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Nov '07 15

Looking back at the preliminary round: Group B



It was a pretty exiting round robin for the participants of pool B. It was expected, that the reigning World Cup of Baseball champion dominate their opponents. And Cuba did it, most of the time. They lost just one of the seven games to the Dutch and they were one strike away from a defeat to the second placed Aussies. But overall, their players are on the top the game. Australia was the most exiting team to watch. Five games were decided in the last inning of the match, four through a walk-off hit. Only one had no drama, but this was the highest scoring performance of the tournament (26-1 vs. Thailand).

The Netherlands reached somewhat surprisingly the final round. Sure, they were placed fourth at the last World Cup in 2005. But they were the host, so you could expect a bit home field advantage from the crowd. Now, on neutral ground, they showed that they are in the mix. They upset Cuba to clinch the quarterfinals and could be on the way to a better result than two years ago. Korea, who like Japan, rests his best players for the Olympic qualifier, narrowly advanced. They had started with three victories, lost the next three and clinched the berth with a victory against Germany on the final day of the preliminary round.

Canada had the same 4-3 record, but the tiebreaker was against them. Before the last day, the maple leafs even had the chance for second place, but lost 6-7 to Australia in a thriller. Venezuela was one of the most disappointed teams of the tournament. They never got into a groove and could only defeat the two underdogs of the pool, Germany and Thailand. The Germans managed its first ever victory in World Cup of Baseball history. They also showed some nice efforts against the heavyweights and took a step forward development-wise. For Thailand it was the first World Championship participation in the history of their country. Nevertheless they were overmatched in nearly every game.




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