U.S. CLINCHES A SPOT IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, AWAITS THE WINNER FROM POOL 1
Below are IBAF updates for today. Check out USA CUBA on the MLB Network at 2pm live from nettuno. Photo below is in Grosetto where kevin is taking care of the field.
The Netherlands and Canada both enter their third round matchup sitting in second place in their respective groups. For Netherlands, the game provides a chance to move one step closer to the championship match, while the Canadians look to improve upon their best ever finish, which was 5th in 1988.
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 Sharlon Shoop (.464) and Hainley Statia (.417) and catcher Sidney de Jong (.435). Others who have been impressive include former major leaguer Randall Simon, who went 3-5 with 3 RBI’s in the victory against Chinese Taipei, and first baseman Sharnol Adriana, who also added 3 RBI’s in the win.
The Canadians are led by MLB Futures Game MVP Rene Tosini, who is hitting .388 with three home runs, 15 RBI’s and two stolen bases. Teammates Adam Stern and Jimmy Van Ostrand are also hitting over .300. Amazingly, the Canadian pitching staff has two members who have yet to give up an earned run in extended work; Matt Kniginyzky (18.0 innings pitched) and Nick Bucci (14.1 innings pitched).
Cuba – United States:
In a rematch of the 2007 Baseball World Cup, Thursday night promises to be an exciting rematch between the United States and Cuba, and a potential preview for the Championship game on Sunday. Cuba will look to avenge its loss to the USA in the 2007 World Cup Championship game, when the US beat them to take home the World Cup crown. Heading into the match, both teams are 2-0 in the Third Round so far. With the United States 5-0 record against teams in this round thus far this tournament, they are currently in first place in pool 2 and have already clinched a spot in the finals of the Baseball World Cup. Cuba has defeated Australia 2-1 and Chinese Taipei 8-0 in the Third Round thus far, while the USA has defeated Venezuela 6-3 and Puerto Rico 3-0.
Cuba is 4-1 in the tournament against the final 8 teams, putting them atop pool 1. Therefore, Thursday night’s game has huge implications for the Cubans, who can put themselves in an ideal position to face the USA again in the finals with a win tomorrow night. Both teams have been very impressive so far this tournament, with both teams with an overall record of 11-1.
One of the most intriguing stories coming into this match-up is Justin Smoak of the USA (.341 AVG, 9 HR, 19 RBI) and Alfredo Despaigne of Cuba (.442 AVG, 9 HR, 15 RBI), are tied for the record of most HR’s in a World Cup tournament at 9 apiece. Both have gathered lots of attention throughout the tournament.
Venezuela – Australia:
Day three of Round Three of the 2009 Baseball World Cup will see a slew of interesting games. Although Venezuela enters the game 0-5, they are stiff competition for Australia (2-3). Australia defeated the Netherlands 5-2 after losing tough games to the USA 4-3 and Cuba 2-1. In their game against the Netherlands, Liam Hendriks led the way by hurling six innings of scoreless baseball, while Luke Hughes provided the offense, hitting two home runs and knocking in four runs. Australia is led by Dushan Luzic who has a 0.00 ERA in 18 innings but remains at 1-1 because of 3 unearned runs. On the offensive side, Luke Hughes is hitting .313 with 4 home runs and 12 RBI’s.
Venezuela (0-5) lost to Canada on Wednesday night 9-2. Orlando Perdomo took the loss for Venezuela when he was hit up for four runs in the second inning, and only lasted 1 2/3 innings. Rene Reyes provided the Venezuelan offense by hitting a two-run seventh inning home run, and now has 4 home runs and 18 RBI’s in the tournament. Also leading the way for Venezuela is Lino Connel, hitting .370 over 12 games, and Luis Torres who has a 0.00 ERA over 10 innings.
The third round of the 2009 Baseball World Cup has been a difficult road for Puerto Rico and Chinese Taipei. Both teams come into their Thursday match up with an 0-2 record, and face a hard road in order to advance further in this tournament.
Puerto Rico, who entered the third round with an 8-2 record, has dropped two straight to Canada and the United States respectively, and have yet to score a run, losing both matches by the score of 3-0.
Chinese Taipei has been outscored by a combined run total of 19-2 in their two third round match-ups. Prior to the last two games, they had won 5 of their last 7.
Puerto Rico’s offensive attack is lead by power hitting Miguel Abreu and Luis Matos, who are both hitting over .300 for the tournament. Chinese Taipei is headlined by Han Lin, who boasts an impressive .409 batting average through 12 games.
WEDNESDAY GAME RECAPS:
USA 3 Puerto Rico 0: Behind a dominant pitching performance from Todd Redmond, the U.S. (5-0) defeated Puerto Rico (2-3) and guaranteed itself a place in the World Cup gold medal final. Redmond tossed 8 1/3 shutout innings, struck out four and walked only one for the win. Jason Childers recorded the final two outs for the save. Team USA’s leading hitter, Jon Weber, continued his torrid pace, going 2-for-4 with a home run, and leadoff man Buck Coats hit a home run as well, on a 3-for-3 night at the plate. The victory keeps the U.S. perfect at 5-0 in Pool G, with Canada alone in second, two games back at 3-2. With only two pool games remaining and with the U.S. owning any tie-breaker against Canada (head to head in Round 2), the defending World Cup champions have punched their ticket to Sunday’s final in Nettuno. The loss was Puerto Rico’s second 3-0 defeat in as many Round 3 games. Pool F’s No. 2 seed coming in has yet to score a run to back up its solid pitching. Sta rter Efrain Nieves went 4 1/3 innings, allowing only three hits and two earned runs in the loss, and Irving Falu led Puerto Rico’s hitters, going 2-for-4.
