By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, July 11 – Cuba (7-1-1) plays The Netherlands (4-5) in the final of the Rotterdam World Port Baseball Tournament on Sunday at 8:00 a.m. EST. During the qualifying round the Cubans seemed clearly superior in the four-team competition.
However, The Netherlands should not be underestimated especially after their top notch performance at the World Baseball Classic in March, when they eliminated the Major League star-studded Dominican Republic in the first round.
In the three games between Cuba and The Netherlands in the qualifying round, the scores of Cuba’s wins were 1-0, 10-6 and 8-2, but anything can happen in one game.
Cuban manager Roger Machado has several pitchers ready and is expected to start lefthander Miguel Angel Gonzalez who last pitched on July 8. Freddy Asiel Alvarez and Michael Folch, who both threw on July 9, are also available if needed.
The Dutch team is expected to start Diegomar Markwell who went 7.2 innings to get the win in a 2-1 pitching duel over Taiwan on July 8.
Cuba Loses Meaningless Game
Cuba lost its undefeated status and Japan salvaged a little pride in a meaningless game played on Saturday that concluded the two teams play in the qualifying round.
Syogo Suenaga went the route and won his second game of the tournament by holding the hard hitting Cubans to only four hits and one unearned run. The 2-1 victory gave Japan an overall last place 3-6 record.
Yolbis Borroto had half of Cuba’s hits and Ariel Borrero scored their lone run. Noelvis Entenza pitched well allowing two runs, one earned, on six hits while walking three and striking out seven. Miguel Lahera and outfielder Jorge Alberto Padron pitched one inning each of scoreless relief.
Padron coming on to pitch the ninth was a clear indication of the lack of importance placed on the game.
Holland Upends Taiwan, Makes Finals
In the final game of the qualifying round, a do-or-die match for both The Netherlands and Taiwan, the Europeans put together a four-run ralling in the seventh inning to win 6-5.
For the complete boxscores of the World Port Baseball Tournament games see: http://www.baseballdecuba.com/rotterdamboxscores2009.asp