By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, Oct. 2 — Cuba shot out of the starting gate with a 14-0 mercy rule win over Australia in its World Cup 2011 opener Sunday afternoon in Panama.
A grand slam by shortstop by Erisbel Arruebarruena and two-run homers by Frederich Cepeda and Hector Olivera accounted for eight of Cuba’s runs.
Freddy Asiel Alvarez pitched six innings of no-run three-hit ball to get the win. He struck out four Australians and didn’t allow a walk.
Alberto Soto came on to pitch the seventh and final inning and didn’t allow a hit while striking out one batter.
The game was called after seven innings on the ten-run mercy rule.
Cuba plays its second game at 3:00 p.m. on Monday against the Dominican Republic.
A total of 16 teams are competing, divided for first round play into two groups.
Group One consists of Panama, USA, Japan, Chinese Taipei, Canada, Netherlands, Puerto Rico and Greece.
Group Two includes Cuba along with South Korea, Australia, Venezuela, Italy, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Germany.
How it works:
Round One is a seven-game each team round robin per group.
Round Two has each four qualifying teams playing four games against the four teams of the other group. The first round wins/losses against the other three qualifying teams per group and second round wins/loses count in the standings.
Then the top two teams play for the title and the third and fourth best records play for third. There is no semifinal game; as it is rounds one and two and then the finals.
Cuba is fielding a squad balanced with veterans and younger players.
Catchers: Ariel Pestano, Frank Camilo Morejón, Yosvani Alarcón.
Infielders: José Dariel Abreu, Héctor Olivera, Yuliesky Gourriel, Erisbel Arruebarruena, Michel Enríquez, Rudy Reyes.
Outfielders: Frederich Cepeda, Alfredo Despaigne, Rusney Castillo, Alexei Bell, Giorvis Duvergel.
Pitchers: Miguel Alfredo González, Freddy Asiel Álvarez, Yadier Pedroso, Norberto González, Yulieski González, Vicyohandri Odelín, Dalier Hinojosa, Alberto Soto, Miguel Lahera, Jonder Martínez.
SEE THE GAMES LIVE
The International Baseball Federation is providing a pay-for-service to stream most of the games live on Internet at www.liveibaf.tv.