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Nov '07 15

Looking back at the preliminary round: Group A



Team USA won pool A without any difficulty. The young squad, filled with minor league players of the Double and Triple A level with little major league experience, showed why they are one of the favourites to win it all. They collected six victories and lost just one game to Italy. The host of the World Cup of Baseball, Chinese Taipei, came in on second place. With a big crowd behind their backs in every game they started strong, won the first three easily and lost only to the USA and Panama.

Their Asian rivals from Japan followed in third. They had send a young team to Taiwan without any professional stars, which will be rested for the Olympic qualifier in December. However their offense exited the fans in the beginning with high scoring affairs. After a step back with two straight defeats, they recovered and came back to advance into the quarters. Panama would have advanced into the quarterfinals as the last team of pool A. But they had to switch their place with Mexico on Thursday. They had used five players without insurance in the games against the USA and Spain. The IBAF had ruled that they had to forfeit both duels to send their record to 3-4. Mexico, who had one of the most memorable comebacks in World Cup history, will be in the final round instead. They had started the tournament 0-3, but rallied to win the next four games in a row.

Italy was one of the feel good stories at the beginning. They rode the momentum to a 3-1 record after day four, including a major upset versus the United States. They were on the verge to advance, but lost a nail-biter against Chinese Taipei 0-1 in the ninth inning of a make up game. The players were shocked and lost the last three to go home. The other two clubs in the pool, Spain and South Africa, had to learn a hard lesson in some of their losses. They gained a lot of experience of it and will profit in the future. Spain recieved a second win due the ruling, but did not gain a spot in the standings.




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