Holland Sinks Cuba 2-1 to Win World Cup

By Circles Robinson

Holland celebrates. For the first time in history a European team has won the IBAF Baseball World Cup. Photo: IBAF

HAVANA TIMES, Oct. 15 — Holland defeated Cuba 2-1 in a classic pitcher’s duel to win the IBAF Baseball World Cup Saturday Night in a game delayed four hours due to persistent rains.

For the first time in baseball history a European team has won the IBAF World Cup.

Box Score

The loss meant the third consecutive silver medal for Cuba, which lost in 2007 and 2009 to the United States.

Starting pitcher Rob Cordemans, gave up only two hits and one run in 7.1 innings, totally dominating the Cuban batters with his repertory.

Yulieski Gonzalez was cruising for Cuba during the first third of the game and was given a one run lead in the top of the fourth on a double by DH Frederich Cepeda (Cuba’s only hit in the first seven innings), a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly by Despaigne.

However the lefty got into trouble fast in the bottom of the fourth, by allowing a walk and two hits by Curt Smith and Bryan Engelhardt (RBI) before getting the hook.

Reliever Freddie Asiel Alvarez allowed the second – and what proved to be winning run – to score on a single by Jonathan Schoops, charged to Gonzalez.  He then got out of a bases loaded one out jam.

While Freddie Asiel (5 innings, 3 hits and no runs) kept Holland in check, Cuba threatened in each of the final three innings but was unable to get the tying run.

In the seventh, Alfredo Despaigne reached second on an error to start off the inning but was unable to advance.

In the eighth, Rudy Reyes belted a pinch-hit one out double off Cordeman but was unable to advance despite an infield hit by Rusney Castillo off reliever Juan Carlos Sulbaran that put runners on first and second.  However Alexei Bell flied to left and Frederich Cepeda poped out to left to end the inning.

Finally in the top of ninth, Yuliesky Gourriel managed a one-out single to keep Cuba’s hopes alive. The Dutch manager then brought in David Bergman in relief of Sulbaran.

After Jose Dariel Abreu flied out, Michel Enriquez laced a single to put runners on first and second.  Hector Olivera, still not 100 percent while nursing an injury, stepped in to pinch hit and lined the first pitch right at Holland third baseman Jonathan Schoop for the game ending out.

In all, Holland had two runs on six hits and one error, while Cuba had one run, five hits and played without errors. Cuba had also lost 4-1 to Holland in second round play, its only other World Cup loss.

In other games on Saturday:

Venezuela defeated Panama to take 7th place, Australia won over Korea for 5th place and the USA and Canada had their game rained out with Canada being declared 3rd place because it had beaten the USA earlier in the tournament.

Final IBAF Baseball World Cup Standings:

1) Netherlands
2) Cuba
3) Canada*
4) USA*
5) Australia
6) Korea
7) Venezuela
8) Panama
9) Dominican Republic
9) Italy
9) Puerto Rico
12) Japan
13) Chinese Taipei
14) Nicaragua
15) Germany
15) Greece

*due to rule C12 of IBAF official norms

Individual Awards:

Leading Batter: Rusney Castillo (CUB)
Pitcher Best ERA: Tom Stuifbergen (NED)
Pitcher Best W-L Average: Miguel Lahera (CUB)
Most Runs Batted In: Curt Smith (NED)
Most Home Runs: Wuilliuans Vasquez (VEN)
Most Stolen Bases: Jordan Danks (USA)
Most Runs Scored: Jose Macias (PAN)
Outstanding Defensive Player: Yulieski Gourriel (CUB)
Most Valuable Player: Curt Smith (NED)

All Star Team:

Starting Pitcher: Hyoun Taek Oh (KOR)
Relief Pitcher: Yadier Pedroso (CUB)
Catcher: Damaso Espino (PAN)
First Baseman: Jose Abreu (CUB)
Second Baseman: Joe Thurston (USA)
Third Baseman: Chang Min Mo (KOR)
Shortstop: Jonathan Malo (CAN)
Outfielder: Rusney Castillo CUB)