Archive for the ‘Pool D’ Category

Young, Braun, and Varitek would play for USA

Even there is still one year away, some player already said they are willing to represent their country, include Michael Young, Ryan Braun and Jason Varitek, but Prince Fielder is unsure yet.

For Texas Ranger shortstop Michael Young, who played on the United States team in 2006, would like to be a part of it once more.

“Absolutely, I’d like to play again,” Young said. “It was an absolute blast. They may want to switch it up, but if the opportunity is there to play, I’d love it.”

Young, a four-time All-Star, shared playing time at second base with Chase Utley from the Phillies. Young started two games and was 4-for-15 in the Classic before it ended for the United States with a loss to Mexico in the second round.

“It was disappointing at the time because we felt like we had the best team,” Young said. “If the team gets together again, I’m sure we’d like to show what we are made of. But that shows what a great game baseball is. It’s not just 300-pound linemen pushing each other around. Everybody thought it would be the USA and the Dominican Republic in the finals, instead it was Japan and Cuba.”

“I thought it was great the last time,” Young said. “It’s always going to cut into Spring Training. You can’t make it earlier and you can’t make it later. They did a great job, I don’t know if you can do any more. The venues were good and a lot of guys are open to traveling more.

“It was a great time, a great event and a great experience. I met a lot of guys who I still keep in touch with. It was great playing Japan and seeing how good the Cubans are. It was great for the game.”

As for Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, his answer is simple.

“Yeah, for sure,” Braun said when asked if he’d be interested. “I remember watching it last time and thinking it looked like a great experience. It definitely piqued interest in baseball in a lot of different countries.

“I would be excited and honored to be asked to play.”

“If anything, it makes you get ready a little bit sooner,” the native Californian said. “I think it would be an advantage coming into the season that you’ve already played some meaningful games. Sometimes, for these [Spring Training] games, it’s harder to have the same energy, the same focus.”

However, First baseman Prince Fielder, who led the National League last season with 50 home runs, will have to think it over.

“I don’t know. That’s a good question,” Fielder said. “I guess I would have to decide when it gets closer. I’d have to think about it.”

For Boston Red Sox Catcher Jason Varitek, made a vague reference to the players who declined to participate in 2006 by encouraging any American player who is asked this time around to play, lest they miss out on a “phenomenal experience”.

Asked what his approach will be should he square off in the 2009 event with current Red Sox batterymate and 2006 WBC Most Valuable Player Daisuke Matsuzaka of Japan, Varitek has a special idea. “By the time we get to it next year, we’ll have another year together, so I’ll come up with something by then,” he said. “Right now, I’m gonna bunt. And then steal second.”

In keeping with the global theme, Varitek also noted that were it not for the World Baseball Classic, Matsuzaka, who will start for Boston in the opener here Wednesday, might not even be in Boston.

Japan, Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico to host first round

Yes, the stadium to play first round of 2009 World Baseball Classic is decided.

As in 2006, Tokyo Dome and Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico, will host first-round games. In 2009, those venues will be joined for the first time by Rogers Centre in Toronto and Foro Sol Stadium in Mexico City.

Rogers Centre is the home ballpark of the Blue Jays, and Major League Spring Training exhibition games have been played at the 27,940-seat facility in Foro Sol Stadium in Mexico City.

The 16-team field is the same as ’06, though an expansion of the field to 24 countries and territories with qualifying rounds as a preface to reach the main competition is under consideration for 2013.

Next year’s brackets are as follows:

Pool A — China, Chinese Taipei, Japan and Korea will begin play on March 5 in Tokyo Dome.

Pool B — Australia, Cuba, Mexico and South Africa, from March 8-12 in Mexico City.

Pool C — Canada, Italy, the U.S. and Venezuela, from March 8-12 in Toronto.

Pool D — Dominican Republic, the Netherlands, Panama and Puerto Rico, from March 7-11 in Puerto Rico.

Venues for the second round, plus the combined semifinals and finals are still to be determined.

The semifinals and finals were sold out at San Diego’s 45,000-seat home of the Padres in 2006. Japan vanquished Cuba, 10-6, to win the tournament and Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, who now toils for the Red Sox, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Attendance for the ’06 tournament at its seven venues was 737,112 tickets sold, a major coup considering that the Asian bracket didn’t reach the 80 percent capacity in Tokyo Dome that was originally projected.

