World Cup heats up with final round games.. an hopefully dries out.


 


P9210628.JPGRain headed south to Nettuno yesterday.  Lack of resources ( like a big TARP) made it challenging to get the infield dried out but we did and the game was played.  

IBAF  puts out some reports on a daily basis and the following is a sample of the report with highlights. LAst night was crazy here in Nettuno.  Rain delay plus a pitching duel.  Canada edged PR in a 10 inning pitching duel on a field that was soaked.  Plus my cmaera was smoked with a rake…casualty of the game i guess.  No worries as I carry a back up. 
P9210633.JPG 

CUBA 2 AUSTRALIA 1: Alfredo Despaigne hit a two-run first inning home run off of Dushan Ruzic, and Cuba pitchers Norge Vera and Pedro Lazo combined to hold Australia to six hits in a 2-1 thriller. Australia scored its only run in the third on a James Bereford ground out, and outhit Cuba, 6-3, but were never able to tie the score. Australia had the tying run on third in the ninth inning, but Lazo struck out Andrew Graham to end the game.

 NETHERLANDS 11 CHINESE TAIPEI 2: The Dutch broke open a close game with a seven-run fifth inning and went on to an opening win in Messina. Hung-Yu Lin’s second inning homer had tied the game at one, but Randall Simon’s two-run single and another RBI single by Sidney de Jong in the bottom of the inning staked the Netherlands to a 4-1 lead. It was still 4-1 when the Dutch sent 11 men to the plate in the fifth, scoring seven runs on eight hits – seven singles and a double – to break the game open. Simon’s three hits and three RBIs led the Dutch attack, while Alexander Smit pitched six innings of one-run relief for the win.

 UNITED STATES 6 VENEZUELA 3: The USA avenged its lone World Cup loss, scoring four runs in the third inning and going on to a 6-3 win in Firenze. Terry Tiffee’s two-run single off reliever Jose Escalona helped key the four-run third, and Pedro Alvarez’s home run stretched the lead to 5-0 in the fourth. Venezuela scored one run in each of the sixth, seventh and eighth innings and had the tying run on base with two outs in the ninth, but Geno Espanelli got Luis Landeata on a line-out to end the game. Brad Lincoln pitched 6 2/3 innings to get the win.

 CANADA 3 PUERTO RICO 0: Brett Lawrie hit a leadoff home run in the ninth inning and Rene Tosoni followed with a two-run double, breaking a scoreless tie and leading Canada to a 3-0 win in Nettuno. Nick Bucci’s five no-hit innings highlighted a spectacular pitching day for Canada, as it held a veteran Puerto Rico squad to just one hit – a Jose Valentin leadoff single in the seventh inning. Seven Puerto Rico pitchers combined to hold Canada to seven hits in the pitching duel.

 WEDNESDAYS POOL GAMES: Canada-Venezuela (Chieti), Australia-Netherlands (Grosetto), Puerto Rico-USA (Firenze), Chinese Taipei-Cuba (Nettuno)

 PREVIEW NETHERLANDS-AUSTRALIA: Offensive fireworks should be on display during the Netherlands-Australia matchup in Grossetto on Wednesday as the top two hitting squads in the 2009 Baseball World Cup meet for the first time in the tournament. The Netherlands, who enter the game with a 7-1 record and are fresh off a dominating 11-2 victory, look to continue their drive towards the championship game. Australia, who has dropped two straight one run games, will look to get their hitting shoes back on.

 The Netherlands, who are hitting a tournament leading .325 as a team, are led offensively by three players who are batting over .400; their double play combo of San Francisco Giants prospect Sharlon Shoop (.464) and Los Angeles Angels prospect Hainley Statia (.417) and veteran catcher Sidney de Jong (.435). Others who have been impressive include former major leaguer Randall Simon, who went 3-5 with 3 RBI in the victory against Chinese Taipei, and first baseman Sharnol Adriana, who also added 3 RBI in the win.

The Aussies, whose success has been dependent on their bats, are second in the tournament in batting average (.316) and third in runs scored (80). Pacing the squad is the Mr. Do-Everything Tim Kennelly, a Phillies Prospect who has hit for average (.325) and power (three home runs, nine RBI). His help comes in the form of fellow Phillie prospect Joel Naughton (.478, seven RBI) and Minnesota Twins prospect Luke Hughes (.317, two home runs, eight RBI) among others. On the mound, Adam Blackley, who has an yet to give up an earned run in 13 innings of action, and Milwaukee Brewers prospect David Welch, who has struck out 22 in 18 innings pitched while only allowing two runs, have been dominant.

 PREVIEW PUERTO RICO-USA: USA enters Wednesday on a10 game winning streak and avenged their only loss, to Venezuela, on Tuesday. Puerto Rico had a five game winning streak stopped by Canada’s pitching Tuesday.

Puerto Rico will look to create havoc on offense, leading the tournament through two rounds in On Base Percentage (.408) and second in stolen bases (11). The team is led by Toronto Blue Jays prospect Angel Sanchez (.400) and Baltimore Orioles prospect Miguel Abreu, their second leading hitter at .366 (15 hits) and a team best 9 runs scored. Puerto Rico has a tournament high NINE players with Major League experience on their roster in addition to their rising stars.

The United States hopes to continue to ride their hot offense, which leads the tournament in home runs after the first two rounds (31), slugging percentage (.650), and was second in hits (119). The US pitching boasts a 2.04 team ERA, and have three starters now at 2-0. Wednesday night’s game between the USA and Puerto Rico will start at 8pm (CET) in Firenze, Italy. Game stats can be followed on CBS stat tracker onwww.2009baseballworldcup.com.

