Tag Archive | "Cuba"

Groups Unveiled for the U12 Baseball World Cup


The World Baseball Softball Confederation announced the groups for the upcoming U12 Baseball World Cup to take place in Taiwan later this summer. Twelve teams will compete for the title that the US will defend after winning the 2013 edition of the tournament in Taiwan.

The top four nations will compete in the event with the top two, Japan and the USA, competing in the same group for the first stage.

Group A
1. Cuba (World No. 3)
2. Chinese Taipei (No. 4)
3. South Korea (No. 8)
4. Venezuela (No. 10)
5. Brazil (No. 15)
6. Russia (No. 32)

Group B
1. Japan (No. 1)
2. USA (No. 2; Defending U12 World Champions)
3. Mexico (No. 12)
4. Australia (No. 14)
5. Nicaragua (No. 16)
6. France (No. 27)

Posted in News, TournamentsComments (0)

USA Baseball to Host Cuba in Friendship Series


Press Release USA Baseball

DURHAM, N.C. — USA Baseball and the Cuban Baseball Federation announced on Wednesday that the two international baseball powers will continue their home-and-home international friendship series in the U.S. this July. 2015 will mark the fourth consecutive year the two countries have met on the baseball diamond for a five-game series. The U.S. hosted in 2013, while Cuba hosted the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team in 2012 and 2014.

Co-hosted by the Charlotte Knights and the Durham Bulls, the 2015 series will be contested entirely in the state of North Carolina. The two nations will open and close the series at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C., on July 1 and 6, while the Durham Bulls will host games on July 2 and 3 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, and the Charlotte Knights will host play on the Fourth of July at BB&T Ballpark in uptown Charlotte.

“It is a thrill to bring the Cuban National Team to North Carolina for five competitive, entertaining games in Cary, Durham and Charlotte, this summer,” said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball’s executive director/CEO. “Building on the success of the first three years of this renewed friendship series should make for an incredible experience for the players, coaches, fans and the international baseball community.”

After a 16-year hiatus, USA and Cuba resumed a yearly international friendship series on the baseball field in 2012 with the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team traveling to Havana for an intense five-game series that saw the host nation score a 3-2 series victory. In 2013 (in the U.S.) and 2014 (in Cuba), the host nations dominated play with five-game sweeps. In three years of renewed rivalry, Cuba leads the series 8-7.

“It’s exciting to be entering the fourth consecutive year of international friendship series between these two historic baseball countries,” said World Baseball Softball Confederation Ambassador, Antonio Castro. “The games in Cuba in 2014 were an incredibly positive experience for the players and fans, and we look forward to the same kind of atmosphere this year in the United States.”

The USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C., which opened in 2007, has been a friendly home to the Collegiate National Team program. The Collegiate National Team sports a 16-1-1 all-time record at the NTC, including a 3-2 victory in its only previous match up against Cuba in Cary.

The Durham Bulls Athletic Park has also been good to the Collegiate National Team. Since opening in 1995, and becoming an unofficial yearly home to the team in 2003, the Collegiate National Team has posted a 44-7 record in 51 contests there. The Collegiate National Team and Cuba have met once before at the DBAP, with Team USA winning the final game of the 2013 series, 5-3, in front of a joyous hometown crowd.

July 4, 2015 will mark the first game USA Baseball has played in the Charlotte Knights new home, BB&T Ballpark. Opened prior to the 2014 season, the Collegiate National Team was scheduled to play the Chinese Taipei National Team in the ballpark last July, but inclement weather forced a postponement and the game was ultimately made up in Durham. USA and Cuba did meet at the Knight’s previous home, Knights Stadium in Fort Mill, S.C., in August of 1988, with the Red, White and Blue winning both contests.

Since USA Baseball began keeping official records following the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, the Collegiate National Team is 35-65 in 100 meetings with the Cuban National Team; however, Team USA holds a 22-20 advantage in games hosted in the U.S., most recently winning all five games of the 2013 international friendship series.

The 2015 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team will be managed by St. John’s University skipper, Ed Blankmeyer. The remainder of the coaching staff and players invited to the Collegiate National Team and Collegiate National Team Training Camp will be announced throughout the spring.

For more information on the Collegiate National Team, please visit USABaseball.com.

Posted in College, Latin, N. AmericaComments (0)

Cuba Wins First Caribbean Series Title Since 1960


Cuba used a great start from Yosvani Torres and a home run from Yulieski Gourriel (2-for-4) to pull of an upset once again and claim the 2015 Caribbean Series title defeating Mexico 3-2.

Torres pitched a solid six innings giving up just one run while striking out five. Hector Mendoza pitched the final four outs to pick up the save.

Frederich Cepeda (2-for-4) had a two-out RBI single, and Gourriel hit a solo home run in the eighth to lead Cuba to the championship.

Down 3-1 Mexico looked to claim its third straight title. In the bottom of the eighth Eric Farris (1-for-4) had a two-out RBI single to make it a one run game.

Cuba’s Cepeda was named the tournament MVP after going 6-for-8 in the final two games driving in six runs.

This is the eighth time Cuba has won the tournament. It won seven times from 1949-1960 and only returned back to the tournament last year.

Full Box Score

Posted in Latin, TournamentsComments (0)

Caribbean Series: Mexico and Cuba Advance to Final


The final of the 2015 Caribbean Series is set and the team that went 4-0 in the round robin didn’t make it, but the team that went 1-3 did.

Mexico was the first team to punch their ticket to the final with a 5-4 win over the Dominican Republic. It was a close game with the Dominican having the tying run at third base with just one out in the bottom of the ninth, but they were unable to tie it up.

Mexico jumped out to a 4-0 lead after scoring three runs in the second and adding one more in the third. With a throwing error by Dominican third baseman Hector Gomez, Mexico would score three unearned runs in the second. An inning later Mexico would get one more after Joey Meneses (1-for-3) singled with two outs. He moved to second on a wild pitch and then scored on a Russell Branyan (1-for-2) RBI single.

After adding a fifth unanswered run, the Dominican Republic finally fought back and fight back they did. In the sixth inning the Dominican finally got on the board with a pair of runs to make it 5-2. In a turn of fate, Hector Gomez reached on a throwing error with two outs allowing Yefri Perez (1-for-2) to score the first run. Gomez wound up at third after the error and would score one hitter later on a Elian Herrera (1-for-4) RBI single.

The Dominican would add a single run in the eighth and ninth but come up short as Mexico avenged their 3-2 loss on Thursday to advance to the finals on Sunday. Terance Marin picked up the win tossing six innings allowing just two unearned runs. Jay Jackson picked up the save.

Full Box Score

In perhaps the biggest surprise of the tournament, previously undefeated Venezuela fell to Cuba. Venezuela jumped out to a 4-0 lead with a run in the third and three runs in the fourth. A couple of walks and a RBI single from Ehire Adrianza (1-for-5) to take a 1-0 lead. With three more in the fourth it looked like Venezuela would stay undefeated.

