Mayo goes down fighting, 5-1 Cubans break open game in 9th inning

July 29, 1993|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Staff Writer

Given the task of pitching against the Cuban Baseball Delegation junior national team last night, Brandon Agamennone knew he had to learn as much about his opponent as he could. And in a short amount of time.

The Mayo American Legion Post 226 right-hander watched closely as the Cubans took batting practice before the nine-inning exhibition game at Joe Cannon Stadium in Harmans. He was looking for holes, hoping to spot a weakness that he could later expose.

He must have seen something.

The Cuban contingent, regarded as the best 18-and-under baseball team in the world, kicked off its first-ever tour of the U.S. by struggling past Mayo, 5-1, before a crowd of more than 800.

Catcher Abdiel Jiminez doubled in the tie-breaking run in the ninth inning to lead the visitors, who are preparing for the World Junior Championships in Windsor, Canada later this year. The tour, which includes stops in Washington and Connecticut, is sponsored by Intersport USA and is sanctioned by USA Baseball.

Agamennone was removed with a runner on third and one out in the ninth inning. He gave up three runs and seven hits, walked two and struck out five.

Tim Giles, who took over for Agamennone after starting at first base, was charged with the last two runs.

The Wildcats have won 54 games this summer, and they showed why last night. The pitching was superb, and the batters never appeared overmatched against Cuban's hard-throwing right-hander, Vladimir Nunez.

Mayo put at least one runner on base in each of the first eight innings, but couldn't deliver the clutch hit.

Nunez left after seven innings, allowing one run and six hits. He walked three and struck out five.

The Cubans took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a double by Yosuani Lazo and a two-out, bad-hop single by Mario Vega that handcuffed Mayo shortstop Jeff Hedrick.

Mayo tied the score in the third on a single by Agamennone, a double by Wade Rolocut and a wild pitch.

With a Wildcats runner on first and two outs in the sixth inning, Jim Taylor hit a line drive to left that looked like it would sail over the head of Lazo. But the Cuban left fielder broke back quickly and made a leaping catch to preserve the tie.

Mayo threatened again in the eighth, putting two runners on against reliever Lester Ramirez. But Ryan Dempsey struck out on three pitches to end the inning.

The first indication that this wouldn't be an ordinary game was when the spectators drove into the parking lot -- and were greeted by Anne Arundel County auxiliary policemen at every turn. The Cubans brought their own security personnel, as well.

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