By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, Oct. 10.— Cuba won its final first round game 6-0 over Nicaragua in the IBAF Baseball World Cup on Sunday, finishing with a perfect 7-0 record in Group B.
The Cuban pitching allowed only five runs in their seven first round contests.
The Cubans now await their first second round rival, in a game to be played on Tuesday, either against USA or Puerto Rico, depending on a make-up game to be played on Monday.between USA and tournament host Panama.
Miguel Lahera (2-0) picked up his second World Cup win going 5 innings allowing only three hits, while striking out six and walking one.
In his two outings, Lahera has pitched 11 scoreless innings and stuck out 14 rivals.
Relievers Jonder Martínez, Vicyohandri Odelin and Alberto Soto completed the shutout.
Cuba pounded out 12 hits to six for Nicaragua. The islanders took a 3-0 lead in the first inning, which proved sufficient, although they added three more in the sixth.
Outfielder Rusney Castillo continued on top of the World Cup batting going 3-for-5, scoring twice and driving in a run. Going into the game he was hitting a whopping .533.
The other young Cuban sensation of the tournament, shortstop Erisbel Arruebarruena, made several difficult fielding situations look easy.
First baseman Jose Dariel Abreu had a perfect 4-for-4 and Alexei Bell drove in three runs with two hits, including a double, to help the Cuban cause.
1) Canada 6-1
2) Netherlands 6-1
3) Panama 5-1
4) USA 3-3
5) Puerto Rico 3-4
6) Japan 2-5
7) Chinese Taipei 1-5
8) Greece 0-6
1) Cuba 7-0
2) Venezuela 5-2
3) Korea 5-2
4) Australia 4-3
5) Dominican Republic 3-4
6) Italy 3-4
7) Nicaragua 1-6
8) Germany 0-7
Four teams from each group will qualify for second round play. In Group B the teams are Cuba, Venezuela, Korea and Australia. In Group A, Canada, Netherlands, Panama and either USA or Puerto Rico.
IBAF Report on other games on Sunday:
USA 1 – Canada 6
Canada defeated Team USA 6-1 on Sunday afternoon to pick up its sixth win in seven games in the first round of the 2011 IBAF Baseball World Cup. The defending champion on the other hand dropped to 3-3 and now needs a win over Panama on Monday to make the second round. Brock Kjeldgaard put Canada en route to the win with a three-run homer in the second. He later added a RBI double to cap a three-run ninth, providing some insurance. Shawn Hill pitched 6 1/3 strong innings with the only mistake being a solo homerun by Matt Clark in the seventh.
Greece 4 – Japan 9
Japan closed its 2011 Baseball World Cup campaign with a win over Greece (9-4). The afternoon game in Aguadulce was played run by run in the first half while in the second the Asians increased their advantage by having six hits. The credit of the victory went to the great performance of Japanese reliever Tomoyuki Kaida who went 5.1 innings allowing just one hit and striking out six.
Panama 3 – Netherlands 7
The Netherlands have finished the first round at the 2011 IBAF Baseball World Cup with another solid victory. They used a four-run third to win 7-3 on Sunday evening at Rod Carew Stadium to hand Panama its first loss in the tournament, while improving its record to 6-1. Player of the game was left fielder Danny Rombley, who laid down a perfect two-strike sac bunt during the crucial rally, made two important catches, threw out a runner and capped his performance with a solo shot in the ninth.
Chinese Taipei 3 – Puerto Rico 1
Chinese Taipei got their first win in the 2011 Baseball World Cup and gave the USA hope of advancement to the second round. A good defense, a great performance from starting pitcher Kuan Yu Chen and a perfect game at the plate kept down Puerto Rico. Kuan Wei Yang put his team on the way to the win with a two-run homer in the second inning. The Chinese Taipei relief corp controlled the Caribbean attempt to come back into the game and sealed the win for their team (3-1).
Australia 9 – Germany 6
Australia did not miss the chance with this game that could put them over .500. In spite of a ‘cold’ start by pitcher Clayton Tanner, allowing two runs in the first including a leadoff homerun by Max Kepler, the green and gold lineup immediately reacted by scoring five times in the bottom of the inning: just like their opponents, Australia hit safely three times before the first out, with a single by Jim Beresford followed by doubles from Mitch Dening and Justin Huber.
Venezuela 7 – Italy 6
At the end of a thriller, that included a rain delay between the two halfs of the tenth inning, Venezuela beat Italy (7-6) in ten innings and eliminated the Azzurri from the Baseball World Cup. Venezuela will advance to the second round with 5 wins. Italy’s bullpen, a key in their bronze medal finish in the 2010 Intercontinental Cup, could not maintain a 4-3 lead in the ninth (blown save by Cody Cillo) and a 6-4 lead in the tenth (blown save and loss by Giovanni D’Amico). Arturo Rivas had the walk-off RBI single for Venezuela.
Dominican Republic 4 – Korea 5
For eight innings it looked like an easy victory for the Dominican Republic, who were hoping to get into a three-way tie with Australia and Korea. But the Olympic champion from Asia turned the game into a Dominican nightmare. Korea erased a 0-4 deficit in the ninth inning tying the score on a three-run homer by Hae Min Park. In the tenth they managed just one run with IBAF Extra Inning Tie-Breaker Rules in effect, but it was enough to prevail by a score of 5-4. Freddy Guzman and Victor Mendez had homered to give the Dominican Republic an early lead.
Canada’s Ambassador Patricia Langan-Torell attended the game between USA and Canada at Rod Carew Stadium and celebrated the 6-1 victory afterwards….Monday would have been the second of two rest days in the tournament….The second round starts on Tuesday with the schedule being released on Monday…..Team USA has won the last two Baseball World Cups…A professional Team USA hadn’t lost to Canada in international competition since the 2006 World Baseball Classic…Southpaw Bruce Chen of the Kansas City Royals, who was born in Panama City, threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game between Panama and the Netherlands…. Jonathan Schoop, who is the third baseman for the Netherlands in the 2011 IBAF Baseball World Cup, won the 2004 Little League World Series, getting the save in the championship game, playing for Willemstad.
Before the second round starts on Tuesday, four teams will be asked to take the field on the second scheduled off day at the 2011 IBAF Baseball World Cup. In the morning Greece and Chinese Taipei will meet in Aguadulce for a make-up of their rainout from Saturday. Chinese Taipei was leading 7-0 in the third inning, but the game will begin from the beginning. In the afternoon Panama and Team USA will square off at Rod Carew Stadium in Panama City for their highly anticipated clash. Thanks to the loss by Puerto Rico on Sunday evening, the defending champion got a second must-win match. If they defeat the hosts they will advance into the second round. If they lose they are out. Panama will move up no matter the outcome of the game. The schedule for the second round will be announced on Monday after all venues and times got determined.
Schedule, Monday, October 10
10h00 Greece – Chinese Taipei
14h00 Panama – USA
(local times Panama)