Then the sixth inning came. Cuba would get three runs to get itself back in the game. Yulieski Gourriel (2-for-5) singled followed by a single from Alfredo Despaigne (1-for-5). Two batters later Frederich Cepeda (4-for-5) tripled in both Gourriel and Despaigne and would score himself on a throwing error making it 4-3.

Cuba would explode for five more runs in the seventh inning. Cepeda was there once again with the big hit. He would clear the bases driving in three with a one out double.

Norge Ruiz picked up the win with 4.1 innings of relief. He allowed five hits and no runs. Amalio Diaz took the loss going just a third of an inning in relief.

The win puts Cuba in the final against Mexico at 6:30 pm on Sunday.

Full Box Score

2015 Caribbean Series Schedule

Monday February 2nd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Mexico 2
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 2 Venezuela 5

Tuesday February 3rd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Dominican Republic 6
6:30 pm Mexico 3, Puerto Rico 2

Wednesday February 4th
12:05 pm Dominican Republic 5, Venezuela 6
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 2, Cuba 3

Thursday February 5th
12:05 pm Venezuela 6, Cuba 2
6:30 pm Mexico 2, Dominican Republic 3

Friday February 6th
12:05 pm Mexico 2, Venezuela 4
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 3, Dominican Republic 2

Saturday February 7th
12:05 pm Mexico 5, Dominican Republic 4
6:30 pm Cuba 8, Venezuela 4

Sunday February 8th
6:30 pm Cuba vs. Mexico

Posted in Latin, TournamentsComments (0)

Caribbean Series: Puerto Picks Up Walk Off Win; Semifinals Set


The round robin portion of the 2015 Caribbean Series is finished and the semifinals start tomorrow. In the last day of round robin games, Venezuela finished off Mexico 4-2 to finish with a perfect 4-0 record. They will have the #1 seed in the semifinals and play Cuba on Saturday.

The game was a good one. Mexico took a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Rico Noel (1-for-3) led off the game with a single to center field, then stole second. Then with one out, Eric Farris (2-for-3) singled to drive in Neol and put Mexico up quickly.

That was all Mexico would get off Venezuela starter Junior Guerra who tossed five innings. Guerra allowed only three hits while striking out seven. However once Guerra was pulled Mexico struck again. Once again Farris was in the middle of things. Farris led off the sixth inning with a single and soon Mexico had the bases loaded with no outs. Carlos Silva, who didn’t get an out, was pulled in favor of Jean Toledo. Toledo quickly gave up a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0 Mexico. But Toledo settled down and got a double play ground ball to limit the damage.

Venezuela quickly struck back to tie the game at 2-2. Orlando Arcia singled to start off the bottom half of the inning and would come around a batter later on a Alexi Amarista (1-for-3) RBI double. Two batters later Felix Perez (1-for-3) doubled in Amarista to tie the game.

The game would stay tied until the bottom of the eighth when Venezuela would again plate two runs. This time the big blow came with two outs on a two-run home run by Oswaldo Arcia (1-for-3). The Arcia home run came off of Mexico reliever Manny Barreda who took the loss. Amalio Diaz picked up the win with 0.2 innings of relief work. Hassan Pena finished off the game picking up the save with a scoreless ninth.

Full Box Score

In the final game of the round robin, host Puerto Rico finally got on the board with a walk-off win over Dominican Republic. It was a back-and-forth game with Puerto Rico jumping out on top early with a run in the bottom of the third inning on an Enrique Hernandez (1-for-4) RBI single.

The Dominican Republic came back to tie the game in the top of the fifth on a solo home run by Maikel Franco (2-for-4). Franco would drive in both of the Dominican’s runs in the game.

The tie was not long lived though as Puerto Rico came right back in the bottom half of the inning to take a 2-1 lead on a Reymond Fuentes (1-for-4) RBI single. Luis Figueroa (2-for-3) led off the inning with a single and was sacrificed to second before Fuentes gave them the lead.

The game would stay 2-1 until the top of the ninth when the Dominican came back once again to tie the game. After the first two batters struck out, Elian Herrera (1-for-3) doubled, advanced to third on a balk, and scored on a Franco RBI single.

Some excitement for the hometown team came in the bottom of the ninth. With one out, A.J. Jiminez walked and was pinch run for by “Ozzie” Osvaldo Martinez. Then on a 0-2 count, Daniel Ortiz (1-for-4) tripled to left field scoring Martinez from first giving Puerto Rico a walk-off win in front of the home crowd.

Tony Pena Jr. took the loss giving up the run in the bottom of the ninth. Fernando Cabrera gave up the tying run in the top of the ninth blowing the save, but earned the win courtesy of Ortiz’s RBI triple.

Full Box Score

2015 Caribbean Series Schedule

Monday February 2nd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Mexico 2
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 2 Venezuela 5

Tuesday February 3rd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Dominican Republic 6
6:30 pm Mexico 3, Puerto Rico 2

Wednesday February 4th
12:05 pm Dominican Republic 5, Venezuela 6
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 2, Cuba 3

Thursday February 5th
12:05 pm Venezuela 6, Cuba 2
6:30 pm Mexico 2, Dominican Republic 3

Friday February 6th
12:05 pm Mexico 2, Venezuela 4
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 3, Dominican Republic 2

Saturday February 7th
12:05 pm Mexico vs. Dominican Republic
6:30 pm Cuba vs. Venezuela

Sunday February 8th
6:30 pm TBD

2015 Caribbean Series Standings:

1. Venezuela 4-0
2. Dominican Republic 2-2
3. Mexico 2-2
4. Cuba 1-3
5. Puerto Rico 1-3

Posted in Latin, TournamentsComments (0)

Caribbean Series: Dominican Republic with Walks Off Win, Helps Cuba Advance


There is just one day left in the 2015 Caribbean Series first round. Venezuela is on to the next round after starting off 3-0. Venezuela kicked off day four of the tournament with a 6-2 win over Cuba. Cuba was aided by a later win in the day from the Dominican Republic helping them to advance and sending host Puerto Rico home.

Venezuela used a four run third inning to put the game out of reach and a strong outing from Cesar Valdez. Valdez went seven strong innings giving up two runs on seven hits while striking out eight. Both runs came on solo home runs.

Alexander Malleta (2-for-4) homered in the second inning to put Cuba on the board. Luis Valdes (1-for-4) also homered in the seventh. Yoanni Yera took the loss tossing just 2.1 innings allowing four runs on six hits.

Balbino Fuenmayor (3-for-4) homered and drove in a pair of runs to lead Venezuela’s offensive attack. Gorkys Hernandez (2-for-5) tripled and scored a run from the lead off spot, while Jose Gil (2-for-4) scored twice.

Full Box Score

In Game 2 of the day, the Dominican Republic picked up a 3-2 win over Mexico. With the win, Cuba advanced to the semifinals and Puerto Rico’s run was ended.

