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2/4/08 Washington Nationals' Second Baseman Ronnie Belliard @ The Caribbean Series

     Saturday night in the Estadio Cibao in Santiago, Dominican Republic, Washington Nationals' second baseman, Ronnie Belliard, in his Winter gig as second baseman for the Tigres del Licey of the Liga de Beisbol Dominicano, went 2 for 4 with a HR and 4 RBI's to lead the Tigres to victory over the Venezuelan entry in the Caribbean Series, the Tigres de Aragua.

     Ronnie Belliard homered in the third inning off Aragua starter Jose Santiago, a two-run blast that scored Jose Offerman, who had singled off Santiago to start the top of the frame. In the fourth inning, Belliard came up with two on and two out and singled in two runners from second and third after a double steal had moved both Licey players into scoring position.

     While Belliard went hitless in his next two at bats, stranding four base runners, the four runs he drove in were enough for the Tigres del Licey to win their first Caribbean Series matchup, in the round robin championship play.

     The next night it was Licey against the Yaquis de Obregon, the Mexican League Champions, who featured the Marlins' Alfredo "The Amazing" Amezaga, Padres' infielder Oscar Robles and Nelson Figueroa, who, just, "Two weeks ago...," according to mlb.com's Jason Beck's article, "Note Figueroa Takes Strange Journey":

          "...was on the mound here at Estadio Cibao for the Aguilas
          Cibaenas in the Dominican League championship series,
          pitching the club to a title and earning most valuable
          player honors."

     Ronnie Belliard's sole contribution to this 11-inning, 2-1 Licey win, was a leadoff single in the top of the fifth that didn't lead to any scoring for Licey, but Tigres outfielder Jose Bautista, (IF/OF for the Pittsburgh Pirates), hit a solo shot in the second, and a sac fly in the eleventh to score the winning run for the Tigres del Licey, who finished as runners-up in the Liga de Beisbol Dominicano's Championship Series, but were invited to the Caribbean Series in lieu of the traditional Puerto Rican Winter League entry. (1)

     Monday night Belliard and the Tigres del Licey once again square off with Liga de Beisbol Dominicano rival and '08 Dominican League Champions, Aguilas Cibaeñas. Both Dominican teams took their first two games, meaning tonight's winner will take the lead in the round-robin Caribbean Series, which ends February 7th, unless a tie-breaker is necessary.

(1) -For info on Puerto Rico's Winter League's Woes...

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2978050

*Belliard Winter League Links*

mlb.com's Jason Beck's article, "Belliard leads Licey by Aragua", at mlb.com:

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080202&content_id=2362765&vkey=news_mlb&fext=. jsp&c_id=mlb

mlb.com's Jason Beck's article, "Notes: Figueroa takes strange journey", at mlb.com:

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080203&content_id=2363349&vkey=news_mlb&fext=. jsp&c_id=mlb

mlb.com's Caribbean Series coverage:

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/winterleagues/?league=cs