3/16/2013 12:45 A.M. ET
Before heading to Bay, DR, PR to settle top seed
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
MIAMI -- Caught up in the moment after Puerto Rico upset Team USA, 4-3, on Friday night, reliever J.C. Romero blurted out his team's goal.
"We want to win!" the lefty said after recording the save. "We want to win it all."
Puerto Rico certainly has a shot, earning a place in the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic by bumping off the United States.
Friday's dramatic win at Marlins Park secured a ticket to San Francisco for Puerto Rico. On Saturday, the underdog squad will look to solidify a favorable seed.
Even though the participants in the final four of the tournament have been set, there is still some unfinished business in Miami.
On Saturday, Puerto Rico will face the Dominican Republic at 1 p.m. ET at Marlins Park to determine how the semifinals will be set up. Saturday's winner will face the Netherlands on Monday, while the loser doesn't get a day to rest. The loser will have to make the cross-country flight and then get ready to face Japan on Sunday at AT&T Park.
"This was my last rodeo here in the World Baseball," Romero said. "That room in there, they believe in themselves. They know on paper you don't win World Series, and you don't win World Baseball Classics."
Like on Friday, few are expecting Puerto Rico to knock off a star-filled Dominican club on Saturday.
The pitching matchup also favors the Dominican Republic, who will go with Wandy Rodriguez. Puerto Rico counters with Orlando Roman. Initially, manager Edwin Rodriguez was going to start Fernando Cabrera. But facing elimination on Friday, Cabrera was used in relief to defeat the United States.
These two teams have already met. In the final game of Round 1 in San Juan, P.R., the Dominican Republic beat Puerto Rico, 4-2.
"The game is very important because that one gives you the seed," Dominican manager Tony Pena said. "I know that my players, they'll be tired. I have played almost the same nine guys every single day."
Even with the seeding stakes, Pena is leaning towards giving some regulars a rest.
"You will see a little bit of a change in the lineup where I might play two [new] guys, and give two other guys some time off because they need time off."
After beating the United States, Puerto Rico is on an emotional high.
"Facing up to a team that is as powerful as the United States, that gives us a lot of confidence," Rodriguez said.
The Dominican Republic has the benefit of a day off.
In the most intense game of Round 2 in Miami, the Dominican club defeated Team USA, 3-1, on Thursday.
Eliminated in the first round of the 2009 Classic, a more focused and determined Dominican squad improved to 5-0 in the tournament.
"I feel so emotional because when we were putting together this team, these young men who are here, they stayed present from the first day," Pena said. "I don't think I'll have a group of young men with the dedication, with the dignity with which they have represented our country."
The Classic remains a relatively new concept. It started in 2006, and this is the third edition of the international event.
In Thursday's win, Erick Aybar's RBI single off Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning scored Nelson Cruz with the go-ahead run.
Cruz, who has been to the World Series with the Rangers, noted the emotions were so high because players are competing for their countries.
"The World Series is the World Series," Cruz said. "Here, I play for my country. I never had a chance to play for my country, and in these situations you always want to give your best. There's no doubt [the emotions] are the best I ever played because of the way the fans responded.
"As a player, I cannot ask for anything else for my fans. They give everything they have, every inning, every day. As a baseball player, I appreciate it."