Baseball World Cup Day 3 Highlights
See Below Game Highlights from last night distributed by IBAF Operations.
AUSTRALIA 7 CHINESE TAIPEI 5: The game of the day took place in Croatia, where Australia broke a 5-5 tie in the bottom of the eighth to edge Chinese Taipei 7-5. The Aussies jumped out to a 4-0 third inning lead, three runs coming on Tim Kennelly’s third home run in the first two games of the World Cup, but Chinese Taipei rallied to cut the lead to 4-3 on OF Chung-Chun Wu’s three run homer in the sixth. Australia held a 5-3 lead in the top of the eighth, but Chinese Taipei tied the game at five on 1B Kuo-Min Lin’s two out, two run homer off reliever Matthew Williams. Australia then broke the tie in the bottom of the eighth, when James Beresford hit a two out two run homer off reliever Ching-Ming Wang. Chinese Taipei had the tying runs on with one out in the ninth, but reliever Adam Bright struck out Chia-Yu Lin and got Hsin-Min Wang to ground out to end the game.
PUERT RICO 5 SPAIN 3: Puerto Rico jumped out to a 4-0 lead and then held on to defeat Spain 5-3 in Barcelona, giving each team a split of their first two games. Ruben Gotay’s second inning lead off homer gave Puerto Rico the lead, Spain cut the score to 4-3 in the sixth and setting up a tense couple of innings. Carlos Rivera led off the top of the eight for Puerto Rico with a double and moved to third on a wild pitch. Then Spanish manager Mauro Mazzotti brought in right hander Rhiner Cruz, who struck out Raul Casanova and Gotay, and got Alex Cintron to pop to short left, but shortstop Nestor Perez and left fielder Luis Perez bumped into each other, causing the ball dropped free and give Puerto Rico an insurance run. In the bottom of the eight, Spain had the tying runs in scoring position, but reliever Melvin Pizarro struck out Montiel.Ruerto to end the threat.
UNITED STATES 9 GERMANY 1: A crowd of just under 10,000 had their upset hopes dashed, as Todd Redmond allowed two hits and one run and struck out seven over eight innings to give the defending Champions from the U.S. their first win of 2009. New York Mets prospect Ike Davis’ second inning homer, his first of three hits on the night, gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead. They stretched it to 4-0 with a trio of runs on three hits in the third and then broke the game open with another three in the sixth, two coming on a Buck Coates homer. Trevor Plouffe and Justin Smoak also homered for the U.S.
NICARAGUA 10 GREAT BRITAIN 0: For the second straight game, 3B Jimmy Morales hit a pair of home runs, leading Nicaragua to the seven inning win. 1B Sandor Mayorca also homered twice for Nicaragua, who have outscored their first two opponents by a combined scord of 20-1
CUBA 10 SOUTH AFRICA 5: The Cubans moved to 2-0 and held off South Africa in Barcelona. Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Gift Ngoepe got South Africa started with a single and scored on a first inning error, but Alfredo Despaigne´s home run in the second tied the score, and Cuba broke the game open with three straight solo homers (Espinoza, Sotelo and Morales) in the third. South Africa did rally with a four run sixth, again started by a Ngoepe double, but they never got any closer than 9-6.
VENEZUELA 17 CHINA 2: Venezuela continued their torrid hitting display, scoring seven runs on six hits in the first inning and went on to trounce China 17-2 in five innings. Luis Landaeta’s two run shot opened the flood gates in the first inning and Venezuela never looked back. Starting pitcher Junior Guerra gave his team a solid start allowing just 2 runs on 3 hits, while striking out seven and walking two.
