|(Baseball) Dominica beats Puerto Rice to claim World Classic champs
Edwin Rodriguez couldn't hide the disappointment of losing the World Baseball Classic final, but the Puerto Rico manager said no one on his team was hanging their heads on Tuesday.
The underdog Puerto Ricans fell behind 2-0 in the first inning and never got their offence untracked against some solid pitching by the Dominican Republic as they lost 3-0 in a championship game played in soggy conditions at San Francisco's AT&T Park, AFP reports.
"We feel very proud of what we did,'' said Rodriguez. "When we were playing in the first round in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with the Dominican Republic and Venezuela in the same bracket... nobody gave us any chance to get out of there.
"We passed to Miami and we were the underdogs there. We played the championship game and we were trying very hard to win this game.
"Every member of this team feels like mission accomplished.''
It was the first all-Caribbean final in the short history of the World Baseball Classic and also featured the two smallest nations in the 28-team tournament in the championship game.
Puerto Rico couldn't generate any offence on Tuesday against Dominicans' starting pitcher Samuel Deduno and his four relievers.
Rodriguez said the Dominicans were a determined bunch that deserved the victory.
"We have to take our hats off to the Dominican Republic team. They had passion, desire and the drive to really show this kind of amazing performance,'' Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said he reacted quickly when Puerto Rico's starting pitcher Giancarlo Alvarado got into trouble in the opening inning.
Alvarado, a minor league journeyman, gave up a double to the first Dominican batter, then walked tournament MVP Robinson Cano before surrendering a two-run RBI double to first baseman Edwin Encarnacion.
"Facing that kind of lineup it was tough for him to get his pitches going,'' Rodriguez said. "I noticed he was in trouble, that's why I changed him quickly.''
Puerto Rico's lead off batter, Angel Pagan, hit safely, singling to right field. But Deduno struck out Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina later on to end the inning, leaving Pagan stranded at second base.
Rodriguez said they could have set the tone for the rest of the game if they had followed up Pagan's hit with a few more singles.
"We are disappointed because we had a chance to score in the first inning and we didn't. That would have made it a different ball game.''
Reminded that they were also shut out 2-0 in the second round of the tournament by the Dominican Republic, Rodriguez said: "Last time I checked not too many teams had scored against that team.''