Netherlands Topples Heavily Favored Dominican Republic At The World Baseball Classic
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Stunned twice by a pesky Netherlands team, the Dominican Republic is done at the World Baseball Classic. Eugene Kingsdale singled in the tying run and scored the game-winner in the 11th inning Tuesday night as the Netherlands rallied for a 2-1 victory over the heavily favored Dominicans, earning surprise spot in the second round.
After an error by first baseman Willy Aybar allowed the winning run to score, Netherlands players rushed out of the dugout and piled all over each other in a raucous celebration that resembled a World Series finale. Jose Reyes, Robinson Cano and other Dominicans stars slumped quietly in the dugout, staring ahead in shock.
"This is a miracle. The Dominican Republic is one of the best teams in the world," Netherlands manager Rod Delmonico said with tears in his eyes. "It is difficult to describe what took place. These kids have fought for three days. I have never had a team with this much passion."
It was the second time in four days that a Netherlands squad made up of little-known players upset the Dominican Republic, considered one of the favorites coming into the 16-team tournament thanks to a roster filled with major league All-Stars. Even without injured Alex Rodiriquez, the Dominicans featured David Ortiz,Hanley Ramirez,Miguel Tejada, and Pedro Martinez, just to name a few. But in two games they couldn't solve an unheralded Netherlands pitching staff coached by former big leaguer Bert Blyleven.
"With so many years in this game and in so many different leagues, when someone thinks they have seen it all, they end up being wrong," Dominican Republic manager Felipe Alou said. "We have seen something happen that we never imagined. Not only did the Netherlands defeat us two times, they also played three great games."
Netherlands players were still on the field celebrating 15 minutes after the game ended. The Dominican Republic reached the semifinals of the inaugural WBC in 2006, and a first-round exit in Group D this time seemed almost unthinkable a few days ago. Then, the Netherlands won 3-2 in the teams' tournament opener Saturday. The Dominican Republic bounced back for a 9-0 victory Sunday over Panama, but was stymied again Tuesday night before a pro-Dominican crowd of 11,814 at Hiram Bithorn Stadium.
The Netherlands (2-1) will face Puerto Rico (2-0) today for first place in Group D. Puerto Rico needed a late rally to win the first game between the teams, 3-1 on Monday. Both clubs begin second-round play Saturday in Miami.
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