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For the second time in three years, Carolina is back at the Connie Mack World Series to represent Puerto Rico.

In 2012, Carolina head coach Marlon Colon brought the Carolina Gigantes to Farmington. The team lost both games, including a walkoff defeat against Midland.

Colon used those losses as a learning experience for his revamped Vaqueros squad this season with the hopes of winning Puerto Rico's first CMWS title since 1994.

"This is a much better team in terms of pitching and defense," Colon said through his translator. "We know from 2012 that we needed to focus on that because of the type of park Ricketts is."

The Vaqueros earned the bid this season after a 5-1 win against Escuela Deportes Carolina to cap off a soggy Puerto Rico regional that saw multiple rain delays.

None of the players on this Carolina team made the trip in 2012, but starting catcher Angel Lopez said his team is looking forward to the trip and the experience of playing in the series.

"We're pretty excited, and it took a lot of work every day to make it," said Lopez, who goes to school in Philadelphia. "We were motivated to play hard. You're going to see a lot of hustle. We have good pitchers and play seven hard innings."

Colon's experience in 2012 will be a help to the young Puerto Rico squad as he prepares the team for the tournament.

"Last time, the kids were a little nervous," Colon said. "We just need to play baseball and have fun at it."

Colon's confidence has rubbed off on his team, and Lopez said this time, Carolina will be ready.

"He told us it will be hard, but if we did it here then we can do it there," Lopez said. "We'll do our best, and I'm confident in our team."

Carolina will face Frozen Ropes in the opening game of the CMWS at 5:15 p.m. on Friday.

Joshua Perry is the sports editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and jperry@daily-times.com. Follow him @jperrysuu on Twitter.