Skip to comments.Puerto Rico Advances to World Baseball Classic Final
Posted on 03/18/2013 11:25:24 AM PDT by SilvieWaldorfMD
The surprising Puerto Ricans first eliminated the star-studded United States, then took care of two-time World Baseball Classic champion Japan two days later with a 3-1 victory in Sunday night's semifinal. Puerto Rico needs just one more win to be WBC champions. "We totally showed we can be the new team, the champion nobody expected," said Angel Pagan, center fielder for the World Series champion San Francisco Giants. "It means a lot, but not everything, because we're still missing one more win." Alex Rios hit a two-run homer, Mike Aviles singled twice and drove in the game's first run, and Puerto Rico reached its first WBC final with a big assist from the bullpen. Japan manager Koji Yamamoto felt immense pressure to continue his country's dominance in the World Baseball Classic. "Of course I have aimed for three consecutive winning championships, and I had some expectation that we would be able to do that," the 66-year-old skipper said. "But this is such a big international game, and it's been a while since I did the big international game. I did have pressure that I need to do this. However, this was a great experience being as old as I am. I was able to really feel the challenge of the match and being able to face this kind of challenge, it was really exciting." Unlike the two previous WBC winners from Japan, this team lacked international star power without the likes of Ichiro Suzuki, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Yu Darvish. "We were all domestic players from Nippon baseball," Yamamoto said. "It's challenging to get adjusted before the season, so as a team, despite the challenges, they really had the unity to fight the game."
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Felicitaciones a la Isla!
Assuming they play the DR, they’ve got a tough task ahead of them.
I'll admit not having followed the series too closely, but I didn't hear too many names I recognized.