Archive for the ‘USA’ 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.

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.

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.

USA beated by Canada.

Lots of surprise happened again. USA lost, Cuba won in the extra innings, still not sure who will advance to the second round.

Pool B:
Canada 8, United States 6

CANADA          - 113 210 000   --   8
USA             - 000 060 000   --   6

Less than 24 hours after nearly falling to an unheralded South Africa team, Canada made some serious waves in the World Baseball Classic’s Pool B by beating Team USA, 8-6, on Wednesday afternoon at Chase Field. Canada now controls its own destiny to advance to the tournament’s next round entering its Thursday meeting with Mexico.

Team USA’s road to the second round of the World Baseball Classic just got a little rougher. After Wednesday’s stunning 8-6 loss to Canada at Chase Field, there is one fact that stands alone: The United States does not control its fate.

Mexico 10, South Africa 4

SOUTH AFRICA    - 000 300 100   --   4
MEXICO          - 212 031 10x   --  10

One thing has become clear about South Africa’s entry in the World Baseball Classic. It may be a bit short on talent, but it has an excess of heart. South Africa battled hard Wednesday night, but couldn’t hold off a relentless Team Mexico offense and fell, 9-4, in a World Baseball Classic game in front of a boisterous crowd of 7,937 at Scottsdale Stadium.

After being shut out in their first World Baseball Classic game, Mexico scored at least once in six of the first seven innings. The predominately Mexico-backed crowd, wearing mostly red and green clothing, hooted, hollered and sang throughout the game, perhaps sensing that their team was putting itself right back in the thick of Pool B play in the tournament and possible trip to Anaheim this weekend for the second round.

Pool C:
Cuba 8, Panama 6

CUBA            - 002 000 202 02  --   8
PANAMA          - 010 003 002 00  --   6

Just when Team Panama appeared to have momentum on its side, Cuba showed the crowd at Hiram Bithorn Stadium why it shouldn’t be counted out of the World Baseball Classic despite its lack of established Major Leaguers. Cuba dealt Panama a crushing 8-6 loss in 11 innings on Wednesday afternoon, mounting a two-out rally to win its first game of the event.

Cuba second baseman Yulieski Gourriel and his teammates reminded the 6,129 in attendance at Hiram Bithorn Stadium and anyone who was paying attention the reason for the season — and the tournament. It’s about baseball and pride, not to mention a healthy competition between countries.

Puerto Rico 8, Netherlands 3

PUERTO RICO     - 101 102 201   --   8
NETHERLANDS     - 000 120 000   --   3

Behind three home runs from three of the country’s biggest stars, Puerto Rico powered past the Netherlands, 8-3, in front of 15,570 at Hiram Bithorn Stadium on Wednesday, and continues to inch toward securing a spot in the second round of the World Baseball Classic, also to be held in the stadium.

The Netherlands made a game of it for five innings, carrying a tie score into the sixth, but Puerto Rico came out swinging that inning and never looked back, taking victory in the nightcap of the Pool C day-night doubleheader. The Netherlands was actually the home team in the tilt, though the crowd was squarely behind Puerto Rico, which was dressed in its road grey uniforms.

Pool D:
Venezuela 6, Italy 0

ITALY           - 000 000 000   --   0
VENEZUELA       - 101 110 20x   --   6

One night after exacting the mercy rule (winning by 10 runs) on Australia, Team Italy managed just two hits against a strong Venezuela pitching staff to drop a 6-0. A capacity crowd of 10,101 at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex was firmly in the corner of the Venezuelans, whose pitching staff had few problems.

Miguel Cabrera homered for the second straight game and drove in two runs as Venezuela rebounded from a loss in its World Baseball Classic opener. Freddy Garcia struck out seven and allowed one hit in 3 1/3 innings for Venezuela, three other pitchers combined on a two-hitter and struck out 11. Carlos Silva gave up a hit in 3 2/3 innings, and Rafael Betancourt and Francisco Rodriguez each pitched a hitless inning for Venezuela.

World Baseball Classic all over begins!

David Ortiz - Hits game-winning HR, 12th inning, Game 4, 2004 ALCS ©Photofile
Pool B, C, D of the 2006 World Baseball Classic started to fight today, there are five intense games to play, the biggest suprise is Italy; who gets the help from Major Leaguers and itself, shutout the 2004 Athens Olympic Silver Winner Australia. Other winners are United States, Puerto Rico, Canada and Dominican Republic.

March 7 Result:
Pool B:
United States 2, Mexico 0

MEXICO          - 000 000 000   --   0
USA             - 000 100 10x   --   2

Jake Peavy and a parade of relievers combined on a four-hitter against a lineup loaded with major-leaguers Tuesday, leading the United States to a 2-0 victory over Mexico in its World Baseball Classic debut. Home runs by Derrek Lee and Chipper Jones were all that was necessary on offense.

“I never would have said this yesterday,” Lee said after the World Baseball Classic opener for both teams, “but today, being on the field, I think this means more. It’s like Jake Peavy said, ‘You’re not playing for your city, you’re playing for your country.’ When you have your country behind you, there’s a lot of responsibility. There’s no monetary motivation for this. Guys came to this team to play for their country. It’s as simple as that.”

Canada 11, South Africa 8

CANADA          - 000 030 404   --  11
SOUTH AFRICA    - 000 040 130   --   8

Canada narrowly avoided a startling loss in its World Baseball Classic debut, rallying for four runs in the top of the ninth inning to beat South Africa 11-8 Tuesday night.

“I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel [worried] going into the ninth inning,” Canada third baseman Corey Koskie said. “But one of the great things about baseball is I knew we had a good chance.” “Everyone was putting out to the end. We were going after it.”

Pool C:
Puerto Rico 2, Panama 1

PANAMA          - 000 100 000   --   1
PUERTO RICO     - 000 020 00x   --   2

Puerto Rico’s first game in the World Baseball Classic was a tougher test than many expected. Bernie Williams hit a tiebreaking single, Alex Rios homered and Team Puerto Rico made its WBC debut with a 2-1 victory over Panama.

I felt like I was playing the World Series in March,” Williams said. “It was a great feeling. There is something very special about playing in my country, in my hometown. People chanting my name was a very special feeling for me. I will treasure that.”

Pool D:
Dominican Republic 11, Venezuela 5

DOMINICAN REP   - 020 040 005   --  11
VENEZUELA       - 000 121 100   --   5

2005 AL Cy Young winner Bartolo Colon vs. Johan Santana, the 2004 AL Cy Young winner, but hitters took the show. David Ortiz and Adrian Beltre each homered twice, leading a powerful Dominican team to an 11-5 victory over Venezuela in their World Baseball Classic opener.

The fans were seemingly split 50-50 between their allegiances to their native countries. Equally enthusiastic, Dominican and Venezuelan fans proudly waved their respective flags and cheered loudly throughout the contest, whether it was for home runs, groundouts or fly balls.

Italy 10, Australia 0

AUSTRALIA       - 000 000 0  --   0
ITALY           - 031 122 1  --  10

Mike Piazza doubled and scored a run and Jason Grilli was almost perfect in 4 2/3 innings of work, leading Italy to a 10-0 victory over Australia in the first round of the World Baseball Classic on Tuesday night.

“This is what we talked about when we were in a group,” Italy manager Matt Galante said. “We want to show the world we can play. And how well we do, time will tell. But we feel we can compete, and if you can compete, you’ve got a chance. That’s what I keep saying.”


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