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Puerto Rico vs Dominican Republic for Caribbean Series crown

February 8, 2018

Rusney Castillo of Puerto Rico's Criollos de Caguas bats during a Caribbean Series baseball game against Venezuela's Caribes de Anzoategui in Guadalajara, Mexico, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Luis Gutierrez)

GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) — Anthony Garcia hit a grand slam and Puerto Rico rallied past Venezuela 6-5 on Wednesday to reach the championship game of the Caribbean Series for the second consecutive year.

Looking for back-to-back titles, Puerto Rico will play the Dominican Republic, which came back to beat Cuba 7-4 in the late semifinal.

The final on Thursday night features the two winningest countries in the history of the event. Puerto Rico has 16 championships and the Dominicans own 19, including their last one in 2012.

The last time Puerto Rico won two in a row was 1992-93.

Garcia’s grand slam in the sixth inning tied the game, and Jesmuel Valentin scored on an error by catcher Tomas Telis in the seventh as the Caguas Criollos went on to defeat the Anzoategui Caribes.

Venezuela was trying to qualify for its first championship game since 2009.

In the late game, the Granma Alazanes from Cuba opened a 3-0 lead in the second inning but the Aguilas Cibaeñas came from behind to win.

Cuba went ahead with RBIs from Frederich Cepeda, Carlos Benitez and Raul González. But then Ronny Rodríguez hit a two-run homer in the sixth, and Edwin Espinal knocked in two runs in a three-run seventh as the Dominicans took the lead.

The Dominicans qualified for their first final since 2014, when they lost to the Hermosillo Naranjeros.

Cuba was eliminated in the semifinals for the second year in a row.

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