In their opening matchup against reigning U15 World Champion Cuba, the Kingdom of the Netherlands was no match for their opponent. Not that they were outscored but the lineup was completely kept in check by the Cuban pitchers. Eventually the Dutch lost 4-1.
In the seven-inning game, the Dutch were limited to five hits. Starting pitcher Arlison Rodriguez lasted two innings in which he gave up two runs on four hits, walked two and struck out four. Rodriguez needed a lot of pitches as he threw a lot of balls but also because the Cubans fouled off a lot of pitches.
In the third inning, Dorian Lippens took over on the mound. Thanks to a throwing error by the catcher on a stealing attempt and a passed ball, he had to surrender a run in the third inning.
In the fourth inning with Arjen Nijkamp on the mound, Cuba showed how to produce a run. With one out, Luis Maikol Estacholi Piedra drew a walk then stole second base and advanced to third on a sac bunt towards third base. A fielding error by the Dutch second baseman on Dyan Yamel Jorge Hernandez’ “hit”, allowed him to score Cuba’s fourth run.
In the top of the fifth inning, Cuban starting pitcher Brander Guevara Valdez got in a bases-loaded jam with one out. He struggled with his control as he let Donovan Antonia slip away after he had thrown two strikes. So with the bases loaded, Antonia walked in the first run for the Dutch but they could not cash in more as Darnel Collins grounded out to second base on a 3-2 count for the final out of the inning after fouling off seven times.
The Cuban manager put a lot of trust in his starting pitcher as he let him pitch
121-pitch complete game, hardly healthy at that age five innings in which he threw 96 pitches (unlike what the WBSC website is telling: a 121 pitch complete game), hardly healthy at that age. Nevertheless, he kept the Dutch in check very well as he limited them to only five hits and one run. He walked three and struck out nine Dutch batters.
Best hitter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands was Luca Pastor, who went 2 for 3. Donavan Antonia, who went 1 for 3 had the most impact as he drove in the sole run for the Dutch.
Of the three pitchers manager Michael Duursma used, Yirzeel Burnet had he best outing as he kept the Cubans scoreless in 2.1 innings, giving up three hits, walking and fanning two.
In group A, Germany was no-hit in six innings by Brazil and the USA beat up China as they beat them 27-0 in four innings on only twelve hits and ten (!) errors in five mercy-rule innings.