by Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, July 2 — Cuba started its play in the Rotterdam World Port Baseball Tournament with a 1-0 shutout over defending champion Holland on Thursday.
Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, the MVP of the recently concluded Cuban Baseball Playoffs, got the win with a save going to Vladimir Garcia. Gonzalez went six innings allowing only two hits. Diegomar Markwell pitched well for eight innings but took the loss.
DH Rolando Meriño drove in second baseman Rafael Valdes for the game’s only run in the third inning.
In the other opening day game Taiwan surprised Japan by a score of 4-3. Taiwan scored one in the seventh inning to tie and another in the top of the 11th to win.
Ching Ming Wang picked up the win hurling the last two innings, striking out three and allowing a lone hit. Japan’s Yoichi Sakamoto pitched well, allowing only four hits and one run in four innings, but took the loss.
On Friday, Cuba faces Japan at 8:00 a.m. EST and Holland plays Taiwan at 1:00 p.m. EST.
With team USA withdrawing from the tournament, there are only four teams competing.
For the boxcore of the Cuba-Holland game click on: http://www.baseballdecuba.com/RotterdamGames2009.asp?id=765
Earlier on Thursday it was reported that Cuba’s top left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman had abandoned the team in search of a US Major League contract. For more on that story see: http://havanatimes.org/?p=10805