When I left you last week the boys from the Holy Land were the talk of the World Baseball Classic. That was before the bigger boys from the west began play.
In a wild weekend in Miami and Jalisco, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, the United States, and the Dominican Republic emerged as winners. The highlight of the Pool C bracket in Miami was Saturday night’s contest between the USA and the Dominican Republic. The Americans came out big trying to avenge their semi-final loss in the 2013 classic. The Red, White, and Blue held a 5-0 advantage in the middle of the sixth inning, that’s when things got interesting.
Manny Machado began the comeback with a solo home run off of Tanner Roark. Later in the inning, Carlos Santana would single home Robinson Cano making it a 5-2 ballgame. An RBI double by Wellington Castillo in the seventh drew the Dominicans to within 5-3.
Andrew Miller, who was a main cog in the Cleveland Indians bullpen last year took the mound to begin the 8th. The Dominicans would tee off on the Indians star. Home runs by Nelson Cruz (with two aboard) and a solo shot by Stirling Marte capped the comeback and a 7-5 victory. Both the Americans and the Dominicans advanced out of Pool B and will meet again in San Diego. The Dominicans lost their first game in San Diego’s Pool F to Puerto Rico yesterday by the score of 3-1. The USA sees its first action in Pool F tonight against Venezuela.
Team Dominican Republic celebrates a comeback victory over the USA.
Puerto Rico and Japan are the only undefeated teams remaining in the competition. The Japanese team ended Israel’s dream this morning (Eastern time) with an 8-3 victory in Tokyo. The boys from the Land of the Rising Sun head to Los Angeles sporting a 6-0 record in the tournament. Team Israel’s loss to Japan coupled with the Netherlands 15-1 drubbing of Cuba sent the boys from the Holy Land home. A valiant effort, a wonderful surprise, but Israel ran into a superior squad.
So as of today Team Japan and Team Netherlands head for Los Angeles. So much baseball is to be played in San Diego between four of the planet’s top teams. Next Wednesday I will preview the Finals. Look for the blog to print earlier than usual leading into game time at 9:00 Eastern Time. Until then, grab a beverage, pull up a chair and show your nation’s pride and colors!