Several important figure and host representative has talked about 2009 World Baseball Classic:

Allan H. (Bud) Selig, Major League Baseball Commissioner, said:

“The 2009 World Baseball Classic will further demonstrate the remarkable global growth of our game,” “There has been incredible demand to host the games of the second World Baseball Classic, and we are pleased to have four international destinations as our first-round venues. We are excited about the 2009 World Baseball Classic and look forward to next March.”

Don Fehr, the executive director of the Players’ Association, said:

“The best baseball players in the world are looking forward with great anticipation to playing in the 2009 World Baseball Classic,” “Implementation of double-elimination and crossover games to the World Baseball Classic next year will make the games even more intense and the tournament even more exciting for both players and fans. It will be an unforgettable experience.”

Dr. Harvey Schiller, President, International Baseball Federation (IBAF), said:

“On behalf of the entire IBAF membership, we are excited to once again participate in this important event. The cooperation between IBAF, Major League Baseball, and the Major League Baseball Players Association is at an all time high. We all look forward to this event as a prelude to our return to the Olympic program in 2016 and beyond.”

Takuo Takihana, Chairman, The Yomiuri Shimbun, remarked:

“Since The Yomiuri Shimbun hosted the first US-Japan All-Star Tour in 1931, and invited Babe Ruth to Japan in 1934, we have dedicated our soul to spread this wonderful sport of baseball throughout the world. It is our great honor to be named the host of the Round One games in Tokyo once again, following 2006. With pride, as the largest selling newspaper company in the world, with a daily circulation of 10 million copies per day, we promise you to stage a supreme baseball event.”

Carlos Hermosillo Conade, Minister of Sport of Mexico, said:

“The government of Mexico, under President Felipe Calderón, is committed to working with the businesses of our country to bring international events like the World Baseball Classic to Mexico to demonstrate our hospitality, culture and organizing capabilities. We have worked very closely with ALHÜVA Entretenimiento, represented by the enthusiastic sports promoter Alejandro Hütt, and Mexico City is very excited to be host of Round 1 games at Foro Sol Stadium. For the enormous baseball fan base in our country, it will be especially exciting to be able to see the Mexican National Team filled with MLB stars compete in Mexico for the first time ever.”

Paul Godfrey, President and CEO, Toronto Blue Jays and Rogers Centre, added:

“This is a world class event for Rogers Centre and the City of Toronto. What better place to hold the World Baseball Classic than in a city that has such a strong international reach? The raised global profile of the tournament, along with the great performance of teams from the United States, Venezuela, Italy and our own Team Canada, will make these games most exciting as fans will see their favorite players demonstrate an unprecedented level of passion and dedication to their national teams.”

Antonio Muñoz, MB Sports Chairman of the Board, said:

“Over the years, we have brought to Puerto Rico the best baseball there is, including the historic games of the inaugural World Baseball Classic. We are very proud to once again be selected to host the world’s premier international baseball tournament and expect Hiram Bithorn Stadium to be a showcase for thrilling match-ups between the Dominican Republic, the Netherlands, Panama and our home team representing Puerto Rico.”

About World Baseball Classic, Inc.
World Baseball Classic, Inc. is a company created at the direction of Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) to operate the World Baseball Classic tournament. The tournament, which is sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), is supported by MLB, the MLBPA, Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), their respective players associations and other leagues and players from around the world.

About the World Baseball Classic
The World Baseball Classic is the premier international baseball tournament, sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation, and features the best players in the world competing for their home countries and territories. In March 2006, 486 players – 235 of them from MLB organizations – representing 16 teams from across the globe competed in the inaugural event. More than 740,000 fans from 48 states and 15 countries attended games and millions more watched on TV as Team Japan was crowned the first-ever World Baseball Classic Champion. Broadcast by 48 media outlets in 10 languages to 205 countries and territories around the world, the inaugural tournament had 50 official sponsors and 21 official licensees. Media members representing 25 different nations attended the 39 games in seven host venues across three countries/territories. The next tournament will be held in March 2009 and will again feature 16 of the greatest baseball-playing nations in the world. The tournament will be held every four years thereafter, with plans in place to expand the participant field beginning in 2013.

2009 World Baseball Classic to feature same 16 teams

After further discussion, the 16-team field is set for the second World Baseball Classic, which is scheduled for March of next year. Though it is exactly the same as the inaugural edition in 2006, it may be the last time the governing bodies of the tournament restrict the competition to that few teams.

