(Story by Marco Stoovelaar)
Curaçao eliminates Cuba in World Port Tournament
ROTTERDAM (Neth.) -
Curaçao won 5-3 against Cuba in a spectacular and exciting game on Friday-evening (July 7) on Day 7 of the World Port Tournament in Rotterdam (Netherlands).
With the win, Curaçao advances to second Semi-Final, while Cuba was eliminated for the Final.
Earlier on Friday, Chinese Taipei became the first team to reach the Final by winning 4-2 against Japan in the first Semi-Final of the tournament.
In the evening, it was Cuba that opened the score in the first inning when Yusniel Ibañez homered with two outs.
This was only the second homerun of the tournament.
Curaçao answered with two runs with two outs in the second at bat.
With one out, the bases got loaded when Denzel Richardson and Edinho Meyer singled and Reangelo Beaumont walked.
A force out at the plate followed on a grounder by Dennis Gustina, but then two runs were scored when Shurendell Mujica doubled down the rightfield-line.
Cuba came alongside in the bottom of the second inning on a sacrifice fly by Elicier Griñan.
In the fifth, Curaçao re-took the lead when Dennis Gustina led off with a single and scored on a 2-out double by Raywendly Van Gurp.
In the bottom of the sixth, Cuba threatened to do some scoring, as it got the bases loaded with two outs, but then leftfielder Rojean Cleofa made a great diving catch to end the inning.
Cuba came alongside in the seventh.
Dainer Galvez led off with a single.
After a pitching change, his pinch-runner Anibal Medina moved when Yusniel Ibañez walked.
With two outs, Medina scored the tying run on a single by Yoelquis Guibert.
Moments later, Frank Morejón singled into short leftfield.
However, Ibañez was waved home from second base, but was thrown out at the plate, ending the inning.
In the top of the ninth inning, Curaçao took the lead for the third time and this time for good!
With one out, Dennis Gustina singled and scored when Shurendell Mujica hit a triple into the rightfield-corner to give Curaçao a 4-3 lead.
In this game, Mujica singled, doubled and tripled.
With two outs, Raywendly Van Gurp was walked intentionally, but as happened before, a run was scored thererafter.
Also this time.
Van Gurp took off to steal second base, then Mujica raced to the plate, beat the throw and scored an insurance run, making it a 5-3 score.
In the bottom of the ninth, Cuba got the bases loaded with one out.
A pitching change followed.
New pitcher Claysandy Hariquez struckout the first batter he faced, then a flyout ended the game.
And so, the team that had finished the preliminary round in first place with a 3-1 record, was eliminated for the Final.
And the team that finished in fifth place with an 0-4 record now moves on to the Semi-Final with a chance to reach the Final!
Curaçao will meet Japan on Saturday-afternoon with the winner advancing to the Final on Sunday against Chinese Taipei.
Cuba meets the Netherlands on Saturday-evening for fourth and fifth place.