Panama City - The Netherlands make history. The dutch beat (2-1) Cuba in the final and become only the second european team to win the IBAF World Cup after the 1938 Great Britain. The Netherlands played a game close to perfection, with veteran right hander Rob Cordemans shining bright on the mound and young stars Shairon Schoop and Mariekson Gregorius delivering key defensive plays. David Bergman got the final two outs in the ninth and earned the save, Cuba was limited to a mere hit for seven innings and The Netherlands, who beat Cuba also in the match up of the second round, definitely deserve the title.
It's 8.54 pm when Rob Cordemans throws the first pitch (a strike) of the IBAF World Cup final. The game has been delayed from the original starting time (5 pm) to 7.30 pm first and when the game starts it is clear that the first winners of the night are the men on the field maintenance crew. Both teams are in the announced line ups and Cuba starts left hander Yuliesky Gonzalez.
Dutch lead off hitter Dwayne Kemp is the first man on board of the game. His swinging bunt is not playable by cuban third baseman Michel Enriquez. Kemp steals second, but doesn't run beyond as Gonzalez strikes out the side.
Cuba gets on base for the first time with two outs in the second, when Cordemans hits first baseman Jose Abreu. Michel Enriquez fouls out to third baseman Jonathan Schoop to end the at bat.
Cuba scores the go ahead run in the fourth. With one out, designated hitter Frederich Cepeda takes Cordemans deep in the gap between center and right fielder. His stand up double is the first hit of the game off a pitcher who has got on strikes six of the ten outs of the game so far. Cepeda reaches third on a wild pitch and scores easily on a sacrifice fly to center by Alfredo Despaigne.
The lead doesn't last long for Cuba. Gonzalez walks Sydney De Jong to lead off the bottom half of the frame and Curt Smith follows with a base hit to right. Engelhardt shows bunt, but on a 2-1 count swings for a chopper that finds Abreu late on the bounce and becomes a base hit that scores De Jong from second. Cuba goes right to the bull pen and Freddy Alvarez takes off for Gonzalez. Shairon Schoop bunts the runners to second and third for his brother Jonathan. With the cuban infield in, Jonathan Schoop hits a sharp grounder up the middle and scores Smith, while Engelhardt stops at third. Rombley is the second out on strikes, but Kemp connects for a liner right at Alvarez, who gets the third out. Rob Cordemans is really painting the corners of the strike zone and Cuba does struggle. With one out in the sixth, Rusney Castillo hits one hard to right, but Shairon Schoop jumps to get the out on an extremely athletic play. Cordemans then walks Alexei Bell but, as the runners goes, Cepeda pops out to left field.
Alvarez hits Shairon Schoop to lead off the bottom part of the inning and Jonathan Schoop bunts him to second. Then Alvarez walks Kalian Sams and gets the second out with a force at second on a slow roller by Rombley. With runners at the corners, a blooper by Kemp looks like trouble, but Arruebarruena gives the swing a great read and makes the fly catch for the third out look extremely easy.
The Netherlands survive a lead off two base error by Kemp on a towering pop by Despaigne. Shairon Schoop is the key, as he stops a sharp grounder by Gourriel to his left and makes the play at first.
Cordemans outstanding performance is over with one out in the eigth. Pinch hitter Rudy Reyes takes him off the left field wall for a stand up double and Juan Carlos Sulbaran takes over. Rusney Castillo turns the reliever's first pitch into a hard grounder in the gap to left. The bouncer finds a great effort by Gregorius. The shortstop cannot get the out at first, but Reyes cannot move from second. Sulbaran falls behind in the count on Bell, who hits hard his fifth pitch, only to fly out to left. With a 3-0 count, Cepeda takes the first strike and then pops out to left on a high fastball.
Despaigne leads off the ninth with a deep fly in the gap between left and center fielder, but Kalian Sams gets there pretty easily to make the out. Gourriel becomes the potential tying run when he hits safely to right. The night is over for Sulbaran and veteran right hander David Bergman takes the mound. Bergman gets immediately the second out on a fly ball to center by Abreu but Cuba's captain Michel Enriquez pushes the potential tying run to second with a base hit to left.
Cuba gives the call to Hector Olivera, who has missed almost the whole tournament because of an injury. The newcomer lines the first pitch in the glove of third baseman Jonathan Schoop and The Netherlands can celebrate. They just made history.