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Mexico's new stadium to host Caribbean World Series

HERMOSILLO, Mexico -- When the Hermosillo Naranjeros host the Caribbean World Series next month, they'll be doing so in a shining new ballpark.

The construction of the Estadio Sonora, strategically located in the center of a new planned development west of the city, has been completed, local officials told on Saturday.

"We put all of our effort to finally complete the construction of this amazing facility in less than 13 months," said Vicente Sagrestano, the director of the Sports Commission for the state of Sonora.

The 16,000 seat ballpark's unique design represents the El Pinacate volcano which is about 300 miles from this state's capital. The Biosphere Reserve has an extensive history in the area as well as a cultural bond. The ballpark has a natural grass field adding more natural ecosystems to the venue.

Hermosillo, located approximately 175 miles from the United States, has a rich baseball history to consider, as Vinny Castilla, Curt Schilling, Maury Wills, Larry Walker and Fernando Valenzuela all played for the hometown Naranjeros. Home run legend Hector Espino, known in Latin America as the Mexican Babe Ruth, is among the club's greatest players.

"Every Caribbean Series in Mexico distinguishes itself because of fans and the atmosphere, and this year will be the same," said Omar Canizales, president of the Mexican Pacific League.

The Naranjeros -- already eliminated from the playoffs this year -- have won 15 Mexican Pacific League titles, the most in league history. They've won seven since 1990, including championships in 2007 and '10.

Teams from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Venezuela will join the Mexican Pacific League champion in this year's round robin tournament to be held February 1-7.

Carlos Molina is a reporter for