The Netherlands wasted no time making their presence felt at the World Baseball Classic, pulling off a shocking upset over powerhouse Cuba in a thrilling 4-2 opening game victory in Taiwan. Despite the nerves of competing on the world stage, the Dutch squad put their best foot forward and made a statement with a remarkable three-run outburst in the pivotal sixth inning in Taichung.
An Upset On Opening Night
What’s more, they managed to pull off the feat against a Cuban team that boasted players from Major League Baseball in their ranks for the very first time. It was a truly historic moment in baseball and for the Cuban national team, but one they may want to forget soon. Didi Gregorius and Josh Palacios led the charge for the Netherlands, each scoring a crucial run to secure the win. Meanwhile, Chadwick Tromp was the standout star of the game, scoring two runs to put the Dutch over the top. With this impressive statement win, the Netherlands have firmly established themselves as a team to watch in the WBC.
“It’s very, very important to win the first game — it takes a monkey off your back, it relaxes everybody.We know we have the talent. Until you win that first game though, it’s like a nervous wreck.” – Netherlands manager Hensley Meulens.
Netherlands Comes Up Clutch
The game’s pivotal moment came when Josh Palacios stepped up to the plate and drilled an RBI single straight up the middle, breaking open a tied game and giving the Netherlands the momentum they needed to secure the victory. But the heroics didn’t end there – Chadwick Tromp followed it up with a perfectly placed hit that landed between two Cuban outfielders, further increasing the Dutch lead and sending the crowd into a frenzy.
With this hard-fought win over what many believe to be the most formidable squad in Pool A, the Netherlands now hold the early edge. Their Pool also includes Taiwan, Italy, and Panama. With a roster that boasts several players with MLB experience, including Didi Gregorius and the Padres’ Xander Bogaerts, the Dutch will be looking to build on this early success and make a deep run in the tournament.
A Historic Night Ends In Frustration
It was a frustrating outing for Cuba, who had high hopes for the tournament after allowing MLB players to represent their national team for the very first time. Despite their star-studded roster, including Chicago White Sox sluggers Luis Robert Jr. and Yoan Moncada, they struggled to find footing against a determined Netherlands squad.
Cuba did manage to put two runs on the board thanks to the efforts of Yadil Mujica, but ultimately it was not enough to overcome the Dutch. Robert had a lone hit in four at-bats, while Moncada could not get on base in his three plate appearances. It was a disappointing performance for the Cuban team, who had finished runners-up in the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006. However, they will have plenty of opportunities to bounce back and make their mark in the rest of the tournament.