Under consideration for 2013 is an expansion of the field to 24 countries and territories with qualifying rounds as a preface to reach the main competition.

“As the level of baseball continues to rise worldwide, it is essential that the World Baseball Classic expand its field to give the growing number of formidable teams the opportunity to participate,” said Paul Archey, Major League Baseball’s senior vice president of international business operations. “In accordance with the tournament’s goal of growing and enhancing interest in the game, the Steering Committee has strongly endorsed the expansion of the competition for the 2013 event.”

But that’s down the road. Next year’s field will again feature defending title winner Japan, runner-up Cuba, the U.S., Dominican Republic, Korea, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela — all teams that qualified for the second round last time and thus received automatic berths for ’09. It was announced on Feb. 20th that Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Italy, Netherlands, Panama, and South Africa were sent invitations.

Similar to the last time selection process, the Steering Committee determined the 16 teams for the 2009 World Baseball Classic based on criteria established to create the most highly-competitive international baseball event in the world. Some of the key factors involved in team evaluation and selection included: strength of native player base, number of professional players, international rankings, viability of domestic baseball programs, participant’s impact on baseball development in country/territory and diverse global representation.

“There has been significant improvement in the level of play internationally and indeed, Major League ranks include even more players from across the world,” said Gene Orza, chief operating officer of the Players’ Association. “The 16 teams selected best represent the breadth of quality play around the globe, which meets a key tournament objective, showing the world how far baseball has come internationally. If you liked the tournament last time around, wait ’til you see her this time.”

The venues are expected to be announced next month with all four first-round competitions being played outside the U.S., which will host Round 2, the semi-finals and finals, as it did in 2006.

Toronto remains a “very strong candidate” to host one of the four groups in first-round play, a source with knowledge of the event’s planning told The Canadian Press. Canada is likely to be joined by the United States, a Latin American country and a non-traditional baseball country in the first round, with the games being held at the Rogers Centre, home of the Major League Team Toronto Blue Jays.

Attendance for the ’06 tournament at its seven venues was 737,112 tickets sold. The semi-finals and finals were sold out at San Diego’s 45,000-seat PETCO Park, undoubtedly a front-runner to host the Classic’s finale again in 2009.

It was the first time that all Major League players were allowed to represent their native lands in an international baseball tournament. The baseball competition in the Summer Olympics, which is slated for Beijing in August, includes non-25-man roster MLB players only.

“The intensity in the stands as well as the intensity on the playing field was absolutely remarkable, and I’m not sure that going into it you could have felt that,” Commissioner Bud Selig said at the time regarding the legacy of the Classic. “I’m very confident that this will be the platform we use to take this sport internationally to the dimension that I want to take it and believe that we will.”

About the World Baseball Classic Steering Committee
The World Baseball Classic Steering Committee consists of 12 members representing professional baseball leagues, Club owners, players, international baseball federations and other international organizations affiliated with the game of baseball (for a complete list of members, see below). The Steering Committee provides ongoing guidance regarding the development of the premier international baseball tournament, the World Baseball Classic. The focus of the committee is to ensure that the tournament continues to maximize its potential to develop the game of baseball worldwide.

Steering Committee Members
Major League Baseball (2)

Tim Brosnan, Executive Vice President, Business
Rob Manfred, Executive Vice President, Labor Relations

MLB Players Association (2)
Gene Orza, Chief Operating Officer
Michael Weiner, General Counsel

International BAseball Federation (2)
Harvey Schiller, President
Eduardo de Bello, Panama

Nippon Professional Baseball (1)
Kazuo Hasegawa, Executive Secretary

Japan Professional Baseball Players Association (1)
Toru Matsubara, Executive Director

Korean Baseball Organization (1)
Il-Sung Ha, Secretary General

Korean Professional Baseball Players Association (1)
Jin-kyun Na, Secretary General

Members-at-large (2)
Gyo Ishiguro, Chief Officer, Culture & Sports Projects, Yomiuri Shimbun
Roland Betts, President & Founder, Chelsea Piers, L.P.

About World Baseball Classic, Inc.
World Baseball Classic, Inc. is a company created at the direction of Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) to operate the World Baseball Classic tournament. The tournament, which is sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), is supported by MLB, the MLBPA, Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), their respective players associations and other leagues and players from around the world.

