lead to 5-0 in the fifth inning as Norel Gonzalez and Torriente each drove in a run.

Trailing 7-0 in the ninth inning, the U.S. would score its only runs of the game. Steele Walker started the inning with a base hit up the middle followed by Seth Beer drawing a walk. Vaughn would plate Walker with a single to center field and Beer would cross home on a Frank sacrifice fly to deep center field.

Dachel Duquesne earned the win for Cuba tossing 7.0 scoreless innings scattering three hits with five strikeouts. Team USA's Gianluca Dalatri suffered the loss allowing three runs on six hits with two punch outs over 4.0 innings. Sean Wymer threw 4.0 innings in relief for the U.S. allowing four runs on seven hits with two strikeouts.

The U.S. team ended the game with two runs on six hits with one error, while Cuba finished with seven runs on 13 hits and one error.

The United States and Cuba will play the series finale of the sixth USA vs. Cuba International Friendship Series on Friday at 6:05 p.m. from Bill Coleman Field at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.

The series is sanctioned by the World Baseball Softball Confederation.

  • Published in Sports

USA Walks Off in Series Opener Against Cuba, 5-4

Cuba 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 4 3 0
USA Baseball 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 5 11 0
Win: Ryley Gilliam Loss: Leomil Gonzales
Box Score | Play by Play | Cumulative stats | Series Stats

CARY, N.C. - Seth Beer drove in the game-winning run in the 10th inning, while Steele Walker went 4-for-5 and Travis Swaggerty recorded two RBIs as the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team earned a walk-off win over Cuba, 5-4, in extra innings on Sunday in the series opener of the sixth USA vs. Cuba Friendship Series from Bill Coleman Field.

After nine innings of play and the score tied 2-2, the two teams went into extra innings and played under international tie-breaking rules with runners on first and second base and no outs. The U.S. trailed 4-2 heading into the bottom of the 10th inning when Nick Madrigal led off with a base hit to load the bases. Swaggerty would then draw a bases-loaded walk followed by Walker hitting a line drive through the right side to tie the game. That set up Beer who lifted a 1-2 pitch into right field to plate Madrigal for the game-winning run.

The United States jumped out to a 2-0 advantage as Swaggerty scored on a wild pitch in the first inning and then drove in Madrigal with a single to right field in the third inning.

Cuba tied the game in the top of the fourth inning as Raul Gonzalez hit a solo home run to left field followed by Yordoni Samon hitting a RBI-single up the middle.

Patrick Raby tossed 4.0 shutout innings in relief without allowing a hit and tallied one strikeout. Starting pitcher Konnor Pilkington threw 4.0 innings allowing two runs on three hits with one strikeout. Ryley Gilliam earned the win after throwing the 10th inning and did not allow a hit.

The U.S. team ended the game with five runs on 11 hits with no errors, while Cuba finished with four runs on three hits and no errors.

The United States and Cuba will play game two of the sixth USA vs. Cuba International Friendship Series on Monday at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park with first pitch set for 6:30 p.m.

The series is sanctioned by the World Baseball Softball Confederation.

  • Published in Sports

Cuban National Team at Can-Am League: Of setbacks and other demons

It could look like a remake of the Cuban team's performance in the last season of the Can-Am Independent Baseball League, judging by the performance shown so far.

Let’s recall that the players commanded by Roger Machado managed to achieve an adverse 3-7 balance, before ending with 11-9, barely above the .500 mark.

Well, after impeccably starting with 3 wins, the Cuban squad has collapsed in its performance and achieved 4 setbacks in a row vs. the Quebec Capitales, sign that the pitching, mainly the opening staff, is not well.

Without being pessimistic, we made an objective analysis, taking into account several statistics, before our team finished its subseries vs. the Capitales, which, by the way, ranks second in the tournament, with a 17-8 balance. The Rockland Boulders (19-7) are reigning, while the tricolor team is in fourth position, behind the New Jersey Jackals (15-10), and the team representing the Dominican Republic had been unable to win in five games.

* At bats *

Let's start with the offensive, a logical matter, since ball games are won with runs. If we judged by general indicators such as batting average (.313, with 84 hits in 268 times at bat), runs scored and RBI (35-31), extra bases (14 doubles and 3 home runs), plus 13 walks allowed and 47 strikeouts. The team is not on the wrong course, except for the excessive number of struckout players in seven games. Add to this a poor .399 slugging and a .350 base percentage. These last two figures, at first
glance, show that the insular squad does not have men of high and recognized offensive caliber, nor have they properly exploited speed on the basis of the offensive, because its base percentage exhibits only 2 base steals in an equal number of attempts.

We can also add they left 29 men on base in their 4 losses, an issue reflecting that once again the hitters have been dominated in tension situations with runners on base, even with several runs behind in the score.

Individually, Juan Carlos Torriente (.393 (28-11), 5 RBI), Yosvany Alarcón (.375 (16-6), 3 doubles and 4 RBI), Yordanis Samón (.355 (31-11) with 4 RBI), and Guillermo Avilés (.345 (29-10) with 2 doubles, 1 home run and 5 RBI) have been the best hitters.

*The suffering on the hill…*

The pitching staff allowing an ERA of 6.20, opponents hitting .303 BA, and the WHIP 1.79, plus 10 HRs allowed, left no room for hope.

The cornerstone of Cuban losses is the starting pitching. Vladimir Banos, Yoannis Yera, Dachel Duquesne, and Ulfrido Garcia have not been able to get the job done. Mid relievers and closers have not performed any better.

The stats show it: 61 innings, 71 hits allowed, 48 earned runs allowed. The K-BB ratio is 32-58. More than 4 walks per game in too much.

Some Cuban players were among the top in the offensive department. Torriente is second in BA (.393). Yordan Manduley tops the list with (.415). He plays for the Capitals. RHP Jose Ramon Rodriguez ranks 4th among pitchers with a very good ERA 2.46. The leader is Granma’s Lazaro Blanco, playing now for the Quebec Capitals with ERA 2.25.

We have still 14 games ahead. It is a very tough schedule. We trust Cuba can recover and get used to the pace of the Can Am League. We hope our team can meet the goal of finishing the competition above the .500 mark.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

  • Published in Cuba

Cuban Participation in Can-Am Baseball League

Canadian officials will arrive in Cuba to evaluate the participation of a Cuban baseball team in the independent Can-Am League and the possible Cuban ballplayers hiring.

The Can-Am league delegation is headed by its Vice President and owner of Quebec Capitals baseball team, Michel Laplante, who will meet tomorrow and on Thursday with some directors of the National Baseball Department and National Institute of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation (INDER).

At the meeting, Cuban baseball team's second-year participation in the Can-Am baseball league, which is played in several Canadian and US cities, will be debated.

Likewise, the issue on hiring Cuban ballplayers will be also dealt with due to the interest of some Can-Am teams, as happened in previous edition.

On the other hand, among the newest issues they highlighted the invitation of an Under-18 baseball team to a youth championship, based in Quebec.

Both parties will hold a press conference on Friday at Adolfo Luque Hall of the Latinoamericano Ballpark.

In previous season, in addition to the Cuban baseball team which had 11 wins and nine losses, a great deal of Cuban ballplayers were hired and included in different Canadian baseball teams´ lineup.

For this season, Can-Am Baseball League is scheduled to begin from May 18 to September 17, with the participation of some other international baseball teams.

  • Published in Sports
Subscribe to this RSS feed