In a must-win situation for both teams, the Dutch totally humiliated Cuba in a walk over. It was painful to see how Cuba was slaughtered by the Dutch. As a fan, you always hope for an exciting game, but this one was very lopsided as the Dutch beat Cuba 14-1 in seven innings.
Diegomar Markwell was given the nod by manager Hensley Meulens. The 36-year old left-hander did not disappoint as he cruised through the first six innings, allowing only one run on four hits.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands struck early. After Xander Bogaerts drew a five pitch walk, Jurickson Profar singled and advanced Bogaerts to third before Wladimir Balentien blasted a solo homerun to left field.
In the second inning, with two outs, Kalian Sams doubled down the left field line. Then Andrelton Simmons singled on a line drive to center field, that allowed Kalian Sams to score. The Dutch threatened a bit more with runners on first and second but could not cash in as Jurickson Profar hit a sharp grounder to first base, that was fielded nicely by Cuban first baseman Willian Saavedra.
Wladimir Balentien showed that he was hot. The first pitch that he saw in the third inning, was belted away for a solo leadoff homerun to give the Dutch a 5-0 lead. With two outs, catcher Shawn Zarraga was almost hit in the head when reliever Vladimir Garcia hit him on the shoulder. Garcia clearly had no intention to hit him as he came rushing to him to apologize. With Zarraga on first, Yurendell deCaster slammed a two-run shot to right field to give the Dutch a 7-0 lead.
The 7-0 lead did not stop the Dutch from pushing any further. Andrelton Simmons drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a flyout to deep right center field by Xander Bogaerts and was driven in by Jurickson Profar, who hit a sharp line drive to right field. It was clear that Cuba wasn’t very sharp when Wladimir Balentien hit into what should have been a force out at second. The hit was nicely fielded by shortstop Alexander Ayala, who threw the ball towards second baseman Yurisbel Gracial, who failed to catch the ball. With runners on first and second, Didi Gregorius hit a fly out to right field that allowed Profar to advance to third. Profar would score on Jonathan Schoop’s line drive to left field. Wladimir Balentien would advance to third on the hit. After Shawn Zarraga loaded the bases with a walk, Yurendell deCaster singled through the right side to drive in two more runs to give the Dutch an 11-0 lead. A wild pitch by Jonder Martinez allowed Shawn Zarraga to score the fifth run of the inning before Kalian Sams would fly out to right field for the final out.
But the anguish wasn’t over yet for Cuba. In the top of the fifth inning, Leandro Martinez retired the first two hitters before he gave up a double to Jurickson Profar, whose replacement, pinch runner Randolph Oduber was driven in by Wladimir Balentien, who hit a sharp grounder to left field. Eventually, Kalian Sams hit a leadoff homerun to center field to extend the lead to the final score of 14-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
The Dutch slowed down as Hensley Meulens made a couple of defensive switches as he replaced Andrelton Simmons with Stijn van der Meer, Xander Bogaerts with Dwayne Kemp, Jurickson Profar with Randolph Oduber and Jonathan Schoop with his older brother Sharlon in the fifth inning.
In the bottom of that fifth inning, Victor Mesa finally drove in the first run for the Cubans with a double to left field.
Eventually, Shairon Martis finished the game in the seventh. He gave up a single to Willian Saavedra but retired the other three batters that he faced.
Winning pitcher was Diegomar Markwell. Best hitters for the Dutch were Juricksion Profar and Wladimir Balentien as both went 3 for 4. But Balentien drove in five runs and scored three as he hit two homeruns. Cuba was outhit 13-5.
With this win the Dutch has secured a play in game for sure. In case Israel beats Japan later today, both teams will face each other tomorrow. But if Japan pulls off a win, the Asians and the Dutch will advance to the championship round at Dodger Stadium.
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