In just over 60 days, manager Ken Oberkfell will bring his 2010 Buffalo Bisons up from Port St. Lucie, FL in hopes of capturing a Governors' Cup championship. If he does, it will be his second title this year.
With the help of a couple of Bisons players from last year's team, Oberkfell led the Dominican club Leones del Escogido to victory in the 2010 Caribbean series this weekend. With tournament MVP Fernando Martinez and 2009 Bisons Pitcher of the Year Nelson Figueroa by his side, Oberkfell went 5-1 in the annual tournament between the best Winter League clubs from the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.
"This was a lot of fun," Oberkfell said. "It's been a great experience, because I really didn't realize how passionate the fans are about the game of baseball. It was an honor to do this, and I'm happy to be able to bring a championship to the Dominican."
Oberkfell led Escogido to a 30-19 record in the Dominican Winter Leagues. The Leones then went on to defeat Giantes del Cibao late last month in the best-of-nine game series to qualify for the Caribbean Series.
In the Series, Oberkfell relied on Martinez and Figueroa to bring home the title. Martinez hit .348 with two home runs and four RBI in the six games to earn series MVP. Figueroa struck out eight in a complete game 7-1 victory over Mexico on February 3 -his only appearance in the series.
"This is very emotional," Martinez said. "To be able to contribute to the Dominican Republic team is something you dream about as a child. This is a wonderful feeling. I don't have the words."
Escogido last won a Caribbean Series title in 1990, when it was managed by Felipe Alou, the father of current first-year DR general manager and former Bisons player, Moises Alou.
Oberkfell's club also included former Bisons Argenis Reyes and Nerio Rodriguez. Triple-A veterans Pablo Ozuna, Kevin Barker, Freddy Guzman, Heath Phillips and Jose Veras also played for Leones del Escogido.
To win the title, Martinez, Figueroa and Oberkfell had to best 2009 Bisons MVP Jesus Feliciano. The Puerto Rican outfielder led the series with a .438 average and was named to 2010 All-Tournament Team. However, Puerto Rico went just 4-2 and finished in second place.-the herd-
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.