By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES – Team Cuba lost a seesaw do-or-die game to Holland 7-6 on Monday and leaves the third World Baseball Classic unable to advance to the semifinal round, similar to what happened in the last tournament in 2009.
Kaian Sams hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to give Holland their first ever ticket to a WBC semifinals.
Andrelton Simmons led the Dutch offense, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a clutch homer to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth.
Cuba then had two runners on with one out in the top of the ninth but failed to score.
Yander Guevara took the loss in relief for Cuba and Van Mil was the winning pitcher for Holland.
The winning run was unearned as Andrew Jones, who scored, had started the inning off by reaching first on a fielding error by Cuban third baseman Yulieski Gourriel.
In the last Classic it was the second of two defeats to Japan that eliminated Cuba. This time around the two second round losses were to the Dutch team.
Now Japan and Holland move on to San Francisco for the semifinals to play the two survivors of the foursome, Italy, USA, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
A full report on the game and Cuba’s participation in WBC III will be forthcoming from Peter C. Bjarkman from Tokyo.