The second round of World Baseball Classic action (for Pools C and D) started today with the heavily favored Dominican Republic taking on Italy and the United States going against Puerto Rico. Across the Pacific, round two has just ended with Japan defeating the Netherlands to take the top seed going into the semi-finals. The Netherlands had to defeat Cuba (which they did 7-6) to move on, but were unable to beat Japan in either of their two matches, losing by a combined score of 26-10. With Cuba eliminated, there is now no question that the top two teams left are Japan and the Dominican Republic.
In their first game in Miami, the Dominicans came back to win against an Italian team that no one thought would get this far. Carlos Santana walked again, but was left out of the scoring. Team Italy scored all their runs in the first inning, three coming off another Chris Colabello (AA for Minnesota) home run. Edinson Volquez then settled down for the DR while Robinson Cano and Edwin Encarnacion combined to take back the lead. After Volquez was pulled, the Republic Dominica allowed just two more base runners for the rest of the game. They will get tomorrow off and play team USA at 7:00 pm EDT Thursday night.
David Wright came through again for the Americans and has now earned the nickname "Captain America." Tonight he knocked in five of team USA's 7 runs although two were enough as a strong outing by Gio Gonzalez kept team Puerto Rico to a single run scored. Cleveland's Vinnie Pestano pitched the seventh, earning his first hold of the tournament and striking a batter out. Pestano did give up a single during his inning pitched and it came off the bat of fellow Indian Mike Aviles. Aviles started at short stop before moving to third. He was hitless in his other three at bats. Tomorrow, Puerto Rico will play against team Italy in a must win game where the loser will be knocked out of the tournament. The winner will then go on to face the loser of the DR vs USA game.
The Captain Himself