JAPAN 13 CROATIA 3: The powerful Japanese again had trouble against a European novice before breaking open a close game in the seventh inning and going on to a 13-3 win in a game shortened by rain. Japan jumped out to a 2-0 first inning lead, but Croatia’s Josip Broznic hit a three run homer off Japan’s Tomohisa Otani to give Croatia a 3-2 third inning lead. Japan tied it in the fourth on a double by shortstop Ken Kume and then took the lead for good at 4-3 an inning later when Keiji Ikebe. They broke the game open in the sixth, when RF Hisayoshi Chono hit a bases loaded triple to give Japan a 7-3 lead, and they then scored six more in the seventh, coming off home runs by Go Yamaoka and Tsutomu Sasaki, and improved their record to 2-0
CANADA 15 NETHERLANDS ANTILLES 0: Matt Kniginyzky and Vince Perkins combined on a one hit shutout, and Canada steadily built a lead and then exploded for eight runs in the seventh to beat the Netherlands Antilles. Rene Tosoni’s first inning homer gave Canada the 1-0 lead, Jonathan Malo hit a two run homer in the fourth to stretch the lead to 5-0. A two run single by Adam Stern and a three run homer by Brett Lawrie did the most damage in the seventh, as Canada pounded out 13 hits to move to 2-0.
MEXICO 9 CZECH REPUBLIC 0: For the second straight game, Mexican pitchers combined for a shutout, this time downing the hosts in Prague before 1,500 disappointed fans. Middle reliever Francisco Cordova struck out nine in six innings, and Mexico broke the game open with a four run third inning, three of the runs coming on a Sergio Contreras home run. Edgar Quintero and Ivan Terraza also homered for Mexico.
KOREA 5 SWEDEN 1: The largest crowd ever to see a baseball game in Sweden had their upset hopes dashed, as pitcher Seung-Lak Son went eight innings and allowed only a solo home run to centerfielder Peter Johannessen to lead the visiting Koreans. Team Korea jumped out to a two-run lead in the first inning, capitalizing on three walks by Sweden’s knuckleball pitcher Kent Karlsson. Eui-Ji Yang put Korea on the board, driving in a run with a ground ball to the shortstop and Yong-Kyu Choi added a run with an RBI-double.
CUBA’S GONZALEZ JUST MISSES STRIKEOUT MARK: Cuban pitcher Miguel Gonzalez today struck out ten consecutive batters against Puerto Rico, one short of the World Cup mark of 11 set by former Major Leaguer Burt Hooton (Dodgers and Cubs) of the USA in 1971. Gonzalez struck out 13 with one walk in 6 1/3 innings in earning the win for Cuba.
SPAIN HAS TWIN ORIOLES: Spain’s baseball playing twin brothers, Daniel and Paco Figueroa, spent last season with the Bowie Baysox of the AA Eastern League, and are property of the Baltimore Orioles. They are so alike they even spent the same time on the disabled list last season, but with different injuries. Both have been impressive at the plate thus far, with Daniel going 3-8 and Paco 3-7 in Spain’s 1-1 start.
MEXICO. NICARAGUA KINGS OF THE HILL THUS FAR: Through their first two games, neither Mexico nor Nicaragua have allowed an earned run. Mexico’s pitchers have 23 strikeouts and have allowed 12 hits in 18 innings, while Nicaragua has allowed one unearned run in their first two games, both of which they have won by mercy rule.
FORMER MAJOR LEAGUE STARS WALKER, PIAZZA, WHITT ON THE COACHING LINES: Team Canada’s continued success stems from their coaching staff. Head coach Ernie Whitt spent 15 seasons in the Major Leagues as a catcher with the Blue Jays, Braves, Red Sox and Orioles, and was a 1985 All-Star. Canadian coach Larry Walker spent 17 seasons with the Montreal Expos, Colorado Rockies, and St. Louis Cardinals and was National League Most Valuable Player in 1997 and was a five time All-Star. Italy will begin play in Round Two and will have Mike Piazza on their bench. Piazza, easily one of the greatest catchers in Major League history, was a 16 year veteran for the Dodgers, Marlins, Mets and Padres and was a 10 time all-star.