Mexico held the lead for almost the entire game. Jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the third, Amilcar Gaxiola pitched five shutout innings. Two more pitchers came in in relief to hold the Dominican Republic scoreless for another two innings. The Dominican did not get on the board until the eighth an inning after Mexico made it 2-0.

Down 2-0, the Dominican loaded the bases with no outs but could only scratch one run across the board. And it came on a wild pitch by Jesus Castillo. They would walk off in the ninth inning on a Elian Herrera (2-for-5) RBI single scoring Leury Garcia (2-for-5).

Josh Lueke picked up the win in relief for the Dominican. While Oscar Villarreal took the loss giving up two runs on three hits in just 0.2 innings.

Full Box Score

2015 Caribbean Series Schedule

Monday February 2nd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Mexico 2
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 2 Venezuela 5

Tuesday February 3rd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Dominican Republic 6
6:30 pm Mexico 3, Puerto Rico 2

Wednesday February 4th
12:05 pm Dominican Republic 5, Venezuela 6
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 2, Cuba 3

Thursday February 5th
12:05 pm Venezuela 6, Cuba 2
6:30 pm Mexico 2, Dominican Republic 3

Friday February 6th
12:05 pm Mexico vs. Venezuela
6:30 pm Puerto Rico vs. Dominican Republic

Saturday February 7th
12:05 pm TBD
6:30 pm TBD

Sunday February 8th
6:30 pm TBD

2015 Caribbean Series Standings:

1. Venezuela 3-0
2. Dominican Republic 2-1
3. Mexico 2-1
4. Cuba 1-3
5. Puerto Rico 0-3

Posted in Latin, TournamentsComments (1)

Caribbean Series: Day Two Recap


Day 2 of the 2015 Caribbean Series is in the books with Mexico winning again and Cuba falling into a deep hole by losing its second straight game.

The first game of the day saw the Dominican Republic in its first action of the tournament downing Cuba 6-1. The game was close until the Dominican broke it open in the sixth inning.

The big blow for the Dominican came in the sixth inning when Willy Garcia (AA PIT) hit a two-run home run off of Cuban reliever Jonder Martinez. Garcia would finish the game 3-for-4. Leury Garcia (CHW) chipped in with three hits as well going 3-for-5.

Rafael Perez pitched well for the Dominican going 5.1 scoreless innings allowing just six hits. Five relievers finished off the game holding Cuba to just one run.

Norge Ruiz took the loss for Cuba. Offensively Yulieski Gourriel (NPB Yokohama) had another good game going 2-for-4. Luis La O went 3-for-3 and Dainer Moreir drove in the only run going 2-for-4.

Full Box Score

Game 2 of the day was a good one. A back-and-forth affair with Mexico pulling out the 3-2 win over host Puerto Rico. Mexico took the lead for good in the bottom of the seventh inning just after Enrique Hernandez (MIA) tied up the game with a solo home run in the sixth.

Mexico starter Francisco Campos did not last long going only 1.2 innings giving up four hits and one run before being pulled. Juan Delgadillo picked up the win tossing four innings in relief. He gave up just one run on two hits. Oscar Villarreal picked up the save with a scoreless ninth.

Full Box Score

2015 Caribbean Series Schedule

Monday February 2nd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Mexico 2
6:30 pm Puerto Rico 2 Venezuela 5

Tuesday February 3rd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Dominican Republic 6
6:30 pm Mexico 3, Puerto Rico 2

Wednesday February 4th
12:05 pm Dominican Republic vs. Venezuela
6:30 pm Puerto Rico vs. Cuba

Thursday February 5th
12:05 pm Venezuela vs. Cuba
6:30 pm Mexico vs. Dominican Republic

Friday February 6th
12:05 pm Mexico vs. Venezuela
6:30 pm Puerto Rico vs. Dominican Republic

Saturday February 7th
12:05 pm TBD
6:30 pm TBD

Sunday February 8th
6:30 pm TBD

2015 Caribbean Series Standings:

1. Mexico 2-0
2. Venezuela 1-0
3. Dominican Republic 1-0
4. Puerto Rico 0-2
5. Cuba 0-2

Posted in Latin, TournamentsComments (0)

Japan: Yulieski Gourriel will return to Yokohama in 2015


Ben Badler of Baseball America has announced that Cuban star Yulieski Gourriel will return to Japan to play for the 2015 season. He will return to the Yokohama DeNA BayStars where he will play along side his younger brother Lourdes Gourriel.

Yulieski Gourriel is currently playing for the Vegueros de Pinar del Rio in the 2014 Caribbean Series. Gourriel and Pinar del Rio lost today in the first game of the tournament 2-1 to Mexico.

Gourriel joined the BayStars in the middle of last season in Japan and put up great numbers. In just 62 games he hit .305 with 11 home runs and 73 hits including 22 doubles.

You can read the full BA article here:

Yulieski, Lourdes Gourriel To Play In Japan

 

Posted in AsiaComments (0)

Caribbean Series: Mexico Takes Game One Over Cuba


Game 1 of the 2015 Caribbean Series is in the books with Mexico taking a 2-1 win over Cuba. The round robin round will go through Friday February 6th. The last place team will be dropped and the top four go onto the semifinal round.

Anthony Vasquez got the start for Mexico. The lefty, who spent time in Baltimore’s minor leagues with Norfolk and Bowie, went five solid innings giving up just one run on five hits. He did not factor into the decision but pitched well for Mexico. Terance Marin (W, 1-0/AA CHW) picked up the win in relief. Marin went 2.2 scoreless innings in relief allowing just one hit. Oscar Villarreal picked up the save finishing off the final two outs of the game.

Freddy Alvarez started and pitched well for Cuba. He went six solid innings giving up just one run on two hits. Jonder Martinez (L, 0-1) took the loss going just a third of an innings giving up a walk and a run. Yulieski Gourriel scored the only run for Cuba after walking, stealing second, and coming home on a Frederich Cepeda single.

Mexico only managed three hits but scratched out two runs. Rico Noel (AAA SDP) doubled and scored a run. Walter Ibarra (AAA LAD) came in with a pinch-hit RBI single to give Mexico the go ahead run.

