23 de julio de 2024

Radio 26 – Matanzas, Cuba

Emisora provincial de Matanzas, Cuba, La Radio de tu Corazón

First medal for Matanzas baseball in School Games.

The First School Games were inaugurated on August 22nd, 1963 at the old Cinódromo de Marianao, in Havana, by the leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro.


The First School Games were inaugurated on August the 22nd, 1963 at the old Cinódromo de Marianao, in Havana, by the leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro, in front of more than three thousand athletes representing the six provinces at that time, plus a selection from the Department of Scholarships.

The 60th edition of these events will be held from July 29th to July 5th, in the first phase, and from July 8th to 14th, in the second phase.

At the beginning of the Games, Matanzas ranked fifth by provinces, behind Havana, Camagüey, Becas and Oriente. Then came Las Villas and Pinar del Río. The age categories were 13-14 and 15-16 years old and the sports in competition were: athletics, baseball, basketball, gymnastics, chess, swimming, soccer and volleyball.

Of the collective sports, baseball in the under-16 age group was the highlight for Matanzas, defeating Havana and tying with them in the first position, for which they had to play an extra game.

That team, of which this writer was part of as assistant, was a selection of student-players from different schools in the city of Cardenas, winning from the base under the direction of Roberto Perez, an outstanding coach of small categories, now deceased.

That decisive game, staged in field number 1 of the Ciudad Deportiva, according to the review published in the newspaper Revolución by Juan Antonio «Bobby» Salamanca, was a great duel between the left-handed player from Matanzas, Rafael González, «Caraballo», and the right-handed player from the capital, Conrado Soria. The game ended one for zero, run driven in the fourth inning by Rodolfo Puente, later one of the best bullpen players of the revolutionary ball.

That silver medal was the first for Matanzas baseball in the School Games.

The members of that team were: Antonio de la Torre, Luis Querol Méndez, Lázaro Ruiz, Benjamín Rodríguez, Miguel Suárez, Juanito Cárdenas, Guido Torriente, Roberto Suárez, Berto Bolaños, as infielders; outfielders, Leonel Jiménez, Manuel Montalvo, Manolito Fernández, Carmelo Miranda and Antonio Nores Fernández, an internationalist fighter who died in Angola and whose name is now on the Cárdenas gymnasium.

The pitchers were Rafael González, Juan José Valentín, Emilio Merodio, Orestes Curbelo and Andrés Miranda. Director, Roberto Pérez González. Assistant, Francisco Soriano. Delegate, Roberto Torriente.

A few days before the start of the 60th version, we pay tribute to the founders of these small sports Olympics.

Nowadays, it is very difficult to find in Cuba an international medalist or a high performance athlete who has not participated during his or her childhood in the School Sports Games, an inexhaustible quarry from which the great champions emerge.

Written by Francisco Soriano Bermúdez.


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