(Story by Marco Stoovelaar)
Puerto Rico beats USA; Meets Netherlands in Semi-Final
SAN DIEGO, California (USA) -
Puerto Rico won 6-5 against the USA on Friday-evening (March 17) in Pool F in the Second Round of the World Baseball Classic.
The won not only was the second for Puerto Rico, it also meant that the team has qualified for the Final Round.
Furthermore, Puerto Rico will finish in first place and with that, it will be the opponent of the Netherlands Kingdom Team in the Semi-Final coming Monday in Los Angeles.
The Netherlands finished in second place in Pool E behind Japan.
The Netherlands and Japan are currently in Arizona where they will play an exhibition game on Saturday-evening against a Major League-squad.
The teams will then travel to Los Angeles for the Final Round.
Puerto Rico opened Pool F with a 3-1 victory against reigning WBC-champion Dominican Republic.
The USA came from behind in its first game against Venezuela on Wednesday to win 4-2.
Team USA is now 1-1.
Pool F will close on Saturday.
Puerto Rico then will meet Venezuela in the afternoon, while the Dominicans meet the USA in the evening.
The winner of this last game will be the second team from this Pool to advance to the Semi-Final and thus the opponent of Japan.
Even when Puerto Rico ends up empty handed against Venezuela, it will end up in first place.
It will then tie with either the Dominicans or the USA and Puerto Rico has won against both.
Puerto Rico decided the game against the Americans early, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first inning off of starter Marcus Stroman (Toronto Blue Jays).
Angel Pagan and Francisco Lindor began with singles.
Hereafter, Carlos Correa, Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina all delivered runscoring singles to make it 3-0.
The bases then got loaded when Javier Baez hit the sixth consecutive single.
Eddie Rosario then became the first out when he hit a sacrifice fly, which led to the next run.
It also led to a double play, as Molina was eliminated at third base when he also tried to advance.
The USA got one run back in the second inning when Nolan Arenado led off with a double and scored on a following single by Eric Hosmer.
The Americans scored their next run in the fifth when Buster Posey led off with a homerun, then narrowed the deficit to 4-3 in the sixth when Adam Jones homered with one out.
Leading 4-3, Puerto Rico took some more distance again when it scored two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Javier Baez then led off and was hit by a pitch.
After he had stolen second base, Andrew Miller took over the pitching from Mychal Givens.
Miller walked Eddie Rosario, but struckout the next two batters.
In between, Baez and Rosario executed a successful double steal to put them at second and third base.
A grounder by Angel Pagan then appeared to become the third out, but instead, a throwing error by third baseman Nolan Arenado followed, enabling both Baez and Rosario to score and make it a 6-3 score.
The suspense rose in the top of the ninth inning when the USA scored twice.
New pitcher Edwin Diaz walked Nolan Arenado, then gave up a single to Eric Hosmer.
Diaz then struckout the next two batters, but then Brandon Crawford followed with a triple that made it 6-5.
But with Crawford on third base, Diaz ended the inning and the game with a strikeout.
Dominicans shutout Venezuela. (March 16)
Netherlands to play exhibition game; Jansen joins team. (March 16)
USA comes from behind to win against Venezuela. (March 15)
Big win Netherlands vs. Cuba; in Semi-Finals after Japan wins. (March 15)
Puerto Rico defeats Dominicans in Second Round-opener. (March 14)
Japan wins vs. Cuba, but Pool is not decided yet. (March 14)
Venezuela comes from behind & eliminates Italy. (March 13)
A dream come true for Dutch WBC-umpire Winfried Berkvens. (March 13)
Netherlands wins convincingly against Israel. (March 13)
Three teams qualify for 2nd Round; Tie-breaker Italy vs. Venezuela. (March 12)
Netherlands ends up short in extra innings vs. Japan. (March 12)
WBC-wins for Colombia, Venezuela & Dominican Republic. (March 11)
USA needs extra inning to win; Puerto Rico wins big. (March 10)
Cuba advances to Second Round WBC; Australia eliminated. (March 10)
Italy wins opener on walk-off single; Dominicans win big. (March 9)
Netherlands empty-handed vs. Israel; finishes 2nd in Pool. (March 9)
Orange in 2nd Round WBC after walk-off win; Israel also in. (March 8)
Netherlands opens WBC with shutout vs. South Korea. (March 7)
Israel upsets South Korea in WBC-opener with 10-inning win. (March 6)
Netherlands Team closes WBC-preparations with loss. (March 5)
Netherlands Team wins big in Korean exhibition game. (March 3)
Netherlands closes exhibition series in Arizona with loss. (February 25)
First game Netherlands vs. Twins ends in tie. (February 24)
Netherlands Team wins big in exhibition game vs. Geckos. (February 23)
Exhibition losses Netherlands Team in Arizona. (February 20)
Orange roster announced for World Baseball Classic. (February 8)
Netherlands Team to prepare in Arizona. (February 8)