Full Box Score

Monday February 2nd
12:05 pm Cuba 1, Mexico 2
6:30 pm Puerto Rico vs Venezuela

Tuesday February 3rd
12:05 pm Venezuela vs. Dominican Republic
6:30 pm Mexico vs. Puerto Rico

Wednesday February 4th
12:05 pm Dominican Republic vs. Mexico
6:30 pm Puerto Rico vs. Cuba

Thursday February 5th
12:05 pm Venezuela vs. Mexico
6:30 pm Cuba vs. Dominican Republic

Friday February 6th
12:05 pm Cuba vs. Venezuela
6:30 pm Puerto Rico vs. Dominican Republic

Saturday February 7th
12:05 pm TBD
6:30 pm TBD

Sunday February 8th
6:30 pm TBD

2015 Caribbean Series Standings:

1. Mexico 1-0
2. Puerto Rico
3. Venezuela
4. Dominican Republic
5. Cuba 0-1

Posted in Latin, TournamentsComments (0)

Teams Set for 2015 Caribbean Series in San Juan, Puerto Rico


The 2015 Caribbean Series will begin in just a few short days in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The series will be held at Hiram Bithorn Stadium which may be familiar to many of you since the Montreal Expos played part of their home games there in 2003 and 2004 before moving to Washington D.C. It has also hosted many other events including parts of the World Baseball Classic and a regular season series between the New York Mets and Florida Marlins in 2010.

The tournament will follow the format with two phases. The first phase will last from February 2-6 and consist of a single round-robin competition. The standings will then be decided after this round and the fifth placed team will be eliminated. The top four will continue on to play a semifinal and final round the following two days.

The field is set and ready to go. Here are the teams that will be participating in this years Caribbean Series.

Mexico – Tomateros de Culiacan – Culiacan has not been here for eleven years but they return after defeating the Charros de Jalisco in the championship. They are looking for their third Series championship having won in 2002 and 1996.

Dominican Republic – Gigantes del Cibao – This is their first Dominican championship having finished as runner-ups three separate times. They look to bring the title back to the Dominican after a two year absence.

Cuba – Vegueros de Pinar del Rio – The Vegueros won the Cuban National Series 53 last year. The league runs too long for the current champion to participate in the Caribbean Series, so last year’s winner competes. This was their fourth Cuban championship.

Puerto Rico – Cangrejeros de Santurce – The Cangrejeros will host the tournament in their home park after winning their thirteenth championship. They have won five Caribbean Series titles including the last for their country in 2000.

Venezuela – Caribes de Anzoategui – The Caribes swept through the LVBP winning every phase to earn a trip back to the Caribbean Series where they last competed in 2011. They are looking for their first Caribbean Series championship and the first for Venezuela since 2009.

Posted in Latin, News, TournamentsComments (0)

Cuba Wins 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games


VERACRUZ, Mexico – Cuba, No. 3 in the world, defeated No. 18 Nicaragua 9-3 in the championship of the Central American and Caribbean Games (CACG) to regain its title. It was Cuba’s 15th title in 18 attempts at the CACG.

New reforms in Cuba allowed several players return after playing professionally in Japan. Three national team players, Alfredo Despaigne, Frederich Cepeda and Yulieski Gourriel, returned after the end of the NPB season to play for Cuba and help lead them to the title. The players were given special permission to play in Japan if they returned to the national team after the end of the season in Japan.

Defending CACG champions the Dominican Republic finished off Puerto Rico 8-1 in the bronze medal game.

Mexico got a much needed 5th place which vaults them to 12th in the final international world rankings of the year. This allows them to play in the inaugural Premier 12 Pro Baseball World Championships in 2015. The new tournament will be hosted by Chinese Taipei next November.

FINAL STANDINGS 

1. Cuba
2. Nicaragua
3. Dominican Republic
4. Puerto Rico
5. Mexico
6. Venezuela
7. Panama
8. Guatemala

Posted in Latin, TournamentsComments (0)

New Baseball World Rankings – USA Ends Cuba’s Four Year Reign


USA Baseball has ended Cuba’s 4-year reign at the top of the World Baseball Rankings after a productive year in 2013.

The International Baseball Federation has used the World Baseball Ranking system since 2009, and each year Cuba has been at the top.

Team USA had a disappointing second round exit at the World Baseball Classic, but then picked up gold medals at the 12U Baseball World Cup and the 18U Baseball World Cup. Also giving Team USA points this summer was its “Friendship” series with Cuba where the USA’s National Collegiate Team won all five games.

Also jumping up in the standings was Japan who went from the third ranked country to the second also surpassing Cuba in the process. In the big tournaments of the year, Japan placed third at the World Baseball Classic, second at the 18U World Baseball Cup, and third again at the 12U Baseball World Cup.

The Dominican Republic made one of the bigger jumps in the standings after its win at the World Baseball Classic going from 13th a year ago to 5th.

The Netherlands remain the top European country in the standings as they swapped places with Canada moving up to 6th place.

The Americas continue to be the strongest in the polls collecting eleven of the top twenty spots. Asia and Europe combined take up 40% of the top twenty with both continents placing four teams. The last top twenty team comes from Oceania with Australia coming in at 14th.

Africa’s top representative is South Africa in at number 31.

Men’s Baseball World Rankings Top 10:

1. USA
2. Japan
3. Cuba
4. Chinese Taipei
5. Dominican Republic
6. Netherlands
7. Canada
8. South Korea
9. Puerto Rico
10. Venezuela

Complete World Rankings

Posted in Asia, Europe, Latin, N. America, News, OceaniaComments (0)

Cuban Slugger Jose Abreu Defects


According to the el Nuevo Herald, Jose Abreu has left Cuba and is reportedly in another Caribbean nation in order to defect to the USA. Ben Badler at Baseball America has also confirmed the story.

Abreu is one of the stars from Cuba. He tied for the lead in home runs in the 2013 World Baseball Classic hitting .360/.385/.760.

He is looking to follow in the footsteps of recent defectors Yoenis Cespedes, Yasiel Puig, and Aroldis Champman. Puig defected in 2012 and signed a 7-year, $42 million contract and has become a sensation since being called up by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Abreu is a power-hitting first baseman. At the age of only 26, he stands to land a huge contract once he has established residency in another country. It will be a few months before he is able to sign with a team, but look for a team to make a splash in the off season with Abreu.

At 6’3″ and 250 lbs, Abreu is an imposing figure at the plate. He has tremendous power to all fields and has proven himself not only in Cuba, but on the international stage as well.

The lack of first base free agents in the market this upcoming off season will really help Abreu’s value on the open market.

He is the second player to defect this summer. In early July, 26-year old pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne defected while on the way to the Netherlands for the World Port Tournament.

Posted in Latin, NewsComments (0)

MLB Says No to Cuba in Caribbean Series


In mid-June Cuba said it would rejoin the Caribbean Series after a 53-year absence. However, that may now be in jeopardy thanks to Major League Baseball.

A Major League Baseball official told the organizers of the Caribbean Series that it would not cooperate with the 2014 tournament if Cuba is allowed to play.

Consent from MLB is crucial since many of the players that play for the teams are under contract to MLB clubs. But the Baseball Confederation of the Caribbean is working on obtaining a license from the US Government to allow a Cuban team in the 2014 tournament scheduled for February 1-7 in Venezuela.

In the early years of the tournament, Cuba was dominant. It won seven titles from 1949-1960. Then Fidel Castro took over, and he dissolved professional baseball canceling the 1961 tournament. After a nine year absence, the tournament restarted in 1970 without Cuba. That is how it has been ever since.