LEAVE TV, MANAGE PUERTO RICO: ESPN Baseball Tonight analyst Eduardo Perez took a leave from ESPN to manage the Puerto Rican team. ¨They were good to me,¨ he said. ¨They gave me 30 days to manage Puerto Rico in the World Cup.¨ Perez, the son of Hall of Famer Tony Perez, said he is proud to do it. He played for seven Major League teams from his debut with the Angels in 1993 to his retirement after playing for the Mariners in 2006. That same year, he became a Baseball Tonight analyst. He played college ball at Florida State and played the 2001 year in Japan with the Hanshin Tigers.
MAZZOTTI TRIES TO BRING ITALIAN SUCCESS TO SPAIN: Mauro Mazzotti, 50, is the only manager to win three Italian Serie A championships, Rimini 1999, Bologna 2003 and 2005 and Grosseto in 2007. Currently he manages Rimini, which spent most of this past season in first place in the Italian League, but his goal now is to get Spain into round two of the World Cup as the manager for the national team. Mazzotti, who has a degree physical education, speaks three languages, his native Italian, English and has handled press conferences a the World Cup in Spanish. He has been a scout in Europe for the Seattle Mariners and became the coordinator for the scouting in Europe for the Houston Astros.
ITALIANS IN SPANISH BASEBALL NOT UNCOMMON: Mazzotti is not the first Italian coach to manage the Spanish National Team. Pepe Guilizzoni, the technical commissioner for the Barcelona tournament, also managed the Spanish national team. The veteran on many Italian campaigns coached the Spanish from 1884 to 1988. Guilizzoni brought Spain to its first World Cup in 1988. He had coached the national team to third in the European tournament the year before and since Italy was a host team, Spain qualified. He was also the first coach from Spain in any sport to bring a team to play in post-Revolutionary Cuba when the Spanish national baseball team played there in 1988. Guilizzoni, who played his first baseball game in 1954, married in Milano in 1965. In 1967, he was in need of a job and came up with the idea of a baseball team. He put an ad in a newspaper in the Milano suburban town of Novara. In Nov. 1967, he formed the team that played its first game in March of 1968. It later became part of the lore of Italian baseball.
JAPANESE TAKE A DIFFERENT ROUTE TO BUILD A ROSTER: Team Japan, even though comprising amateur players and coaches from the industrial teams only, has a number of forthcoming draft hopefuls of Nippon Professional League on this World Cup roster, and is 2-0 thus far. Manager Yasuhiko Sugimoto lead the Japanese National Team at the 2005 World cup, Inter-Continental Cup in 2006 and to the top of the Asian Championship in 2009. Most of the players joined the 2009 Asian Championship except for the pitchers, which had been represented by college players only, and are veterans of international competitions. Star players include Takashi Saito, left handed pitcher (East Japan?Railway), Hisayoshi Chono, outfielder (Honda), Kenji Suzuki, catcher (Nippon Express) . Ikuhiro Kiyota, outfielder, (NTT East-Japan) and the M.V.P. of Asian Championship last August as well as Keiji Ikebe, outfielder (Nippon Oil ENEOS) are key members of this Japanese team.
ATTENDANCE STRONG: Day three saw a near-capacity crowd of almost 10,000 attend the Germany-USA game in Regensburg, while the largest crowd ever for Sweden, almost 2,500 was on hand for the Sweden-Korea game in Sundbyberg. The first two days of play saw standing room crowds in Barcelona for Cuba-Puerto Rico (capacity 2,500), near capacity crowds of over 5,500 in Regensburg, Germany, a first day crowd of 2,500 in Prague and a crowd of over 1,500 in Sundyberg. Ticket sales in the Netherlands and Italy for the second round are also very strong, with teams at select sites still to be determined.
THE DIGNITARY WATCH: Cuban consul to Barcelona Carlos Castillo attended Friday’s game vs. South Africa in Barcelona. Former International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch attended Spain’s opening win over South Africa…Samaranch was instrumental in bringing baseball to the Olympic programme in Barcelona in 1992…baseball was denied re-entry into the Olympics for 2016 recently, making it the largest sport in the world not on the Olympic programme…on Thursday, Bruce Bourbeau, the U.S. consul stationed in Barcelona was joined by Ayaz Hussain, consul general from Pakistan for the Puerto Rico-Cuba game.