When last we checked in with Washington Nationals' second baseman Ronnie Belliard on 1/14/07, Belliard had just scored the winning run of his teammate, LA Angels' pitcher Ervin Santana's combined no-hitter in the Dominican Winter League playoff matchup between Belliard and Santana's Tigres del Licey, managed by Nationals' Third Base Coach Tim Tolman, and Estrellas de Oriente, who have featured, at one point or another this winter, the Yankees' Robinson Cano, the Orioles' Freddie Bynum, Washington's own Jesus "Everyday" Colome and Blue Jays' shortstop prospect Pedro Lopez.
In the next night of round-robin play, the Tigres del Licey faced the Winter League Regular Season's best Gigantes del Cibao, led by Braves catching prospect Brayan Pena, .288, 3 HR, 25 RBI's and 6 steals in 41 games, Milwaukee outfielder Brad Nelson's .235 AVG, 8 HR's and 21 RBI's and LAA's Kendry Morales who collected a .291 AVG, 4 HR's and 19 RBI's.
On 1/15, Ronnie Belliard was 1 for 2 with a walk and Tampa Rays' third baseman Willy Aybar paced Licey, going 2 for 5 with a triple in Tolman's Tigres 7-0 win.
Apparently that settled things in the first round robin round of the DWL Playoffs, because all four teams took the 16th of January off and on 1/17 the Tigres del Licey and Aguilas Cibaenas were the only two teams still playing. In the 15 game(Wow?) first Playoff round, Tigres del Licey finished first at (11-6) and Aguilas was second at (10-7).
In the Liga de Beisbol Dominicano Nine Game Championship Round, Aguilas Cibaenas jumped out to an early 3-0 series lead. Ronnie Belliard was 1 for 2 in the first game for Licey, but Aguilas Cibaenas took the game 7-3 on the bat of the Cincy Red's young star Edwin Encarnacion, who was 1 for 3 with a HR and 3 RBI's.
Aguilas Cibaenas pounded the Tigres 18-3 in the second game, with the help of Encarnacion, new Houston shortstop Miguel Tejada, and 44-year-old Luis Polonia, yes, that same Luis Andrew Polonia from Santiago in the Dominican Republic, who hit for a .293 career average with the A's, Yankees, California Angels, Braves, and Tigers over twelve MLB seasons, and is still tearing it up in the Liga twenty years after his Major League Baseball debut.
Game three this past Saturday saw Aguilas Cibaenas again pound Licey's pitching with former Nationals' starter Ramon Ortiz taking the loss for the Tigres after allowing 7 hits and 4 ER's in 3.1 innings of a 12-4 drubbing that saw Ronnie Belliard go 0 for 3 with 2 K's.
Licey scored early in the fourth game of the Championship Series when Jose Offerman walked with the bases loaded for a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Ronnie Belliard singled in Willy Aybar, after Aybar had singled and stolen second, for a two-out Belliard RBI in the Licey third, and Belliard reached base on a throwing error in the seventh frame allowing Licey to score four runs late in an eventual 7-4 win.
...and THIS JUST IN...
The box score is up and the Tigres del Licey are closing the gap in the Liga de Beisbol Dominicano Championship Round matchup at 3-2 Aguilas after five games of the nine game Championship Series with a 5-1 win tonight. (1/21/07).
Luis Polonia was 4 for 4 for Aguilas Cibaenas with a double and a run scored. Belliard ends the night at .263 after going 1 for 2 and scoring a run. Free agent pitcher Bartolo Colon took the loss for Aguilas, going 4.0 IP, and allowing 3 hits and 4 runs. Ervin Santana once again got the win for Tigres del Licey, as Manager Tim Tolman keeps hope alive.
Game six is Wednesday night at Aguilas Cibaenas' home, Estadio Cibao in Santiago de los Caballeros, República Domincicana...
*Liga de Beisbol Dominicano Championship Round Links*
MLB.com's scoreboard link for all games in the Liga De Beisbol Dominicano Playoffs:
Luis Polonia's Liga stat profile at mlb.com:
Luis Polonia's career stats at baseball-reference.com:
minorleaguebaseball.com's Liga de Beisbol Dominicano Playoff Results page:
Ronnie Belliard's Tigres del Licey stats at mlb.com: