Looking back at a few highlights in an eventful Baseball year 2009
2009 started Baseball-wise with the second edition of the World Baseball Classic, the high-profile invitational tournament organized by Major League Baseball. Japan and MVP Daisuke Matsuzaka defended their titles from 2006 with a 5-3 victory over Olympic champion Korea in the championship game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles (highlights see clip above). The Asian power houses had beaten Venezuela and Team USA in the semi-finals. Before that Japan had eliminated Cuba in round two by shutting out the heavy favorite twice.
While the usual suspects came through in the end, Europe played an impressive and surprising role in round one. Italy with their future big league hopefuls Alessandro Maestri and Alex Liddi upset Canada at the Rogers Centre in Toronto 6-2, eliminating the Pool C host. The team of Marco Mazzieri didn’t make it in round two due to the second loss against Venezuela, but still left their mark on the Classic and returned home proud.
The Italian performance but even got topped by the second European team in the tournament. Led by Sidney Ponson’s and Leon Boyd’s heroics on the mound and timely hits by Eugene Kingsale and Co., the Netherlands stunned the highly favored Dominican team 3-2 in the Pool D opener and repeated this feat with a 2-1 win in the elimination game a few days later. They reached the second round besides Puerto Rico, where they lost against Venezuela and Team USA en route back to Europe. But if you’ll recall the 2009 WBC, you definitely have to mention the two Dutch victories over the Dominican Republic.
Dutch Victories over Dominican Republic: