Panama City, Panama-Cuba scored three runs in the first inning and never looked back as they punched their ticket to the gold medal game with an 8-2 win over Canada. The loss puts Canada in tomorrow’s bronze medal game (11am CT) against the United States on the final day of play at the 39th IBAF World Cup.
“They’re (Cuba) a tough team, there’s no question,” said Canadian Manager, Ernie Whitt. “They swung the bats very well, got a lead on us and we just couldn’t come back.”
Canadian starter Shawn Hill (Mississauga, ON) allowed a triple, single and a double to start the game and Cuba was quickly in front by two. After a fly out, another double brought in their third run of the inning.
After pitching a 1-2-3 second inning, Hill was touched up for two more runs in the third and was removed from the game in favour of Jay Johnson (Sussex Corner, NB).
“Shawn didn’t have his best stuff tonight,” explained Whitt. “You can’t take away anything from Cuba, they played very well.”
For the second consecutive game, both teams were forced to sit through a lengthy rain delay as heavy rain combined with thunder and lightning blanketed Rod Carew Stadium. The rain delay lasted nearly an hour before play resumed in the top of the fifth inning.
Cuba had a seven run lead before Canada broke the shutout bid in the fifth. Shawn Bowman (Port Moody, BC) led the inning off with a double to right field and Brock Kjeldgaard (London, ON) followed with a single. Cole Armstrong (Surrey, BC) then lifted a towering fly ball to centerfield that the fielder lost in the lights which allowed Bowman to score Canada’s first run. Jonathan Malo (Joliette, QC) laced a single into right field to score Kjeldgaard for Canada’s other run.
Canada will have a chance to duplicate the World Cup bronze medal they won two years ago in Italy, when they face the United States tomorrow. This will be the second time the two teams have met in the World Cup as Canada came away with a 6-1 victory last Sunday.
“I think our guys will rebound and come out ready to play tomorrow,” added Whitt. “There’s a medal on the line and that’s the bottom line.”
“We wanted to come here and win a medal,” continued Whitt. “Obviously we’re disappointed it’s not gold or silver but it is a medal.”
Notes: The gold medal game will see Cuba take on the Netherlands at 5pm CT…Follow all of the action from the bronze medal game LIVE by visiting: www.ibaf.org … As always, for the latest info on Team Canada, please follow Baseball Canada on Twitter (www.twitter.com/baseballcanada).