Press Release International Baseball Federation, www.ibaf.org
FINAL ROUND SEEDINGS TO BE FINALIZED FOLLOWING MONDAYS PLAY: The rain-effected second schedule will be concluded with two games on Monday in Italy, including a crucial USA-Australia makeup matchup which will determine seeding for the final round of the right top remaining nations in the 2009 World Cup. The pairings, seedings and sites will be announced immediately following Australia-USA.
THE FINAL EIGHT: Sunday’s play finalized the eight nations that will move on to the final round…those eight nations are The United States, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada and Chinese Taipei.
ON TO THE FINAL ROUND: Following Monday’s makeup games, the final round of the 2009 Baseball World Cup will begin with four games on Tuesday in Grosseto, Nettuno, Firenze and Messina. The final round will continue all week, with the Gold Medal game being played Sunday, 27 September in Nettuno, Italy.
NO UNBEATEN TEAM LEFT: Sunday’s win by Cuba over the Netherlands knocked the final country from the ranks of the unbeaten…entering Monday’s makeup games the Unites States now owns the longest current win streak in the World Cup at seven games, after losing their tournament opener to Venezuela in Regensburg, Germany 13-9 in 11 innings. Canada and Puerto Rico own the second longest winning streak at five, with both having completed their second round play.
USA SMOAK’S ITS WAY INTO THE HOME RUN RECORD BOOK: Texas Rangers prospect Justin Smoak had his record third two home run game on Sunday vs. Italy, giving him a World Cup best eight home runs thus far. Smoak’s teammate, Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Pedro Alvarez, set the overall team record with three home runs in a game against Chinese Taipei and has four overall, while Team USA has set the pace as a team in homers with 28 heading into Monday.
CUBA STILL SETTING THE PITCHING PACE: Cuba’s quest to regain the World Cup continues to be led by its Tournament-leading pitching staff, which has compiled a 1.76 ERA during its 9-1 run thus far. The Cuban staff has amassed 103 strikeouts thought the first two rounds (second only to Japan’s total of 120) and given up only 22 walks and three home runs. Cuban pitcher Norge Vera is 2-0 and has yet to allow a run in 14 innings, while his teammate Freddy Alvarez is 2-0 and has allowed one earned run in 15 innings. Miguel Gonzalez struck out ten consecutive batters against Puerto Rico in his first start (13 overall in 6 1/3 innings), one short of the World Cup mark of 11 set by former Major Leaguer Burt Hooton (Dodgers and Cubs) of the USA in 1971.
DUTCH FINISH IMPRESSIVE ROUND AT 6-1 HOME TURF: The Netherlands continued their emergence on the international baseball scene, going 6-1 with a lone loss to Cuba in Round Two. The Dutch are second only to Australia in team batting average .325 and are led by San Francisco Giants prospect Sharlon Schoop, who is hitting .464 (13-28), while Los Angeles Angels prospect Hainley Statia (10-24, .417) and former Baltimore Oriole Eugene Kingsale is hitting at a .368 pace.
AUSSIE HITTING SHOES STAY ON: Australia enters Monday’s game with the USA leading all teams with a .328 average, and third in runs scored with 77. Australia’s only two losses thus far have been by one run to Mexico (10-9) and Chinese Taipei (5-4), both of which they have avenged. Philadelphia Phillies prospect Joel Naughton continues to set the hitting pace for Australia with a .478 mark (11-23), with Minnesota Twins prospect James Bereford hitting .343 (12-35) and two other teammates hitting .333, Phillies prospect Timothy Kennelly and Pirates Christopher Snelling.
WOW CANADA: The team leading all nations in runs scored through two rounds is Canada. The Canadians have scored 9.3 rpg in their 8-2 run thus far, and are led by Minnesota Twins prospect Rene Tosoni .390 3 HR, 11 RBI
PUERTO RICO COMING ON STRONG: Puerto Rico remains one of the tournaments hottest teams, using a balance of veterans and prospects on their way to an 8-2 mark The team is led by Toronto Blue Jays prospect Angel Sanchez (.435) and Baltimore Orioles prospect Miguel Abreu, their second leading hitter at .405 (15hits) and a team best 9 runs scored. Puerto Rico has a tournament high NINE players with Major League experience on their roster in addition to their rising stars.
RECORDBREAKERS THUS FAR: The World Cup thus far has seen several team and World Cup records tied for fall. They include:
- Cuban pitcher Miguel Gonzalez striking out ten consecutive batters against Puerto Rico in his first start (13 overall in 6 1/3 innings), one short of the World Cup mark of 11 set by former Major Leaguer Burt Hooton (Dodgers and Cubs) of the USA in 1971.
- Australia pitcher and Milwaukee Brewers pitching prospect David Welch set an Australian record with 13 strikeouts in just seven innings Tuesday against Chinese Taipei.
- USA pitcher and California Angels prospect Trevor Reckling, had 11 K’s against China last Saturday, tying the team mark of pitcher Burt Hooten, who fanned 11 consecutive batters in 1970.
- USA infielder and Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Pedro Alvarez set a team mark by hitting three home runs in Thursday’s win over Chinese Taipei.