Santiago de Veraguas (Panama) - The Netherlands are pretty close to making history. After beating (4-1) Cuba, they became the first European team in 73 years to compete for a gold medal in the IBAF World Cup.
The Dutch deserved to win. Starter Orlando Yntema and reliever Leon Boyd were extremely solid on the mound and the offense beat Cuba with their own weapon: the long ball. All of the runs for The Netherlands came actually on home runs, a couple of 2 run dingers by Brian Engelhardt and Kalian Sams.
The Netherlands give some rest to catcher Sydney DeJong, who is in the line up as the designated hitter,and start 22 year old Zarraga, a Brewers' Minor Leaguer from Aruba. Kemp is in left field. Orlando Yintema is the starting pitcher. Cuba plays Reyes at third instead of Michel Enriquez, but for the rest has the everyday lineup. Miguel Gonzalez is the starting pitcher.
Kemp leads off the game hitting a hard bouncer to shortstop and reaches on an error. Shortstop Mariekson Gregorius scares Cuba with a mammooth shot to right, but the ball is just foul. The inning ends on a trap between first and second. Arruebarruena has to sprint for the tag and probably would not succeed, if Kemp didn't overslide the bag.
The dutch take the lead in the second. Gonzalez walks Curt Smith and veteran Brian Engelhardt drives his first pitch miles from home plate, over the right field fence, for a 2 run homer.
Cuba is on the scoreboard in the fourth. Frederich Cepeda leads off smashing one off the left field wall for a double and Alfredo Despaigne follows with a a hard liner to left that scores Cepeda. Gourriel sends to left field the third cuban hit in a row but, after a long duel, Abreu strikes out on a check swing and pinch hitters Duvergel (for Reyes) and Alarcon (for Pestano)ground out. Michel Enriquez takes over at third, while Alarcon stays in the game as Cuba new catcher.
In the fifth, Cuba defense shines bright. Arruebarruena shows his phenomenal range and unbelieveable coordination to get Jonathan Schoop on a grounder hit to the right side of the second base bag and Enriquez stops a bullet hit by Gregorius to start a double play. But in between, The Netherlands strike again. Zarraga reaches on a base hit and center fielder Kalian Sams drives an 0-2 hanger by Gonzalez in dead center for another 2 run homer. Cuba gives the call to the bull pen and the new pitcher is right hander Yonder Martinez.
The Netherlands give the call to the bull pen after five solid innings by Yintema. The new pitcher is right hander Leon Boyd. The newcomer walks Despaigne and gives up a base hit to Yiulesky Gourriel. Abreu is the first out, when he hits a towering pop to center field. Michel Enriquez makes better contact, but the ball is easy to catch for rightfielder Sams. Boyd gets then Alarcon swinging on his nasty slider.
Boyd retires the side also in the seventh. Arruebarruena strikes out looking, Castillo hits a deep grounder to shortstop but ends up testing Gregorius plus arm and Bell hits a soft grounder that is no hard business for the dutch shortstop.