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Justin Smoak Named Baseball World Cup MVP

ITALY – Team USA first baseman Justin Smoak (pictured) was named the Most Valuable Player at this year’s IBAF Baseball World Cup. The U.S. defeated Cuba 10-5 in Sunday’s championship game to win back-to-back World Cup titles.

Smoak, regarded as the top prospect in the Texas Rangers’ talent-laden minor league system, played a key role for an American squad that reeled off 14 consecutive wins after a tournament-opening loss to Venezuela. The sweet-swinging power hitter jacked nine home runs and tallied 22 RBIs while scoring 16 runs.

Cuba placed four players on the All-Star team, including outfielder Alfredo Despaigne who smacked a record-breaking 11 homers in 15 games. Other Big Red Machine players earning recognition were second baseman Hector Olivera, outfielder Jose Abreu, and pitcher Norge Vera.

Team USA had three All-Stars – Smoak, outfielder Jon Weber and designated hitter Terry Tiffee – while both Canada (infielder Shawn Bowman, reliever Trystan Magnuson) and the Netherlands (catcher Sidney de Jong and infielder Hainley Statia) had two representatives on the All-Tournament team.

2009 WORLD CUP AWARDS:

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Justin Smoak (USA)

BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER
Angel Sanchez (Puerto Rico)

BEST HITTER
Paco Figueroa (Spain)

MOST HOME RUNS
Alfredo Despaigne (Cuba)

MOST RBIs
Rene Reyes (Venezuela)

MOST RUNS SCORED
Rene Tosoni (Canada)

BEST PITCHER
Matt Kniginyzky (Canada)

MOST WINS
Todd Redmond (USA)

Photo courtesy of Ratti/FIBS

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