About the World Baseball Classic
The World Baseball Classic is the premier international baseball tournament and features the best players in the world competing for their home countries and territories. In March 2006, 16 teams from across the globe competed in the inaugural event, which was sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF). More than 740,000 fans from 48 states and 15 countries attended games and millions more watched on TV as Team Japan was crowned the first-ever World Baseball Classic Champion. The next tournament is scheduled for March 2009 and will be held every four years thereafter.

First eight teams of 2009 WBC decide

Yes, there will be another World Baseball Classic.

In 2009.

A joint steering committee overseeing the tournament made official on April 20th. what long has been presumed: that the second international baseball competition to include Major League players will be staged in March 2009, with dates and venues yet to be determined.

Additionally, all eight teams that advance to the second round in first World Baseball Classic — the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela — will receive the first invitations. The remaining eight will be determined and unveiled by the seven steering committee members in December 2007, but it will be a tough decision, for there are many countries interested in participating.

“We are extremely pleased with the impressive results of the 2006 World Baseball Classic and excited about the momentum and anticipation it has generated for the upcoming 2009 event,” said Bob DuPuy, MLB’s president and chief operating officer. “As international baseball continues to develop and thrive, and the supply of quality baseball nations grows, the task of selecting the 16 deserving teams has become increasingly difficult,” DuPuy said.

The eight countries that were eliminated in the inaugural first round were China, Chinese Taipei, South Africa, Canada, Australia, Panama, Italy and The Netherlands. There has been a desire from other baseball-playing countries to be included in the 16-team field, and some that so far don’t play the game. Israel, for example, is starting its first professional baseball league this summer and is seeking a berth in the next Classic.

“Numerous countries, far more than we currently can invite, are clamoring to get in,” said Gene Orza, the chief operating officer of the MLB players association and its representative to the steering committee. “Given the limitations on the size of the field that we face at this date, we want to make sure that the widespread interest in participation gets the attention it deserves.”

The first tournament was such a rousing success that the steering committee announced a dispersal of $8 million to the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), plus the baseball federations of the 16 nations and commonwealths that participated based on their finish in the tournament. The federations are expected to distribute a minimum of $3.3 million to their local baseball programs. And in addition, the IBAF will receive $1 million to continue developing the game globally.

Attendance at the seven venues was 737,112 tickets sold, the semifinals and finals were sold out at PETCO Park, undoubtedly a front runner to host the Classic’s climax again in 2009. The steering committee said it would begin taking bids for venues immediately.

Last time, the games were also hosted in San Juan, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Ariz., Anaheim and Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Japan won the initial tournament from March 3-20, 2006 with a squad featuring just two major league players by defeating Cuba 10-6 at San Diego’s PETCO Park, while Communist Cuba made it to the final with the latest generation of their amateur dynasty.

Many US major leaguers shunned the Classic in favor of pre-season workouts with club teams in advance of the April opening of the US season. Some had suggested moving the event to November, after the major league World Series, but major league baseball commissioner Bud Selig had voiced doubts about a change.

Thursday’s meeting in New York was the second for the steering committee, which is made up of officials from Major League Baseball, Nippon Professional Baseball, the IBAF, and representatives for the MLB and NPB players associations.

World Baseball Classic All-Tournament Team

Ichiro - City
Like every international tournament, World Baseball Classic has it’s own All-Tournament Team, and six of the 12 players were played in Championship game at PETCO Park.

The all-tournament team, whose name probably should be changed to all-world, honored the best of the inaugural World Baseball Classic. It was an event that drew 737,112 spectators and was covered by 5,354 media outlets.

Sixteen countries and nine languages were represented, and at seven different venues and three rounds, one champion was finally decided.

Below is the All-Tournament Team:
C Tomoya Satozaki, Japan .409, 1 HR, 5 RBI
1B Seung Yeop Lee, Korea .333, 5 HR, 10 RBI
2B Yulieski Gourriel, Cuba .303, 2 HR, 6 RBI
SS Derek Jeter, United States .450, 9 hits
3B Adrian Beltre, Dominican Republic .300, 4 HR, 9 RBI
OF Ken Griffey Jr., United States .524, 3 HR, 10 RBI
OF Jong Beom Lee, Korea .400, 6 2B, 10 hits
OF Ichiro Suzuki, Japan .364, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 4 SB
DH Yoandy Garlobo, Cuba .480, 1 HR, 4 RBI
P Yadel Marti, Cuba 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 12.2 IP, 2 SV, 11 K
P Daisuke Matsuzaka, Japan 3-0, 1.88 ERA, 10 K
P Chan Ho Park, Korea 0.00 ERA, 10 IP, 3 SV, 8 K

Mexico regenve, Japan in semifinal!

