Game Notes: The 2007 IBAF World Cup
Team USA beats Cuba; wins first World Cup since 1974
USA 6 - CUBA 3
Nov. 18, 2007
TEAM USA RESULTS
|USA 3 - MEX 0
|USA 7 - PAN 0
|ITL 6 - USA 2
|USA 5 - JPN 1
|USA 12 - SPAIN 1
|USA 4 - S Africa 2
|USA 10 - Taipei 7
|USA 3 - Korea 1
|USA 5 - NETH 0
|USA 6 - CUBA 3
GOLDEN BOYS! TEAM USA BEAT CUBA; WIN FIRST WORLD CUP GOLD SINCE 1974: Once again two international baseball powerhouses faced off on the world stage for gold as Team USA and Cuba squared off in Taiwan in the gold medal game at the 2007 IBAF World Cup. Cuban starter Yadel Marti opposed Team USA's Brian Duensing at Tien Mou Stadium in Taipei City .
With one out in the second, three consecutive singles from the USA, Delwyn Young, Justin Ruggiano and Jason Jaramillo, put USA on the board first 1-0. Brian Bixler then walked to load the bases, ending Marti's night after just 1 1/3 innings. Reliever Norberto Gonzalez came in and walked Colby Rasmus and Jayson Nix, increasing USA's ead to 3-0. Yuniesky Maya, Cuba's third pitcher, faced Andy LaRoche, and with a 2-2 count, Cuban second baseman Hector Olivera called time and walked over to SS Eduardo Paret. Olivera then clutched his right ankle and called for the trainers. After a seven minute delay, Olivera was lifted for Rudy Reyes and LaRoche was struck out on the next pitch. Knowing Cuba has a history of trying to take the completion out of it's game by making questionable moves, SA expected the unexpected and didn't get rattled.
In the third, Evan Longoria led off the inning with a single. With one out, Justin Ruggiano singled for the second time in as many at-bats. With runners on first and third, Jason Jaramillo ripped an RBI double to right, his second hit, scoring Longoria and giving Team USA a 4-0 lead.
Brian Duensing was nearly perfect through the first three innings, yielding just one hit. Jayson Nix led off the fourth with a solo blast for his second home run of the tournament giving USA a 5-0 advantage. Duensing pitched into the fifth and with two outs and a runner on first, Paret singled to left and Delwyn Young over ran the hit allowing both runners to advance. Cuban lead off hitter Alfredo Despaigne then ripped a single to right scoring two and pulling Cuba closer, 5-2. Manager Davey Johnson then pulled Duensing for Steven Shell who induced a groundout to short to end the inning.
In the seventh, Evan Longoria led off with a single and Delwyn Young crushed a double off the right field wall. With second and third and no outs, Ruggiano then dropped a single to center scoring Longoria and increasing the lead, 6-2. Young, trying to score from second, was thrown out by centerfielder Alfredo Despaigne.
Shell was great in relief, striking out three over as many innings. But a two-out double from Yulesky Gourriel and a single from Alexander Mayeta made it a 6-3 game. Jerry Blevins relieved Shell and got the final out of the eight and Team USA found themselves three outs away from their first gold medal at the World Cup since the Ford administration.
In the ninth, Blevins got Yoandry Urgelles to ground to third for the first out. Manager Davey Johnson then bought in Jeff Stevens to face the former Cuban batting champ Osmani Urrutia. Stevens got Urrutia swinging for the second out. Cuban catching legend Ariel Pestano then popped a ball down the right field line on a 2-2 pitch. When Justin Ruggiano settled under it, a sea of Red, White and Blue came pouring out of the dugout onto the field as Team USA mobbed each other behind the pitcher's mound. USA snapped Cuba's invincibility at the World Cup as well as their winning streak of nine straight World Cup gold medals. For the first time in 33 years, the gold was theirs.
As Team USA took the podium to accept their flower bouquets, World Cup trophy and most importantly their gold medals, they turned to look at the American flag flying on the video screen as the Star Spangled Banner played over the PA far away from home in Taipei City, Taiwan.
BIG FIRSTS: Entering today's game Team USA had scored 11 first inning runs in their last six games, and homered in the first inning in five of the six games. Andy LaRoche is 5-8 with a walk in the first inning during this tournament.
NOTES: USA second baseman Jayson Nix went 2-4 with a HR, 2RBI, R, BB in the finals and was named tournament Most Outstanding Player; Jason Jaramillo was 2-4 with 2 RBI, 1 run scored. Jeff Stevens appeared in 5 World Cup games with yielding a run. Team USA and all other 2007 IBAF World Cup action can be seen live online at www.stadeo.tv.
(1) USA 5 - (3) Netherlands 0
(1) Cuba 5 - (3) Japan 3
QUARTER FINAL RESULTS:
(1) USA 3 - (4) Korea 1
(3) Japan 3 - (2) Australia 0
(3) Netherlands 6 - Chinese Taipei 3, 11innings
(1) Cuba 6 - (4) Mexico 0