Curt Smith, Andrelton Simmons, and former Yankee, Andruw Jones, all hit well over .300, helping them secure the second spot in the finals.
Pool 2 was made up of Italy, United States, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. This pool was possibly the most interesting to watch. On paper, USA was the better team, but Puerto Rico proved why, in baseball, you cannot rely solely on stats. Don’t get me wrong; team USA did well. David Wright broke out, hitting .438 and earning him the name “Captain America.” But it wasn’t enough when they faced the underdog team from Puerto Rico.
In the finals, Puerto Rico faced Japan, and once again proved that you can’t predict baseball. They faced pitcher Kente Maeda who posted a .60 ERA during the WBC. You read that correctly, .60! The game seemed like an easy win, in favor of Japan. But outstanding plays, like Irving Falu’s Roberto Alomar-esque catch at second base, gave Puerto Rico the edge and the win. For the first time, Japan would not be world champions.
Moises Sierra’s very Derek Jeter like play to grab the ball in the stands, made me giddy! They were playing to win.
The Championship round was amazing! The underdog team from Puerto Rico faced the undefeated team from Dominican Republic. Both teams knew that early runs scored could mean a win or loss. In the end, it was Dominican Republic that won. With players like, Yankees own, Robinson Cano hitting over. 500 the entire series, was there really any doubt?
As a Hispanic American with roots in both Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, I cannot tell you how happy it made me to see these two teams face off at the championships. Both teams played the entire series with a lot of heart and determination, and should be very proud of what they have accomplished. The Hispanic community is thrilled to have had these two teams represent us.
Big congratulations to Robinson Cano for winning the WBC MVP and to Tony Pena doing an amazing job with managing these players and being the first team ever to go undefeated at the World Baseball Classic.