No one can expect this; Mexico’s 2-1 victory to USA let Japan to join Korea, Cuba and the Dominican Republic at San Diego’s PETCO Park for the semifinals.

Pool 1:
Mexico 2, United States 1

USA             - 000 100 000   --   1
MEXICO          - 001 010 00x   --   2

The bell tolled for Team USA on Thursday night at Angel Stadium, ending the Americans’ quest to win the championship of the inaugural World Baseball Classic. Even with Roger Clemens starting perhaps the last game of his illustrious career, one of the greatest assemblages of U.S.-born players ever bowed to archrival Mexico in the final game of the second round and was eliminated from the tournament.

Playing solely for national pride, Team Mexico got two RBIs from Jorge Cantu and a brilliant night out of its bullpen on the way to a tense 2-1 victory in the second-round finale for both teams in front of 38,264 fans at Angel Stadium. Lefty starter Oliver Perez and seven relievers held Team USA to three hits as Mexico improved to 3-3 for the tournament — and eliminated its rivals to the north from title contention while avenging a 2-0 loss in the first round in the process.

Dominican Republic in Final Four! Japan still has hope!

By defeated the Venezuela, Dominican Republic become the first team in Final Four of World Baseball Classic, and after winning against Mexico, Japan still have hope to advance.

Pool 1:
Japan 6, Mexico 1

JAPAN           - 000 410 001   --   6
MEXICO          - 000 000 010   --   1

It probably was more important than ever for Japan to get off to a good start in its World Baseball Classic game against Mexico. An early toe-stubbing could have further demoralized a team that already spent too many hours down in the dumps following a disputed loss to Team USA on Sunday. Well, a splendid effort by right-handed starter Daisuke Matsuzaka, and a four-run fourth inning, provided just the tonic Japan needed to climb back into Classic semifinals picture as it notched a 6-1 victory before 16,591 at Angel Stadium.

Mexico’s hopes of advancing to the semifinals of the inaugural World Baseball Classic were left hanging by the thinnest of threads at Angel Stadium with a loss to Japan. Team Mexico, 0-2 in pool play here, needs Korea (2-0) to beat Japan (1-1) on Wednesday. Then comes the hard part. Mexico would have to defeat the United States, 1-0, in 14 innings on Thursday to advance via the tiebreaker based on total runs allowed divided by innings played on defense.

Pool 2:
Dominican Republic 2, Venezuela 1

VENEZUELA       - 000 001 000   --   1
DOMINICAN REP   - 100 000 10x   --   2

Kelvim Escobar peered in at Albert Pujols in the bottom of the seventh inning at Hiram Bithorn Stadium, and knew that Venezuela’s fate in this World Baseball Classic was likely riding on this one exchange with perhaps the finest right-handed hitter in the world. The bases were loaded, and there were two outs in a 1-1 game.

As he unleashed a fastball on the outer half of the plate, Escobar was prepared for just about anything that came his way. Except, that is, for the ball slipping off the glove of catcher Ramon Hernandez for a costly passed ball that snapped the tie, and ultimately led to the most crushing of defeats to the Dominican Republic.

In any language, the noisy celebration and party for La Republicana Dominicana is on, and its headed to Southern California. In front of a boisterous crowd of headband-wearing, flag-waving and country-loving baseball aficionados from all over the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic edged Venezuela, 2-1, to become the first team to qualify for the World Baseball Classic semifinals in San Diego.

USA lost again, Pool 2 restarted

Believe it or not, Korea defeated USA and remains to be the only unbeaten team. As for Pool 2, all four teams has one win and one lost, need to use the last two games to decide who will be advanced to final four.

Pool 1:
Korea 7, United States 3

USA             - 001 000 002   --   3
KOREA           - 201 301 00x   --   7

The only unbeaten team in the World Baseball Classic powered its way to another victory Monday night as surprisingly adept-at-everything Korea defeated Team USA, 7-3, before 21,288 at Angel Stadium. First baseman Seung-Yeop Lee hit another home run, his fifth of the tournament, Hee-Seop Choi slugged his first — in a pinch-hit role — and the Korea pitching staff stymied the best lineup it has seen so far in the 16-team tournament as Korea improved to 2-0 in Round 2 and 5-0 overall.

