14ymedio, Miami, 15 March 2023 — The Cuban baseball team qualified for the semifinal round of the World Classic after beating Australia 4-3 in this Thursday’s game. The so-called Team Asere was among the four best teams of the tournament for the first time in 17 years, despite the absence of two of its star players, Yoenis Céspedes and Andy Ibáñez.
The monumental Tokyo Dome stadium in Japan was the stage in which the team, led by Armando Johnson, achieved success after an uncertain start. Australia put a number on the board in the second inning thanks to Darryl George, who managed to reach second base without being put out, and Aaron Whitefield connected with a sacrifice hit so that his teammate could advance, all this in the face of the pitching by Cuban Yariel Rodríguez.
Team Asere’s reaction came in the third inning. Against Australian relief player Mitch Neunborn, Moncada reached second base from left field, and Luis Robert tied the game.
The Cuban counterattack occurred in the lower part of the fifth inning with three runs. Santos started with a hit and managed to get Moncada and Robert to fill the bases. Alfredo Despaigne connected with a deep high and prompted the run of advantage. Then came two singles in a row from Erisbel Arruebarrena and Yoelkis Guibert, who managed to raise the score to 4-1, in favor of Team Asere.
Así celebró #elCubaClasico su avance a la semifinal del #ClasicoMundialDeBeisbol pic.twitter.com/jaedfYyoWf
— JIT Deporte Cubano (@jit_digital) March 15, 2023
When everything suggested that the triumph was more than certain, a technical decision made Cuba tremble. Armando Johnson took out Miguel Romero to replace him with the left-hander Roenis Elías. A hesitation of the Cuban in the upper part of the sixth inning allowed Rixon Wingrove to hit a home run, and two runs brought Australia closer.
“Cuba’s leadership improvised in the sixth, and it cost them two runs,” journalist Francys Romero wrote on his social networks. “The replacement of Luis Miguel Romero (35 pitches), the best Cuban pitcher of the tournament, was illogical. Romero had to deliver in the seventh to Moinelo and then to Martínez in the end.”
Roenis Elías adjusted and was able to get out of the sixth and seventh innings without much difficulty, while Livan Moinelo went out to the mound for the eighth inning and, together with Raidel Martinez who closed the game, they were in charge of extinguishing the Australian push.
The next game for the Cuban team will be in Miami on March 19 at 7:00 p.m. at LoanDepot Park, home of the Marlins. The rival has yet to be defined.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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