LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. - While baseball in the United States is beginning to heat back up with pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training, over in Panama, the 61st annual Caribbean Series took place with tremendous talent on display. From February 4-10, six international teams featuring champions from the Cuban National Series, Dominican Professional Baseball League, Mexican Pacific League, Puerto Rican Professional Baseball League, Panamanian Professional Baseball League and Venezuelan Professional Baseball League battled for supremacy as 2019 Caribbean Series champions.
Former Lake Elsinore Storm shortstop in 2016 and 2017, Javy Guerra, participated in this year's competition with the Toros de Herrera from his home country of Panama. Led by Guerra's dynamic play, The Toros de Herrera found themselves in the championship game against Leñadores de Las Tunas (Cuba). Scoring right off the bat was a key to success for Panama as fellow former Storm from 2018, Allen Cordoba, joined Elimer Reyes with RBIs in the bottom of the first which led the charge to a 3-1 victory. This win marked just the second time a team from Panama won the championship with the last being the Carta Vieja Yankees in 1950.
For his efforts, Javy earned top accolades, batting .389 (7-for-18) with three doubles and a home run in five games, which led to being named Most Valuable Player of the entire tournament. Guerra joins former Major League greats like David Ortiz (2003, Dominican Republic), Roberto Alomar (1995, Puerto Rico), Terry Francona (1984, Venezuela) and Manny Mota (1971, Dominican Republic) as Caribbean Series MVP.
The 23-year-old infielder will now embrace Spring Training trending in the right direction. One year ago, Guerra delivered 18 doubles, 13 HR and 55 RBI with the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas. This led to his Major League Debut with the San Diego Padres on May 4 at Petco Park against the Los Angeles Dodgers, an eventual extended stay call-up in September and an offseason he will not soon forget.
Remember, the future of Major League Baseball is played in Lake Elsinore at The Diamond. The 2019 home opener is set for Thursday, April 11 at 7PM as the Lake Elsinore Storm begin their 26th season of California League baseball. Starting Saturday, March 9, fans can purchase tickets online at stormbaseball.com or call 951-245-HITS for the best available seats.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.