PRINCE GEORGE- Cuba scored eight runs in the 7th inning which included five homeruns as they went on to beat Canada 9-4 at the World Baseball Challenge. A crowd of nearly 4,000 people witnessed the action on a beautiful night for baseball at Citizen Field Park.
The loss brings Canada’s record to 2 wins and 1 loss in round-robin play, which puts them in a tie for second place with Chinese Taipei.
Cuba jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the 1st inning when Frederich Cepeda grounded out which scored Hector Olivera from third base.
Canada would even the score in the home half of the 3rd frame when Chris Head (Dartmouth, NS) came around to score off a Charlie Strandlund (Victoria, BC) triple. Head had reached first base earlier in the inning when he walked.
Canada then scored twice in the 4th inning to take a two-run lead. Kevin Atkinson (White Rock, BC) led-off with a solo homerun and Colin Moro’s (Calgary, AB) double brought in Rob Recueno (Vancouver, BC), who had singled with one out.
After giving up a run in the 1st inning, Canadian starter Shawn Schaefer (Pitt Meadows, BC) managed to keep the Cubans off the scoreboard through the 6th inning.
That all changed in the 7th, when Cuba exploded for 8 runs by putting on a power display to blow the game wide-open. Alfredo Despaigne started things off with a one-out, solo homerun and two batters later, with a runner on first, Yulieski Gourriel got into the homerun parade with a two-run shot of his own.
Schaefer’s night ended when the next batter, Rudy Reyes, made it back-to-back homers will a solo blast.
The homerun barrage ruined an otherwise solid performance by Schaefer as he went 6 1/3 innings, giving up 5 runs on 6 hits and a walk, while striking out 2 batters.
Things didn’t fare much better for Geoff Freeborn (Calgary, AB) who replaced Shaefer as he was greeted with yet another homer, this time from Ariel Pestano. Pestano’s homer gave the Cubans three in as many at-bats and four for the inning.
Cuba went on to score three more runs in the 7th with Despaigne hitting his second round tripper of the inning.
With all of the damage done, Canada could only muster one more run which came on a Jared Johnson (Kelowna, BC) solo homerun in the 8th inning.
Notes: Canada will next see action on Wednesday (July 13th) when they take on Japan Toshiba Baseball at 7pm PT…Japan Toshiba Baseball has a record of 2 wins and 2 losses…To follow the action from the World Baseball Challenge visit: www.worldbaseball.ca