Cuban sensation Alejandro Ortega is back with the Mid-Island Brewers this year to help the team defend its SIBL title. (Submitted by Keygan Hankins)

Cuban sensation Alejandro Ortega is back with the Mid-Island Brewers this year to help the team defend its SIBL title. (Submitted by Keygan Hankins)

Duncan’s Mid-Island Brewers open exhibition with 2 wins

SIBL team looking to defend championship

Exhibition play got off to an ideal start for the defending champion Mid-Island Brewers as they won back-to-back games against South Island Baseball League opponents at Lambrick Park last Saturday.

The Brewers slayed the Giants 11-1 in the opening game, then edged the Royals 5-4.

“We are really glad to be back on the field,” Brewers manager Keygan Hankins said. “And ultimately we are just enjoying the camaraderie as a team.”

The Brewers debuted a couple of new recruits on the weekend: Gavin Goss, an 18-year-old lefthanded pitcher from the Vancouver Island University Mariners program, and Alejandro Ortega, a 24-year-old righthanded hurler from Alacranes, Cuba.

The Brewers originally encountered Ortega during a humanitarian trip as part of the Cuban Vancouver Island Journey Society, a non-profit that has partnered with the city of Unión de Reyes and its surrounding villages. Ortega actually played with the Brewers in 2019 when he spent the summer on Vancouver Island, and has returned, hoping to help the Brewers retain the SIBL title.

Another highlight for the Brewers came when Hankins made a sarcastic comment to Morley Scott after he looked foolish on the first pitch of an at bat, saying, “Maybe you should have come to batting practice last week,” only to have Scott connect for his first SIBL home run on the next pitch.

“Talk about sticking a foot in your mouth, hey?” Hankins mused.

The Brewers will play a pair of home games at Evans Park this Saturday, playing host to the Monarchs at noon and the Rockies at 3 p.m.

Baseball

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