HAVANA TIMES, March 7 – The Dominican Republic, for many experts the team supposedly with the best chance to win World Baseball Classic II, became part of the third surprise result in games on Saturday, losing 3-2 to The Netherlands.
Supposedly a much weaker team, The Netherlands scored three times in the first inning and managed to hang on. In the ninth with the tying run on second and one out, a foolish attempt to steal third by Taveras led to the second and highly costly out for the Dominican Rep.
The Netherlands had three runs on three hits with no fielding mistakes while the Dominicans had eight hits, but made three errors, one leading to an unearned run.
Also on Saturday Japan, the defending WBC champ, had a surprisingly easy time with Korea, the Beijing Olympic gold medal team, walking 14-2. Likewise, China upset Chinese Taipei 4-1.
Cuba plays its first WBC game on Sunday against South Africa in Mexico City. The islanders are in Group B along with Mexico and Australia. To keep up on Cuba during the tournament see Peter C. Bjarkman’s WBC Diary.