The Cuban National Team won a close one against the Rockland Boulders by a score of 4-3. Justin Topa (6-1) pitched 8.1 innings for the Boulders and gave up all four of his runs in the fifth inning to take the loss. Cuban starter Dachel Dequesne (1-2) pitched 5.2 innings of three run baseball for the win.
The game began as a pitching duel as the two teams combined for just three hits through the first three innings. Cuba had a runner in scoring position in the third but on a ground ball by Raul Gonzalez, shortstop Mike Fransoso made a spectacular, midair throw across his body to get the final out of the inning.
Rockland broke the tie in the bottom of the fourth courtesy of a solo home run by Joe Maloney, which was his second in as many games and gave him sole possession of the league lead.
In the fifth inning, Cuba responded to take the lead. Juan Torriente led off with a single and moved to third on a double by Yosvani Alarcon. Torriente scored on a groundout by Jefferson Delgado to tie the game. Afterwards, three straight RBI hits by Yoelkis Cespedes, Victor Mesa, and Gonzalez gave Cuba a 4-1 lead.
The Boulders got some of those runs back starting with a Jon Smith solo homer, his second in as many games. Mike Montville later doubled forcing Cuba to turn to reliever Yariel Rodriguez. However, Fransoso singled off of the new pitcher to bring Rockland within one at 4-3.
Rockland threatened in the bottom of the ninth as Jared McDonald walked and Cody Regis singled but the team was unable to tie the game. The Boulders are now 28-10 while Cuba snapped their six game losing streak and are now 5-14. The middle game of the series will be tomorrow at 6 p.m at Palisades Credit Union Park.