Cuba Beats Spain Makes Quarterfinals

By Circles Robinson

HAVANA TIMES, Sept. 18 – Right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez led Cuba to 10-0 win over Spain in the 2009 World Cup Baseball Championships in a game played in Amsterdam on Thursday.  With its four consecutive wins in the second round Cuba assured its passage to the quarterfinals.

Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez pitches in Cuban baseball for last season's league champions Havana Province.
Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez pitches in Cuban baseball for last season's league champions Havana Province.

Gonzalez, 22, went seven innings allowing only two hits, walking three and striking out five rivals.  It was his second win in the tournament.

First Baseman Jose Dariel Abreu, batting seventh in the lineup, once again had another big day, going two-for-five with four RBIs.  Ariel Pestano, veteran catcher and eighth in the lineup, also continued torrid going two-for-four and droving in four runs.

Clean-up hitter Frederich Cepeda went hitless but with two walks and a fielder’s choice managed to score three runs.

The game wasn’t as lopsided as the final score as Cuba had a slim 3-0 lead going into the eighth inning.  Spain’s Pedro L. Belmonte pitched well against the fearsome Cuban lineup through seven innings allowing three runs, two earned, on seven hits.  Relievers Jose Cruz and Jorge Balboa were ineffective allowing four and three runs respectively.

Cuba’s next game is Friday against Puerto Rico at 1:00 p.m. Cuban time (EST).  Left-hander Maikel Folch is expected to get the call from manager Esteban Lombillo.

Playing in Group F, Cuba is now 4-0 in round two (7-0 overall) and has already guaranteed a place in the quarterfinals. Four teams from each of the two groups will move on when the round-robin second round is completed.

Along with Cuba in Group F are: The Netherlands 4-0, Puerto Rico 3-1, South Korea 2-2, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Spain 1-3 and Great Britain 0-4.

In Group G, the defending champion United States alone on top with a 4-0 record followed by: Austrailia and Chinese Taipei 3-1, Canada and Mexico 2-2, Japan 1-3, Italy and Netherlands Antilles 0-3.