The Dominican Republic defeated Puerto Rico Tuesday night to win the World Baseball Classic. The Caribbean nation went undefeated in tournament play on its historic run.
There have been three World Baseball Classics. In 2006, Japan won the inaugural tournament. In 2009, Japan won again. The Dominican Republic had never made it past the semi-finals.
Four years later the Dominican Republic won eight straight games to assert their international baseball dominance. The team was loaded with major league talent including Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Nelson Cruz, Edwin Encarnacion, and Fernando Rodney.
Starting pitcher Samuel Deduno pitched two hit-ball over five innings on dreary and rainy night in San Francisco. The bullpen came in and didn’t allow Puerto Rico one more hit. The Dominican Republic scored three runs, but one would have been enough.
Amazingly, the Dominican Republic’s pitching staff didn’t allow a single run over its last 21 innings. Coming into the World Baseball Classic, the pitching staff was considered the team’s weakness.
Closer Fernando Rodney was stellar when games were close and earned seven saves in the tournament. Seven saves in eight wins. In a normal 162 game season, great closers earn 20-30 saves, sometimes more. The offense was good, but the pitchers deserve just as much credit for the nation’s undefeated run.
Hanley Ramirez had to leave in the fifth inning after injuring his thumb but was seen after the game waving a Dominican flag in celebration. His injured hand was wrapped in a splint. There is no word yet how serious his injury is.
The Dominican Republic becomes the first team to go undefeated in World Baseball Classic play. Japan suffered losses in both of their runs.
The Dominican Republic fought a hard battle to go undefeated. They knocked World Baseball Classic favorite USA out in the second round and beat Puerto Rico three times, once in each round, to be crowned victors.
Are you impressed the Dominican Republic went undefeated to win the World Baseball Classic.