PC: MLB Properties
Today’s game was the final scheduled matchup for The Netherlands in Round 2 of the WBC. Their opponent? Cuba. Heading into the game Cuba was down 0-2 and The Netherlands were 1-1 having lost to Japan and beaten Israel earlier in the week.
The Netherlands wasted no time in this game leaving the top of the first with a 3-0 lead. Wladimir Balentien, who was hitting an astounding .636 through five games with 10 hits, 5 runs and 5 RBIs coming into the day, hit a three-run shot down the left field line. Bogaerts and Profar were driven in on the hit and, just like that, Balentien added three more RBIs to his stats.
In the top of the 2nd Andrelton Simmons singled to center allowing LF Kalian Sams to score. Balentien took his 2nd at bat of the day in the 3rd. The RF hit another shot out to left center this go around for a solo homer, 5-0 The Netherlands. First baseman Yurendell Decaster then took a pitch out of the park in the same spot bringing around Shawn Zarraga to score and The Kingdom left the inning up by seven.
In the 4th it was time for some new blood to have their chance at upping their RBI totals. Jurickson Profar singled to right sending Andrelton Simmons home. Jonathan Schoop then went to the other side to get Profar back to the dugout. Not to be outdone, Decaster singled back to right and Balentien scored along with Schoop. There was a throwing error and the runners advanced into scoring position. That set up the next play. On a wild pitch with Kaliam Sams at the plate, Zaggara, who had advanced to 3rd on the previous error, took the plate and The Netherlands were up 12-0.
In the top of the 5th Balentien was once again wielding a bat. This time he used it to drive in Randolph Oduber with a single to left. In the bottom of the inning Cuba would manage to get on the board with a double to left by Victor Mesa that drove in Willian Saavedra. At the end of five, it was The Netherlands 13, Cuba 1. That would be the first, and last inning that Cuba scored.
At the top of the 7th Sams sent a solo shot deep to center upping the score by one and finishing the offensive side of the game for the day. The Netherlands would take the game in seven on the mercy rule with a final score of 14-1. On the day Ballentien went 3-4 with 3 hits, 5 RBIs and 2 homeruns. With his bat, and some outstanding defense, The Netherlands gained the luxury of a mercy rule win.
Defensively, The Netherlands used just two pitchers the entire game. Diagomar Markwell pitched six complete innings giving up just four hits and one run with only one strikeout and no walks finishing the game with a 1.35 ERA. Cuba left just eight men on base but they also only struck out once. This means that the Netherlands’ defense, as a whole, deserves credit because they were fielding a lot of pop ups and grounders to keep Cuba out of the game.
The final pool game between Israel and Japan takes place this afternoon at 11:00 CET. Japan is currently 2-0 and Israel is 1-1, having lost to The Netherlands and beaten Cuba.