PREVIEW CANADA-VENEZUELA: Canada’s pitching and defense continue to improve, the latest example being Tuesday night’s one hitter led by Milwaukee Brewers prospect Nick Bucci, who combined with Trystan Magnuson, Dustin Molleken and Jimmy Henderson for the one hit shutout.

 The 9-2 Canadian squad faces off with Venezuela. Venezuela hopes the bat of Rene Reyes can stay hot and ignite some offense, which has seemed to abandon the team as of late.

The Canadians have scored 9.3 rpg in their 9-2 run thus far, and are led by Minnesota Twins prospect Rene Tosoni .390 3 HR, 11 RBI.

PREVIEW CHINESE TAIPEI-CUBA: Cuba will face off against Chinese Taipei in Nettuno for the second series of games from Round Three of the 2009 Baseball World Cup. The Cuban pitching staff continued its World Cup mastery today, holding the tournament’s leading hitting team, Australia, to just one run. Pitcher Norge Vera improved to 3-0 today, and has allowed just one run in 20.2 innings far. The Cuban staff has amassed 114 strikeouts thought the first two rounds (second only to Japan’s total of 120) and given up only 24 walks and three home runs. Freddy Alvarez is 2-0 and has allowed one earned run in 15 innings and Miguel Gonzalez struck out ten consecutive batters against Puerto Rico in his first start (13 overall in 6 1/3 innings), one short of the World Cup mark of 11 set by former Major Leaguer Burt Hooton (Dodgers and Cubs) of the USA in 1971. The Cuban hitting is led by veteran Alfredo Despagne, who is now hitting .447 with 7 HR and 13 RBI in their 10-1 run thus far.

Lin Han leads the way for Chinese Taipei, hitting at a .415 clip, and Yen-Feng Lin sports an impressive .60 ERA over 15 innings. Chinese Taipei heads into the matchup Wednesday with a 1-3 record. Wednesday’s matchup will be played at 8:00p.m. (CET) in Nettuno, Italy. The game can be seen using live streaming atwww.2009baseballworldcup.com, or with CBS Sports StatTracker.

CROWDED TRAFFIC ON THE WEB: The IBAF’s official site, Ibaf.org has attracted over 250,000 visitors and several million page views in the first two weeks of the world cup, coming from over 150 countries, an increase of over 60% from during its last heavy visit period which was the Beijing Olympics.

WINNERS REMAINING IN THE FIELD: Of the eight teams advancing to the final round, four have won at least one of the 38 previous World Cups…Cuba is the leader with 25, followed by the United States (3), Venezuela (3) and Puerto Rico (1)…the last European country to win was also the first…Great Britain in 1938…the last Asian team to win was Korea in 1982…Australia’s best finish was sixth in 2007…

CUP HISTORY: This is the 38th time the Baseball World Cup has been played…it was an annual event from 1938 until 1953 and then was discontinued until 1961 in Costa Rica…it went to an event every four years in 1965 and 1969 and then back to an annual event from 1969-1976…the format then moved to every other year from 1978-1990, became a four year event in ’94 and ’98, and starting in 2001 has been played every other year…two World Cups were also played in 1973, one hosted and won by Cuba and the other hosted by Nicaragua and won by the United States.

HOST COUNTRIES: This is the first time the Baseball World Cup was held in multiple nations since its formation in 1938…Italy will host the final for the fourth time, after hosting it in 1978, 1988, and 1998…Cuba has won all three times Italy has hosted the World Cup….

THE WORLD CUP IN EUROPE: This is the seventh time Europe has hosted the World Cup…Great Britain hosted and won the inaugural Cup in 1938, defeating the United States…other than Italy (three times), the Netherlands hosted the World Cup in 1986 and 2005…other than the win by Great Britain in 1938, all of the other six World Cups held in Europe have been won by Cuba.

GLOBAL HOSTS OF THE CUP: Cuba has hosted the Cup the most times (10), while Nicaragua (5), Italy (4) and Colombia (4) have been the hosts the second and third most. Each of the three North American countries…the United States (’74) , Mexico (’51) and Canada (’90) have hosted the event once…Japan (’80), Korea (’82) and Chinese Taipei (2001 and ’07) have been Asian hosts…Venezuela has hosted the event three times and the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica have hosted the Cup once.

HOST DOES NOT FIND GOLD AGAIN: Italy’s failure to reach the final eight continues a tough run for World Cup host countries. The host country won eight of the first nine titles (Great Britain, Cuba four times, Venezuela twice, Columbia), but since 1948 the host team has only won the Gold Medal eight times…Cuba (’52, ’71,’73, ’84,’03) Colombia (’65), USA (’74), and Korea (’82)…Cuba’s win in 2003 was the only time in the last nine events the World Cup has been won by the host country and was also one of two times in the last nine the host country won a medal (host Chinese Taipei won Bronze in 2001).

RECORDBREAKERS THUS FAR: The World Cup thus far has seen several team and World Cup records tied for fall. They include:

The USA’s Justin Smoak has set the USA World Cup record with nine home runs thus far.

Cuban pitcher Miguel Gonzalez striking out ten consecutive batters against Puerto Rico in his first start (13 overall in 6 1/3 innings), one short of the World Cup mark of 11 set by former Major Leaguer Burt Hooton (Dodgers and Cubs) of the USA in 1971.

Australia pitcher and Milwaukee Brewers pitching prospect David Welch set an Australian record with 13 strikeouts in just seven innings Tuesday against Chinese Taipei.

USA pitcher and California Angels prospect Trevor Reckling, had 11 K’s against China last Saturday, tying the team mark of pitcher Burt Hooten, who fanned 11 consecutive batters in 1970. USA infielder and Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Pedro Alvarez set a team mark by hitting three home runs in Thursday’s win over Chinese Taipei

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