So earlier this year when it was announced that Cuba would rejoin the Series, there were many people who were very excited. Now that all may be in jeopardy because of two governments that can’t get along.

Another hitch in the plan is the plan for the Caribbean Series to return to the United States in another four years or so. The Series has been in talks with the Miami Marlins about the possibility of using their stadium to return to the area where the tournament was played as recent as 1991.

Adding to the confusion is the fact that Cuba participates in the World Baseball Classic, which partly takes place in the USA. So many are asking why MLB would try to ban a team from Cuba from playing in the Caribbean Series when it is allowed in the WBC.

It was announced on MLB’s official website on June 11 that Cuba would be joining the Series. Just over a month later, MLB sent out an ultimatum to the Confederation.

According to Diario Libre, which obtained a copy of the letter dated July 15, MLB Vice President of Operations Kim Ng wrote to Puello that MLB would grant the Confederation 24 hours to retract its agreement with Cuba. Otherwise, MLB will decline to sign its annual Caribbean Series agreement with the Confederation. U.S. sanctions, Ng said in the letter, require MLB to apply for licenses, and there is not enough time to do so before the tournament.¹

It appears that the Confederation has until August 15 to rescind the invitation to Cuba. If they fail to do so by that day, MLB will be unable to sign the annual agreement for the 2014 tournament.

¹ Cuba Standard (2013-08-07) “MLB threatens to pull plug on Caribbean Series over Cuba

Posted in Latin, MLB, N. America, NewsComments (0)

USA Collegiate National Team Completes Sweep of Cuba


The USA Collegiate National Team finished up its summer schedule with a 5-3 win over Cuba. The win gave the USA a historic sweep and helped it finish with a 20-3 record.

Carlos Rodon (North Carolina State) got the start and was virtually untouchable. He tossed 6.2 innings of scoreless ball giving up just two hits. He struck out eleven en route to his third win of the summer.

The middle relief struggled a bit for Team USA giving up three runs in the eighth inning, but Ryan Burr (Arizona State) was able to come in an shut down the Cuban bats in the ninth to pick up his sixth save.

The big blow for Cuba to get back in the game came off the bat of Lazaro Herrera who came on to hit a pinch-hit three-run home run off of Chris Diaz (Miami, Fla.).

Team USA got on the board in the bottom of the first inning. After working a walk and then stealing second, Kyle Schwarber (Indiana) scored on a Michael Conforto (Oregon State) double.

Trea Turner (North Carolina State) got the offense going again in the fifth inning. After working a walk and quickly stealing second, he moved to third base on a wild pitch. Alex Bregman (LSU) wasted no time in bringing him in by hitting a sacrifice fly to center field to give Team USA a 2-0 lead.

Errors would be Cuba’s downfall as the game progressed. They gave up three unearned runs over the sixth and seventh innings.

Team USA finished the summer going 13-0 in exhibition games and 7-3 in international play.

Posted in College, N. AmericaComments (0)

Cuba Claims 2013 World Port Title with Win Over the Netherlands


The 2013 World Port Tournament finished up earlier today with the championship match between the world’s #1 ranked Cuba against the host Netherlands.

The two teams split their first two matches with the Dutch winning the first game 7-0 but falling in the second game 4-0. Heading into the final day of the round robin play on Saturday, three teams were sitting at 3-2 in Cuba, Netherlands, and Chinese Taipei.

Cuba defeated Curacao 11-0 to finish at 4-2 and earn a spot in the championship. Then it came down to the winner of the Netherlands and Chinese Taipei to see who would face Cuba.

The Dutch got a great performance out of Diegomar Markwell who tossed 8.2 innings of shutout ball to pitch the Netherlands into the championship game.

So it was all set. Cuba against the Netherlands for the 2013 World Port Tournament Championship.

Cuba 4, Netherlands 0

Wilber Perez was outstanding on the hill for Cuba. He pitched 5.1 innings allowing just two hits to earn the win. Rasiel Iglesias came on to finish off the game and earn the save. Iglesias tossed 3.2 innings allowing just one hit and striking out four.

The Dutch bats were silenced by Cuba’s arms, but the Cuban bats showed up. Rob Cordemans didn’t pitch bad, but he got no support. He allowed four runs, just two earned, in 7.2 innings.

Alexander Malleta had a great day at the plate for Cuba. He went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two RBI. Andy Ibanez chipped in with three singles, which was equal to what the entire Dutch team had, going 3-for-5. Jose Miguel Fernandez and Yadiel Hernandez both scored a run and went 2-for-4.

As a team Cuba led the tournament in every major category. They had the best ERA (1.73), team batting average (.276), and fielding percentage (.991) committing only two errors.

It was the ninth gold medal for Cuba, and thirteenth overall. The Dutch earned its eleventh medal and sixth silver.

Photo Courtesy WorldPortTournament.nl

Posted in Europe, TournamentsComments (0)

WPT: Cuba and Chinese Taipei Pick Up Wins on Day Four; Lead Tournament


Back to a full slate of games on Wednesday as all teams played at the 2013 World Port Tournament, the defending champion Chinese Taipei faced off with Curacao who was coming off its first win. The later game was a rematch between host Netherlands and the #1 world ranked Cuba.

Game 1 of the day saw a great pitching performance from Chinese Taipei’s Yank Jhih-long who tossed seven innings to earn the win. Over those seven innings he gave up just one run on three hits while striking out eight. Chen Yu-hsun came on to pick up his second save of the tournament pitching the final inning and a third.

Curacao starter Sherwenne Antersijn didn’t pitch bad, but didn’t pitch great. He tossed 6.1 innings giving up three runs on six hits taking the loss.

Neither team did too much offensively. Chinese Taipei took advantage of a late inning error to take on two unearned runs. Kuo Ming-jen had a nice day at the plate for Chinese Taipei. The shortstop went 2-for-4 in the game, scored a run, and drove in another.

Johannes Gregorius went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI for Curacao who fell to 1-3.

Game 2 featured Cuba and the Netherlands. The Dutch had defeated Cuba the first go around 7-0, but this time Cuba would get its revenge. It got a great start from Wilber Perez who shut down the Dutch offense for 7.1 innings. He allowed just four hits, walked six, and struck out seven as Cuba went on to win 4-0.

Rasiel Iglesias pitched the final 1.2 innings to earn the save.

It was a closer game than the score indicates. It was scoreless for the first seven innings as neither side could get to the opposing team’s starter until Cuba got two runs in the top of the eighth.

Dutch stater Orlando Yntema was touched up for a pair of runs in the eighth. After cruising through seven innings, Yntema walked the lead off hitter. After a sacrifice moved the runner to second base, Yadeil Hernandez came on as a pinch-hitter. On a 2-2 pitch, Hernandez hit a single up the middle to put Cuba on the board with a RBI single.

Yntema would be relieved but his relief, Leon Boyd, would immediately give up a double driving home Hernandez. That left Yntema with a line of 7.1 IP/5 H/ 2 R and the loss.

Cuba would take on some insurance runs in the top of the ninth on a Eriel Sanchez two-run single.

2013 World Port Tournament Schedule:

Sunday June 30
Cuba 3, Curacao 0
Netherlands 7, Chinese Taipei 2

Monday July 1
Chinese Taipei 4, Curacao 2
Cuba 0, Netherlands 7

Tuesday July 2
Curacao 3, Netherlands 2 (10)

Wednesday July 3
Curacao 5, Chinese Taipei 2
Netherlands 0, Cuba 4

Thursday July 4
19:30 Cuba vs Chinese Taipei

Friday July 5
14:00 Chinese Taipei vs Cuba
19:30 Netherlands vs Curacao

Saturday July 6
14:00 Curacao vs Cuba
19:30 Chinese Taipei vs Netherlands

Sunday July 7
14:00 Championship Game

2013 World Port Tournament Standings

1. Cuba 2-1
1. Chinese Taipei 2-1
3. Netherlands 2-2
4. Curacao 1-3

Posted in Europe, TournamentsComments (0)

World Port Tournament Opens with Wins from Cuba and Netherlands


As Prague Baseball Week and the Swiss Alpine Cup were winding down, another big tournament was just kicking off over in Rotterdam, Netherlands – the World Port Tournament.

This  year the WPT features just four teams, but they are some of the strongest in the world including the #1 ranked team from Cuba. Also playing are Chinese Taipei, Curacao and the host Netherlands.

Even before the tournament kicked off it was drawing attention from the world of baseball as a Cuban pitcher, Odrisamer Despaigne, defected on the flight to the Netherlands as the team make a stopover in Paris. This is the third straight time a Cuban player has defected at the WPT, which is played every two years.

The 2013 edition of the WPT kicked off with Cuba facing off with Curacao with Cuba starting off with a 3-0 victory. Cuban starter Ismel Jimenez pitched great tossing eight shutout innings. He gave up just six hits, walked one, and struck out ten to pick up the win. Rasiel Iglesias came in to pick up the save with a scoreless ninth.

Andy Ibanez had a great day at the plate for Cuba. He went 3-for-4 scoring twice. Yulieski Gourriel knocked in a run and scored once going 2-for-3 with a triple.

Raydell Isabella pitched well for Curacao tossing a complete game. He gave up just three runs (one run) on seven hits.

Game 2 saw the host Netherlands take on the defending champion Chinese Taipei.

Chinese Taipei jumped out in the third inning with a pair of runs to take an early lead. But that was it. The Netherlands came back in the fourth to take the lead and they would add on for a 7-2 win.

Diegomar Markwell picked up the win for the Dutch tossing seven innings giving up just two runs on eight hits.

Markwell got offensive support from a few sources. Lead off hitter Roeland Henrique may have went hitless, but he did his job by getting on base with three walks. Stijn van der Meer followed him up in the line up by picking up a pair of hits going 2-for-5. Hitting third was Danny Rombley who also went 2-for-5 scoring a pair of runs.

All three of these hitters set the table for the cleanup man, Bryan Englehardt who came through. Englehardt went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles, two RBI, and two runs scored.

Lin Wang-wei had a nice day at the plate for Chinese Taipei. The left fielder went 3-for-4 with a double and a RBI. Hsieh Jung-hao took the loss lasting just four innings while allowing three runs on six hits.

2013 World Port Tournament Schedule:

Monday July 1
14:00 Chinese Taipei vs Curacao
19:30 Cuba vs Netherlands

Tuesday July 2
19:30 Curacao vs Netherlands

Wednesday July 3
14:00 Curacao vs Chinese Taipei
19:30 Netherlands vs Cuba

Thursday July 4
19:30 Cuba vs Chinese Taipei

Friday July 5
14:00 Chinese Taipei vs Cuba
19:30 Netherlands vs Curacao

Saturday July 6
14:00 Curacao vs Cuba
19:30 Chinese Taipei vs Netherlands

Sunday July 7
14:00 Championship Game

2013 World Port Tournament Standings

1. Netherlands 1-0
1. Cuba 1-0
3. Chinese Taipei 0-1
3. Curacao 0-1

Posted in Europe, TournamentsComments (0)

Cuban Odrisamer Despaigne Defects During Flight to the Netherlands


Once again a Cuban player has used the World Port Tournament to defect. The tournament has seen this the past two times it was played as well (Aroldis Chapman in 2009 and Gerardo Concepcion in 2011).

This time it was 26-year old Odrisamer Despaigne did the same thing during a layover in Paris at Charles de Gaulle Airport. The team suspects that Despaigne traveled to Spain where his father lives.

Despaigne just finished up his sixth season in the Cuban National Series where he pitched for the Industriales. This past season he pitched 143 innings striking out 98. He posted a 3.27 ERA and a 10-5 record.

Photo courtesy World Baseball Classic Inc.

Posted in Europe, Latin, NewsComments (1)

USA Baseball Announces Friendship Series with Cuba


USA Baseball and the Cuban Baseball Federation announced an upcoming series between the two countries Collegiate National Teams. The two will compete in an international friendship series for the second year in a row. This year, Cuba will travel to the USA and play a five-game series.

The teams will compete across three states from July 18-23.

The two teams will first face off in Des Moines, Iowa for Game 1. They will then move onto Omaha for Games 2 and 3 before heading east to North Carolina to finish off the series.

Read more here with the complete press release by USA Baseball.

Posted in College, Latin, N. America, NewsComments (0)

WBC: Kalian Sams Sends Netherlands to Semifinals with Walk Off Win


Cuba 6, Netherlands 7

Box Score

Kalian Sams drove in the biggest run in Dutch baseball history on Monday night in Tokyo. Sams drove in the winning run with a bases loaded sacrifice fly sending the Netherlands to San Francisco and the semifinals.

The Netherlands rebounded a night after a 16-4 dismantling by Japan, pulling off the biggest victory to date for the Dutch.

The game was a seesaw battle as the two teams traded blows trying to eliminate the other.

Cuba fell behind in the bottom of the third inning. Randolph Oduber doubled to start the inning. Andrelton Simmons, who had a big day at the plate, followed up Oduber with a single. After a sacrifice bunt and a hit batter, Andruw Jones hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score Oduber and get the scoring started.

Curt Smith followed up Jones with a RBI single. It was one of his three hits in the game and the Dutch led 2-0.

Cuba came back with two runs of its own in the top of the next inning. Yulieski Gurriel led off the inning with a double and scored on a Jose Fernandez single.

Dutch starter Orlando Yntema induced a double play right before Jose Abreu blasted a solo home run to straight away center field to tie the game up at 2.

Yntema tossed 3.2 innings allowing just two runs on four hits. He walked one and struck out one. It was his second appearance of the WBC.

The Netherlands once again took the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. With Sams at third having reached on a walk and Oduber at first, Oduber showed off his speed by stealing second base. Then Simmons drove in his first run of the night on a sacrifice fly.

The Dutch got their second run of the inning on a defensive miscue by Cuba. Oduber took off from second base stealing third easily. Cuba catcher Frank Morejon came up throwing, but third baseman Gurriel didn’t move to cover third. Not expecting a throw, the ball got away from Gurriel allowing Oduber to score.

Then again trailing by two, Cuba came right back to tie the game.Sandwiched around a fly out, Luis Rivera and Alexi Bell singled setting up Gurriel to drive in two runs with a long double just out of the reach of Dutch center fielder Sams. The double tied the game at four where it would stay until the eighth inning.

In the top of the eighth, Cuba finally took the lead.

Shairon Martis was in his last inning of work. After giving up a walk and a single, Martis retired slugger Alfredo Despaigne and then was pulled.

Leon Boyd came on to pitch in relief of Martis and immediately gave up a RBI single to Yasmany Tomas giving Cuba their first lead. The next batter, Eriel Sanchez, drove in Abreu from third with a sacrifice fly.

As the seesaw battle went, the Dutch came right back in the bottom of the inning. Kalian Sams walked to lead off the inning.

Cuban reliever Noberto Gonzalez pitched well in relief. He threw 4.2 innings in relief of starter Vladimir Garcia. After walking Sams, Gonzalez struck out the next two batters. He struck out five total before being pulled.

With Sams on first, Andrelton Simmons came up and hit one of the biggest home runs in the country’s history. Simmons hit a 2-1 breaking ball over the left field wall to tie the game.

Loek Van Mil came in to pitch the ninth for the Dutch. He gave up a few singles, but was able to get out of the inning without giving up a run.

Noberto Gonzalez was relieved after getting the lead off hitter out in the bottom of the ninth. Yander Guevera came in to relieve Gonzalez but didn’t get an out. He allowed two runners to reach base, one on an error and the other on a single.

Raciel Iglesias replaced Guevera and faced only one hitter and gave up a single to Xander Bogaerts to load the bases. He was immediately pulled and replaced by Diosdany Castillo.

Castillo faced one hitter as well, Sams.

Sams hit a deep fly ball to center field easily driving in Andruw Jones with the winning run sending the Netherlands into the semifinals in San Francisco.

Posted in TournamentsComments (0)

WBC: Cuba Crushes Chinese Taipei


Cuba Overpowers Chinese Taipei, 14-0

By Gabriel Fidler (@gabrielfidler)

Cuba used a prodigious display of power to eliminate Chinese Taipei from the second round of the World Baseball Classic, 14-0. The mercy rule victory featured four home runs and two doubles among 12 hits, and Cuba is one win away from punching their ticket to the semifinals in San Francisco.

Overshadowed in the hitting clinic was the dominance of Danny Betancourt, who threw six shutout innings. The right-hander scattered three hits and two walks, but retired 11 of the final 12 batters he faced. Betancourt sent three down on strikes.

Frederich Cepeda got Cuba started on the right foot. After a José Fernández single in the first, Cepeda blasted a two-run homer to right centre. Chinese Taipei’s starter, Ching-Lung Lo, would keep the deficit at two through three innings.

Chinese Taipei had its chances in the early innings. Their best chance to score in the game came in the second. Betancourt struggled to find the zone in the first two frames, and Yung-Chi Chen and Chih-Kang Kao both singled in the second.  Chinese Taipei was unable to capitalise, and Betancourt did not let them get another runner to second.

With Betancourt keeping the momentum in Cuba’s favour, a four-run fourth ended Chinese Taipei’s chances of a comeback against the No. 1 team in the world. Cepeda walked to start off the inning and went to third on a bunt hit by slugger José Abreu. Abreu moved to second after the  Chinese Taipei reliever threw the bunt wildly.

Alfredo Despaigne seized the opportunity to drive in a run with a single to centre before Yasmany Tomás unloaded the bases on three-run homer to right centre. The next two batters would reach as well, but Cuba settled for four runs after putting the first six men aboard.

Yu-Chin Lin looked like he might keep the game close, coming in after the Tomás longball and getting Cepeda, Abreu, and Despaigne 1-2-3 in the fifth. After a strikeout to Tomás to begin the sixth, however, the wheels fell off for Lin and Chinese Taipei.

Frank Morejon and Bárbaro Arruebarruena followed with singles into the left field corner, both of whom were robbed of extra bases by Dai-Kang Yang’s strong throws. After a hit batter, Yuliesky Gourriel stroked a single to centre, scoring one and ending Lin’s night.

Fernández continued his red-hot approach at the plate with a bases-clearing double into the right field corner, and it was 10-0 Cuba. A double by Cepeda would add on another run, but Cuba was still flexing its muscles.

Abreu clouted a tape measure shot to dead centre to score Cepeda. The blast travelled well over 400 feet, nearly scraping the ceiling in the Tokyo Dome. Despaigne attempted to equal the feat a batter later, crushing a four-bagger to left-centre that travelled almost as far.

After putting eight straight men on base and scoring all of them, Cuba finally relented, with 18-year old reliever Jen-Ho Tseng getting two quick outs to end the shellacking. It was the fifth pitcher of the day for  Chinese Taipei. Had another run scored, the game would have ended on another version of the mercy rule.

Norberto González and Raicel Iglesías disposed of a deflated  Chinese Taipei side in the seventh. Chen had his second hit in the game, which was their first safety since the second inning. Chinese Taipei had only six baserunners in the contest.

Cuba, meanwhile, went 12-for-29 as a team. They left only three runners on base, hitting .667 with runners in scoring position. Fernández, Cepeda, Abreu, and Despaigne all had a brace of hits. Cepeda scored three and drove in as many, tying Fernández for the team lead in RBI.

Betancourt earned his second win of the WBC and has now thrown 10 2/3 scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts and a 0.60 WHIP. González has hurled four scoreless frames in relief.

After earning the win, Cuba will await their next matchup, which will take place on Mar. 11 at 11 a.m. GMT. They will face the loser of the Netherlands and Japan on Mar. 10 and the winner of the game will earn a guaranteed place in the semifinals.

Chinese Taipei could not recover from its heart-breaking loss to Japan the night before and finishes its best-ever performance in the WBC with a 5-3 record. They are now 6-7 in three World Baseball Classics, but have earned a spot in the 2017 tournament after having to qualify this time around.

Stay tuned for all your WBC news and analysis.

Posted in TournamentsComments (0)

WBC: Netherlands Continues to Roll; Downs Cuba with the Long Ball


Stellar Defence Sparks the Netherlands in Cuba Upset

By Gabriel Fidler (@gabrielfidler)

The Netherlands tied a World Baseball Classic record with five double plays and coupled it with a slugging offence to shock top-ranked Cuba in a 6-2 victory. The Orange ripped six extra base-hits and eight singles and kept Cuba off balance for the entire game to move one out away from the WBC semifinals.