Canada 9 Venezuela 2: Canada (3-2) continued its perfect run through Round 3 on Wednesday night, defeating Venezuela (0-5), 9-2. The win moves Canada to 3-2 in the round and alone in second place in Pool G. The Canadians started quickly with four runs in the second inning and they never looked back. Eight of nine of the Canadian starters had at least one hit, with four players recording two each. Rene Tosoni was at it again, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Matt Kniginyzky contributed another stellar performance off the mound for Canada, throwing six shutout innings and striking out three for the win. Orlando Perdomo had been among the Venezuelans top arms coming into the game, but he was tagged for all four of the runs in the second frame, and he was chased from the game only two outs into the inning. Rene Reyes drove in both of the Venezuela runs in the seventh inning, courtesy of a home run. Canada/Venezuela was the first World Cup game to be hoste d by Chieti – one of the areas affected by the devastating earthquake that ripped through Italy in April of this year.
Cuba 9 Chinese Taipei 2: Cuba (4-1) knocked off Chinese Taipei (1-4), 9-2, Wednesday, and coupled with the Netherlands loss, it now stands alone in first place in Pool F, with two pool games remaining. The Cubans were in control throughout, buoyed by a dominating performance from starter Miguel Gonzalez, who struck out eight and walked only one in seven shutout innings. Jonder Martinez pitched two scoreless frames to slam the door on the win. At the plate, Cuba was once again led by Alfredo Despaigne, who, in a 2-for-5 night, added two more home runs to his World Cup leading total of nine (tied with Justin Smoak, USA). The total also ties him with Orestes Kindelan for the most home runs by a Cuban player in a World Cup (1990). Frederich Cepeda tacked on three RBIs as well – two of which were on a home run in the first inning. Chia-Chun Tang took the loss for Chinese Taipei, surrendering five runs in 3 1/3 innings. Five Chinese Taipei batters recorded one hit each.
Australia 5 Netherlands 2: After two-straight nail-biting losses for Australia (2-3), it staged an eighth-inning rally to defeat the Netherlands (3-2), 5-2. On the heels of a 4-3 loss to the USA to close out Round 2, and a 2-1 defeat to open Round 3, the Aussies were looking to turn things around on Wednesday. Liam Hendriks continued the night’s trend of strong starting pitching performances, hurling six innings of two-hit, scoreless baseball. Luke Hughes had another huge night at the plate for Australia, belting two home runs and tallying four RBIs. The Dutch stayed in the game late, scoring one run in each of the seventh and eighth innings, but their offense was never really in sync. Randall Simon led the way, going 2-for-4 with one runs scored and an RBI. Hard-luck starter Tom Stuifbergen threw five shutout frames of his own for the Netherlands, but the relievers gave up five earned the rest of the way.
TWO TIED FOR THE HOME RUN LEAD: With his two home runs tonight against Chinese Taipei, Alfredo Despaigne has tied the Cuban record of 9 for a single World Cup. Orestes Kindelan also had 9 in Italy in 1990. Despaigne is also now tied with the United States Justin Smoak for the tournament lead.
TV COVERAGE EXPANDS AGAIN: The International Baseball Federation today announced additional game coverage for the final games of the 2009 Baseball World Cup, currently taking place in Italy. In the United States, the MLB Network will add the USA vs. Cuba game on Thursday 24 September at 2:00 p.m. EDT, as well as the championship game from Nettuno, Italy on Sunday 27 September at 9:00 a.m. EDT. NOS in the Netherlands will add three additional games involving the Dutch team, including today’s game against Australia, tomorrow’s game against Canada and Friday’s game against the USA. This television coverage is in addition to already announced local broadcasts in Cuba, Venezuela and Italy, as well as on Eurosport2 across Europe.
FIRST GAME IN CHIETI: The Canada-Venezuela game marked the first time that a 2009 Baseball World Cup game was played in Chieti. Chieti is also scheduled to host the Chinese Taipei – Puerto Rico match tomorrow and the Australia – Puerto Rico game on Friday.
MLB INTERNATIONAL OPENS CHINA ACADEMY: Another example of baseball’s growing global footprint was announced today, as Major League Baseball International announced the opening of a baseball development center in Wuxi, China. The new academy will provide professional baseball training for middle school and high school-aged students within an academic setting. This is the latest and boldest step in the development of baseball in China. An initiative which began in 2001, continued through the Beijing Olympics and will grow into the future.
CROWDED TRAFFIC ON THE WEB: The IBAF’s official site, www.ibaf.org, has attracted over 250,000 visitors and several million page views during the first two weeks of the World Cup. These viewers have come 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 and 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).
RECORD-BREAKERS 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.
– Alfredo Despaigne has tied the Cuban World record with nine home runs.
– 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