ISLA DE MARGARITA, Venezuela -- A team from Puerto Rico has not won the Caribbean Series since 2000, but the island is off to a good start.
Puerto Rico defeated the Dominican Republic, 7-6, in Game 1 on Saturday afternoon to improve to 31-24 overall in the first game of the Caribbean Series since 1950, when it began play in the tournament. However, the country has struggled in the last decade, sporting a 28-39 overall record in the last 10 years. In the last five years, Puerto Rican teams are 14-16.
"We arrived 4:45 a.m. on Saturday and didn't get to their team hotel until after 6 a.m., and I know they are tired, but I told them we can do it," Puerto Rico manager Carlos Baerga said. "We hit-and-run a lot, and we play small ball. If we can continue to do that, we have a chance. But really, nobody has an advantage here because every team can play. We have to be ready to play every day."