Team USA put together quite the performance at this years IBAF World Cup, going 14-1, while defeating the always elite, Team Cuba. Their 14-1 record is actually better than it sounds. After a game-one loss to Venezuela, they have reeled off fourteen straight wins with relative ease.
Currently ranked fourth in the world before today’s victory, USA, combined with 2007’s victory gives them back-to-back championships since the 1973 and 1974 squads.
The error in the bottom of the seventh lead to a six-run inning that literally extinguished all hope for a Cuba squad that was hanging tight with the score squared off at four. Pedro Laza, the legendary Cuban pitcher who tops out at 95-mph, took the loss, allowing three unearned runs all without recording and out.
Justin Smoak and John Weber hit back-to-back RBI singles, while Terry Tiffee, Josh Kroeger and Lucas May continued the rally stringing together three consecutive RBI base knocks.
This victory was only the second by the Americans over the Cubans in eight gold medal games. Before that, Cuba had won nine consecutive until dropping the championship game to the Americans in 2007. In all, Cuba has won 25 of 30 Word Cup titles.
To conclude the ceremony was the announcement of tourney MVP Justin Smoak, the first round pick of the Texas Rangers in the 2008 draft (11th overall). Smoak set a Team USA record with nine homeruns, while hitting a respectable .291 with 22 RBI’s.
In the Bronze Medal game, Team Canada finished a best-ever third defeating Puerto Rico.
Devon Teeple is an author for the Business of Sports Network, which includes the Biz of Baseball, the Biz of Football, the Biz of Basketball and the Biz of Hockey. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Devon is a former student within Sports Management Worldwide’s Baseball General Manager Class. Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective and is a intern with The Football Outsiders and contributor with the Plymouth River Eels.
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