Cuba’s Victory over Panama in the World Classic Revives Hopes

Taiwan’s comeback against Italy was combined with Cuba’s triumph against Panama, and Cuba remains with possibilities in the World Classic. (Jit)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 11 March 2023 — The Cuban team “woke up” in the World Baseball Classic this Friday after beating Panama 13-4 in Taiwan and connecting with 21 hits. The performance of the national team, which could guarantee its classification in the next round of matches, was celebrated by the official press, which in recent days harshly criticized its defeats.

The offensive of the so-called Team Asere in this Classic match — held in the United States, China and Japan from March 8 to 22 — almost equals the record of 22 hits in Australia, in 2009. Cubadebate and Jit proclaimed the results of the game and noted the favorable changes in the lineup, designed by manager Armando Mandy Alonso, who replaced the players Yoenis Céspedes and Lorenzo Quintana with Roel Santos and Ariel Martínez.

Jit described the game as a “home run party” where eight of the members gave their best. Of them, seven “got at least two hits,” the magazine said, which highlighted the role of Yoan Moncada, a Major League baseball player (MLB, who hit 5-3 and boosted the advance of four other players to home). Moncada had been one of the most remarked on — along with Luis Robert Jr. — by the official media, which pointed out his poor performance in the matches against the Netherlands and Italy.

Despite the praise, the analysis of the game itself was more measured. The game was separated into two parts, according to journalist Renier González Jr., a contributor to Play-Off Magazine. Before the sixth inning, he said, the team reached the performance of the “last times,” with an “improved” selection that can compete.

Francys Romero highlighted the score of 4-4 achieved by outfielder Yadir Drake. The result placed him as the leader of Team Asere’s offensive. “He becomes the second Cuban player with 4 hits in a World Classic since Yoandy Garlobo (2006),” noted González, who said he was waiting for “other favorable results.”

At the end of the game at the Intercontinental Stadium in Taichung, Taiwan, manager Alonso appeared before the media accompanied by MLB players Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert Jr., to address the lack of results at the international level.

According to the coach, this “drought” is due to “the newest athletes at a level,” where “they are not very focused on what we want.” For Alonso, “there are baseball players who are young and perhaps do not have the mastery” of Major League players. That, he said, was the goal of the tour prior to the World Classic, in “that the boys saw throws that sometimes we don’t see in the National Series.”

The last time Cuba won a global title was in 2016, when it won the Under-15 World Cup. For this reason, the inclusion of players from international teams — especially from the MLB — has aroused the interest of thousands of followers.

Johnson put forward that they must win the confrontation with the Taiwan team and then wait for the results to see if they qualify for the next round. “The starter must be Elián Leyva. The lineup is going to be the same because, as they say, you don’t touch a winning line-up.”

The one victory that Cuba obtained this Thursday over Panama doesn’t seem enough to get excited about the classification, since this came after the comeback of Taiwan 11-7 against Italy. The Netherlands continues to lead group A of the World Classic (2-0), then Panama, Taiwan and Italy (1-1), with Cuba closing the list (1-2).

Now Cuba must win over Taiwan, but it depends above all on whether Italy continues to lose, whether the Netherlands continues to win and whether Cuba’s classification is defined against Taiwan or Panama. “All this, of course, is if Team Asere wins in its last challenge of the World Classic,” published Swing Completo.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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