By Robiel Vega / @ robielcuba87
Ernesto Isidro Puñales is not one of the best known names in the world of baseball, but his story is closely linked to one of the great pitchers who has gone through the Major Leagues, Jose Delfin Fernandez, which he remembers every time he climbs the mound. Puñales, just as Delfín was, is a native of Villa Clara and at a very early age he left Cuba.
He shared ground with several of the great figures of his generation, such as Fernández himself, Aledmys Diaz, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Víctor Víctor Mesa, although at 11 he emigrated with his parents to the United States, after being part of Cuban teams between the ages of 9, 10 and 11 years, taking his talent to other lands, in that He used to play both as an infielder and as a pitcher.
Already in northern territory he enrolled in the Champagnat Catholic School in Hialeah Florida, the rivals of Brito Miami, for which he came to face players like Manny Machado for many years. He also went through college baseball at Western Nebraska Community College, also through the Independent Baseball League in Ohio, the Empire Pro-Baseball League and currently plays in the Puerto Rico Independent Baseball League, in the team Puerto Rico Islanders, where it has been a total of four years.
The bond of this Cuban infielder turned pitcher with José Fernández, his childhood friend and neighbor, continues to this day. In a post made on his Facebook account, he mentions his participation as part of a representative of the Puerto Rico Independent Baseball League in a cap against the Guatemalan team and shows an image of the uniform he will wear, where the number is seen. 16 on his bib, the same as made famous by Fernández in the Miami Marlins.
In the post itself label the mother of José Fernández and he tells him that he will use 16 because every time he gets on the hill he does so dedicating it to him and he knows that this number only belongs to his son.
Ernesto Isidro Puñales also has a dream that he has not fulfilled, to wear the orange flannel of his team in the National Series and he hopes to fulfill it at some point. Already for Series 60 there was an attempt to make him return, but the athlete’s personal problems made his return impossible, even so, he keeps the desire and disposition alive.
It is impressive how the example and trajectory of José Fernández remains alive in the memory and memory of those who shared with him and take him to the field every day. Let’s hope that this young 28-year-old pitcher can fulfill his dream of returning to the National Series, I am sure he will contribute a lot to the cause of the Villa Clara Leopards. That’s all for now, we’ll see you next time.
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Villa Clara pitcher who plays in Puerto Rico pays tribute to José Fernández