For the second consecutive time in this inaugural World Baseball Classic, Team USA lost the middle of the three games in round-robin pool play to put itself in serious danger of being eliminated from the tournament. This time it was the streaking Koreans, who thumped the U.S., but this time the Americans must defeat Mexico on Thursday to stay alive, not South Africa.

Pool 2:
Dominican Republic 7, Cuba 3

DOMINICAN REP   - 004 111 000   --   7
CUBA            - 000 000 102   --   3

The California dreaming continues for the Dominican Republic. Odalis Perez was stellar on the mound, the Dominican Republic offense was explosive at the plate and if there were any remaining doubts, the scoreboard at Hiram Bithorn Stadium said it all.

The Cubans suffered another rare and disappointing loss on Monday, and afterward were not particularly interested in talking about it. A day after an inspired win over Venezuela to open Round 2 of the World Baseball Classic, Cuba could not overcome its own mistakes and dropped a 7-3 decision to the Dominican Republic.

Venezuela 6, Puerto Rico 0

VENEZUELA       - 000 020 040   --   6
PUERTO RICO     - 000 000 000   --   0

Puerto Rico starter Joel Pineiro was effective, but his effort was not enough Monday night as Puerto Rico was defeated, 6-0, by Venezuela in the second game of the second round for both clubs.

The ball was still in flight, soaring through the air of Hiram Bithorn Stadium. Victor Martinez stood there for a few seconds and watched, taking in one of the finest moments of his young career. And before the grand slam had even landed in the last row of the right-field bleachers, the entire Venezuelan team had bounced out of the dugout to make sure it was in proper position to mob him.

Wrong Call let USA Won!

If you did not know how USA won, remember, it’s Bob Davidson, not Alex Rodriguez to let USA won.

Pool 1:
United States 4, Japan 3

JAPAN           - 120 000 000   --   3
USA             - 010 002 001   --   4
Two outs when winning run scored.

There is no crying in baseball, not even in the World Baseball Classic, but Team Japan could have a shed a tear or two Sunday afternoon and no one would question its sorrow. A run Japan apparently scored in the top of the eighth inning to take a 4-3 lead over Team USA was nullified, and the run Alex Rodriguez drove in with two outs in the bottom of the ninth counted, giving the home country a 4-3 victory before 32,896 flag-waving fans at Angel Stadium.

It was a game in March that had it all. Big leads. Blown leads. A disputed call. And an Alex Rodriguez base hit up the middle with the bases loaded in the bottom of ninth that saved Team USA from panic in the second round of the World Baseball Classic. The net result was a victory over the Japanese that left them shaking their collective heads as they walked off the field late Sunday afternoon at Angel Stadium.

Korea 2, Mexico 1

MEXICO          - 001 000 000   --   1
KOREA           - 200 000 00x   --   2

Seung Yeop Lee’s bat is made of dynamite, so his swing doesn’t have to be. The explosive Korean teed off on Mexico’s Rodrigo Lopez in the bottom of the first inning, sending Korea to a 2-1 win over Mexico in the World Baseball Classic in front of 42,979 at Angel Stadium on Sunday night.

One bad pitch during one long inning led to some long faces in Team Mexico’s dugout, but Rodrigo Lopez managed a smile or two nonetheless. Lopez, who gave up a two-run homer to Seung Yeop Lee in the first inning of Mexico’s loss to Korea, said “I’d say our pitching was excellent.” But Korea’s pitchers were even better, holding Team Mexico, which scored 19 runs while winning its previous two games, to five hits without a walk while striking out nine in a tense, tidy affair.

Pool 2:
Cuba 7, Venezuela 2

CUBA            - 010 005 100   --   7
VENEZUELA       - 000 000 200   --   2

In a development that could have made only Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and Cuba’s hitters happy, Venezuela manager Luis Sojo made the tough decision of taking out ace Johan Santana after five innings and 67 pitches of mastery in Sunday’s World Baseball Classic contest at Hiram Bithorn Stadium. Sojo went to his bullpen, and the result was decidedly bad for Venezuela in what wound up as a 7-2 loss to Cuba.

Two days removed from the nation’s most embarrassing loss in 23 years, Cuba struck back with a bang. A pair of bangs, in fact. Frederich Cepeda and Ariel Pestano hit back-to-back home runs and Cuba rode a five-run sixth inning to a win over Venezuela. Cuba finished with twice as many hits as a Venezuelan lineup that consisted entirely of players from the American Major Leagues. Right-handers Yadel Marti and Pedro Lazo were the pitching heroes as Cuba asserted its place in the baseball world in front of 13,697 fans.

