Japan and Netherlands advance to semifinals in Los Angeles at the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
Netherlands 14, Cuba 1
The Netherlands jumped on Cuba early and often scoring multiple runs in the 1st, 3rd, and 4th inning en route to a 14-1 drubbing that ended after 7 innings due to the run rule.
The Dutch hit 4 home runs in the victory. Two of those came from slugger Wladimir Balentien who hit a 3-run shot in the first inning and a solo shot in the 3rd inning. Yurendell Decaster hit a 2-run shot in the 3rd inning, and the final shot came in the 7th from Kailan Sams.
Decaster drove in 4 runs and Jurickson Profar chipped in with 3 hits scoring 2 runs. Despite all the offense, perhaps the best performance came from starter, Diego Markwell. Markwell went 6.0 innings giving up just 1 run on 4 hits. It was his first start in the 2017 WBC after giving the Netherlands 3 solid starts in 2013.
Shairon Martis finished off the game with a scoreless inning. There wasn’t much to write home about for Cuba in the loss. Willian Saavedra was the only Cuba hitter with more than 1 hit. He went 2-for-3 with a double.
The win combined with Japan’s win over Cuba gave the Netherlands and Japan a birth in the semifinals in Los Angeles. Both teams will travel to Los Angeles and wait to see who they will play out of the pool currently playing in San Diego. The single elimination championship round will begin on Monday March 20th with the Netherlands facing the winner from Pool F. Japan will play the next day against the runner up from Pool F with the winners from both games playing for the title.
Final Pool E Standings from Tokyo:
- Japan 3-0
- Netherlands 2-1
- Israel 1-2
- Cuba 0-3
Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.