Diegomar Markwell did just enough to keep Cuba from mounting a rally, working low in the zones and inducing grounder after grounder. In his six innings, 13 of 18 outs were recorded on a groundball and the Netherlands tied the double play record by the sixth inning. The orange-and-black had a twin killing in each of the first four frames, an unofficial record.

Both clubs were on the basepaths for the entire game. The Netherlands started the contest by loading the bases against Ismel Jiménez, Cuba’s ace, but could not push a run across. The red-and-blue had a similar fate against Markwell in the bottom of the frame, but the southpaw worked around a José Fernández double to keep the game scoreless.

Both teams would get on the board in the second. Curt Smith led off the inning with a home run to left centre to give the Dutch a lead, and Kalian Sams followed with a double. Andrelton Simmons, who excelled in the field all afternoon, drove him home with a single. A one-base hit by Schoop would end Jiménez day early, though Simmons was thrown out at third by Guillermo Heredia, the centerfielder.

Alfredo Despaigne cancelled out Smith’s dinger with one of his own, crushing the first pitch he saw from Markwell into the right centerfield seats. Markwell would get out of the inning on a double play.

Both teams failed to score for the next three innings. Markwell, who had been up in the zone during the first two frames started working his breaking ball downward to much success, though he allowed at least one hit in every inning. The barrage of bouncers kept Cuba from finding a rhythm, but Cuba’s reliever Freddy Alvarez also settled the Orange down during the middle innings.

Álvarez ran out of steam in the sixth after throwing four full innings. Sams, who was hitless in the first round, had his second two-bagger of the game with one out, though Álvarez would follow him with out number two. The right-hander’s night was over after walking Simmons, and Yadier Pedroso entered.

Schoop, who had a dynamic home run in Fukuoka only days earlier, drove Pedroso’s second pitch over the left centre field wall for a three-run blast and a shocking 5-1 lead for the Netherlands.

Markwell finished his night in the bottom of the frame and prevented the red-and-blue from rallying back from Schoop’s four-bagger.

The Orange looked ready to break the game open in the seventh, loading the bases on three straight hits with no one out. Two of the safeties were of the infield variety, with Xander Bogaerts beautiful bunt the most notable. Reliver Yander Guevara somehow escaped the jam and turned things over to the Cuban hitters for the bottom of the inning.

Víctor Mesa, Cuba’s manager, gathered his entire team before they hit the dugout, speaking passionately with his usual animation. The talk appeared to be especially inspirational for Yuliesky Gourriel, who entered the day 1-for-13 in the Classic. Gourriel ripped the first pitch he saw for a solo shot to left centre, tying teammate Frederich Cepeda and Korea’s Seung-Yeop Lee for the all-time lead in homers.

Reliever Leon Boyd was hit hard in the frame, giving up two more hits, but got out of the eighth with a 5-2 lead.

Simmons and Schoop teamed up once more to take away Cuba’s run in the next frame. Simmons laced a pitch off the wall in left centre and Schoop planted a double in the left field corner to drive him home. That was all for the Orange, but the run gave them a four-run cushion against Cuba’s vaunted offence.

Boyd looked better in the eighth, retiring all three men to face him, but not without a little performance from Smith. With two out, the Netherlands’ first baseman raced into the camera well to try and catch a foul ball and fell into a cameraman, coming up with the ball. The umpires did not cover the Tokyo Dome’s enormous foul territory so quickly and ruled it as the third out, but replays showed he did not actually catch the ball.

The Dutch once more loaded the bases in the ninth, but could not come up with any more insurance runs. Loek Van Mil did not any additional help in closing the game out for the Netherlands, mowing Despaigne, Gourriel and Yosbany Peraza down 1-2-3.

With the victory, the Netherlands moves onward in the double-elimination bracket to face Japan in the Dome. They will do battle on Mar. 10 at 11 a.m. GMT. Cuba will have less time to regroup against Chinese Taipei in a 10 a.m. GMT contest on Mar. 9.

Six Orange hitters had multiple hits, led by Schoop’s 3-for-6, four RBI performance. He finished a single short of the cycle. Simmons, Sams, and Andruw Jones all got on base three times, with the first two both scoring a pair of runs.

Gourriel and Fernández each finished with a brace of hits. Fernández is hitting .583 for the tournament, but Cuba’s 4-5-6 hitters were only 2-for-11, leaving five men on base. The team hit only .154 with runners on, leaving six stranded after Markwell’s double play magic erased five additional baserunners.

The Dutch won without striking out a batter. Markwell got the victory for his six innings of one-run ball. He walked one and allowed nine hits. Jiménez was charged with loss, lasting only five outs and surrendering two runs on five hits and two walks. Six other hurlers finished the game, with Raicel Iglesías the only to retire more than one batter without giving up a run.

Cuba will have to beat Taiwan to avoid their worst finish in the World Baseball Classic and one of their most meagre showings in their long history. Check back for more about that fixture and the rest of the World Baseball Classic.

Posted in TournamentsComments (0)

WBC: Netherlands vs Cuba Pitching Match Up


Round 2 begins today in Tokyo, Japan as the winners from Pool A and Pool B meet for a chance at the semi-finals in San Francisco. To kick off Round 2, Pool A winner Cuba will take on Pool B runner up Netherlands. Let’s take a look at the starters for the game.

Netherlands

Taking the hill again for the Dutch will be Diegomar Markwell. He started Game 1 of the Classic for the Dutch against Korea tossing four scoreless innings to pick up the win.

The left-handed pitcher is the cousin of teammate Andruw Jones, and spent some time in the minor leagues making it as high as Double-A in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. However, since 2004 he has been pitching in Europe in the Dutch Major League except for a short stint in the CPBL in 2006.

In 2012, Markwell was brilliant for the Neptunus Rotterdam going 11-1 with an ERA of just 1.34 over 80.2 innings. The lefty keeps the ball down and gets ground balls which is how he kept the powerful bats of Korea at bay. He will have his work cut out for him with the way Cuba has been swinging the bats.

Cuba

Cuba will start right-hander Ismel Jimenez who pitches for the Sancti Spiritus of the Cuban National Series. In 2012, he went 17-5 with a 2.48 ERA in 26 games pitching 185.0 innings. The former infielder is in his second Classic.

Jimenez pitched Cuba’s opening game against Brazil tossing 4.2 scoreless innings. He gave up just four hits and struck out six along the way.

Posted in TournamentsComments (0)

FanDuel

The Best Baseball Sim Game on the Market

Untitled Buy OOTP Baseball 16 PC & Mac

Have a Baseball Story?

Whether its a press release, tips, information, or just a good story, feel free to Contact Us with any story baseball related.