Puerto Rico 7, Dominican Republic 1

PUERTO RICO     - 000 103 300   --   7
DOMINICAN REP   - 010 000 000   --   1

The pitchers’ duel between the Dominican Republic’s Bartolo Colon and Puerto Rico’s Javier Vazquez lived up to expectations Sunday night. Both right-handers shined for five innings, shutting down opposing hitters and putting on a good show for the crowd. It’s what happened and what didn’t happen upon their departure that proved to be the difference. Puerto Rico rallied, the Dominican Republic fell apart, and in the end, it was the hometown team to remain unbeaten in four tournament games.

It was a very good day for underdogs on the Isle of Enchantment. Hours after Cuba scored a win over the favored Venezuelans, Jose Cruz Jr. drove in three runs and Carlos Beltran scored three more, as Puerto Rico eased past the Dominican Republic, 7-1, in front of 19,692 raucous fans at sold-out Hiram Bithorn Stadium.

USA in! USA in!

Finally, USA got the final second-round of World Baseball Classic.

Pool B:
United States 17, South Africa 0

USA             - 466 10  --  17
SOUTH AFRICA    - 000 00  --   0

It took a wakeup call from Team Canada and an offensive explosion by Mexico. But on Friday, Team USA finally helped itself. Ripping off four runs against South Africa before fans settled in their seats at Scottsdale Stadium, the U.S. secured the final second-round berth of the eight available in the inaugural World Baseball Classic with a 17-0, five-inning victory that was stopped because of the tournament’s mercy rule.

South Africa didn’t come away from its World Baseball Classic appearance with a win. But the overmatched squad, which includes several 17-year-olds, did gain the other nation’s respect as well as memories that will last a lifetime. “I’m proud of those guys. I’m proud of that country for coming over and competing and trying to get better at baseball.” Team USA’s Johnny Damon said.

Pool C:
Netherlands 10, Panama 0

NETHERLANDS     - 501 130 0  --  10
PANAMA          - 000 000 0  --   0

The Netherlands saved the best for last, closing out its World Baseball Classic experience on the highest of high notes. Shairon Martis threw a seven-inning no-hitter in the 65-pitch effort, while the Dutch offense exploded for 10 runs on 17 hits, as the Netherlands rolled to a 10-0 mercy-rule victory. The no-hitter was the first of the World Baseball Classic, as the 18-year-old right-hander stamped his name in the record books.

Panama came this close to victories against Puerto Rico and Cuba in its first two games of Pool C action in the World Baseball Classic. But Friday’s 10-0, seven-inning loss to the Netherlands just might show how far away the club really is from capturing the top prize in an international baseball competition. Martis, the Giants prospect made his professional debut for the Rookie League Arizona Giants in 2005, but looked like a seasoned veteran against Panama.

Puerto Rico 12, Cuba 2

PUERTO RICO     - 020 550 0  --  12
CUBA            - 010 000 1  --   2

The Puerto Rico-Cuba game was supposed to be the marquee matchup of the World Baseball Classic’s Pool C. Instead, the final game of the first round turned into a hometown party at Hiram Bithorn Stadium, as Puerto Rico walloped Cuba, 12-2, in a one-sided affair. The game was called after seven innings, as Puerto Rico’s 10-run lead kicked the mercy rule into effect.

The loss was the worst for Cuba since an 11-2 loss to Japan in the finals of the International Cup in 1997, and the first against a team from Puerto Rico since 1984. It was just the second time Cuba has ever been beaten by the mercy rule, the other coming in 1983 against Taiwan.

Pool D:
Dominican Republic 6, Australia 4

AUSTRALIA       - 100 001 002   --   4
DOMINICAN REP   - 031 101 00x   --   6

Having already clinched a top spot in the second round of the World Baseball Classic, the Dominican Republic still put forth a full effort on Friday in its 6-4 win over Australia in the final game of the Pool D version at the Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney.

Rebounding from the opening-game shutout loss delivered by Italy, the Australians proved this with respectable performances against much stronger competition provided by Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. There were no wins to show for the effort provided by the Australians in the inaugural WBC, but they can certainly go home proud of the way their pitchers performed against the powerful Latin nations.


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