Cuba Celebrates Trophies for Two Baseball Players, While Another Two Leave the Island

Cuba’s Under-15 national team said goodbye to the Boca Chica 2024 tournament with two wins and three losses

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 22 March 2024 — Two days after Cuba’s Under-15 baseball team failed in the Dominican Republic by not winning a ticket to a baseball World Cup for the first time in its history, Prensa Latina published the recognition of Frank Frías Castro, from Bayamo, as the best designated batter, and Cristian Oscar Lías, from Holguín, as the best outfielder of the tournament.

The report is limited to pointing out that the Island’s national team achieved two victories against Peru and Guatemala and suffered three defeats against Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Nicaragua, so the Cuban team “found it impossible to move to the final round.” The same lukewarm headlines were offered in the official media Cubadebate and Jit, without an analysis of the failure in the Boca Chica 2024 tournament.

Under-15 players Frank Frías Castro and Cristian Oscar Lías were recognized in the Dominican Republic / Prensa Latina

In addition to the poor results in youth tournaments, which include failure in the U-15 World Cup, Cuba has been left out of the tournaments in the categories of 12, 18 and 23 years old. There is also a growing exodus of athletes, not only among the 18-year-old prospects, but also among the younger players. As of Thursday, Samuel Palencia and Liusban Sánchez are no longer in the country. Both were part of the Bayamo team in the Little League 2023. “Although one would think that these 13-year-old boys represented the new future of a lacerated baseball in Cuba, their parents had other ideas,” stressed journalist Francys Romero on the Beísbol FR! site.

With the departure of Palencia and Sánchez, there are now four members of the Little League teams who have emigrated. The other two are Luis Enrique Gurriel, cousin of the baseball players Lourdes Jr. and Yuli Gurriel, and Luis Aparicio.

Palencia arrived in the United States with his family through the humanitarian parole implemented in January 2023. Romero remembers the boy’s performance as a pitcher against Australia in the Little League 2023, when he recorded 13 strikeouts in 5 innings.

Cuban youths continue to leave the Island, the latest being Samuel Palencia and Liusban Sánchez / Francys Romero/ Facebook]

Humanitarian parole has been the way out for several Cuban baseball players. The former baseball player and manager, Yorelvis Charles, used it last November. Since August, Pitcher Saydel Peña Gómez has been established in Los Angeles. The former manager of the Cuban team and the Ciego de Ávila national team, Roger Machado, confirmed his arrival in June.

The captain of the Alazanes, Carlos Benítez, entered the United States last May. On the other hand, Liusban Sánchez, another young player, settled in the Dominican Republic. He was the third baseman and shortstop for Bayamo. Francys Romero points out that the player has good stature for his age, in addition to being athletic and a left-handed hitter.

The statistics also record casualties in the last Cuba U-12 team. Mario Serra, Kendry Abreu, Gabriel Tito Mustelier and Yondel Sajoni Cárdenas emigrated from that team.

The debacle takes place in the U-15, with the departure of 19 out of 20 players who represented the Island in the World Cup held in Mexico in 2022, where they won the silver medal. In 2023, more than 100 players emigrated from Cuba, in all categories and ages.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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