It’s Never Too Early in the Year to Watch a Walk-Off Home Run

Harold Castro's solo homer notched Leones del Caracas a championship

Harold Castro of Leones del Caracas reacts after hitting a home run.
Harold Castro walked it off for Leones del Caracas.

With the official start of spring training in Major League Baseball less than a month away, pro baseball in the United States is getting set to resume for the first time since the beginning of November. Elsewhere in the world, games are still being played, and some circuits are just finishing up their seasons. The Venezuelan Professional Baseball League, which just wrapped its season last night with Leones del Caracas knocking off Tiburones de La Guaira in game six of their series, falls into that category.

With the game tied 6-6 in the 11th inning and his team leading the series 3-2, Harold Castro blasted a solo home run to right field to earn his team the walk-off win and notch the 21st championship in team history for Leones del Caracas. Even better than Castro’s moonshot was his celebration and the reaction of his teammates, as the 29-year-old center fielder took his sweet time rounding the bases in front of more than 20,000 fans at Estadio Universitario in Caracas.

In the five-hour game, the two ballclubs combined for 29 hits, including five home runs, against 15 pitchers. With the win, Leones del Caracas scored the right to represent Venezuela in the 2023 Caribbean Series, which will begin on February 2.

“I failed to produce with runners on base tonight,” Castro said. “But thank God I saved it all for that final swing.” Now a member of the Rockies organization, Castro has homered just 15 times in 351 career games in MLB. A utility infielder for Colorado, Castro boasts a .284/.309/.377 lifetime slash line and will compete for playing time at spring training next month.

MLB spring training will begin on February 24 with a pair of Cactus League games before all 30 Major League clubs play in Cactus and Grapefruit League games on February 25. Pitchers and catchers participating in the World Baseball Classic this March will report on February 13. The reporting dates for those not taking part in the tournament range from the 15th to 17th. Position players in the WBC will report to camp on the 16th, while non-participating players will arrive on either the 20th or 21st. Get your Cracker Jack ready.

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