It came down to Monday’s off-day, but Team USA advanced to the second round of baseball’s World Cup. It took a 5-0 win over Panama for the Americans to advance. Team USA had lost to Canada on Sunday for the first time since the 2006 World Baseball Classic. Former KC Royal minor leaguer Damaso Espino went 0-for-2 in Panama’s loss. Overall in the past week, Espino has gone 5-for-13 with three runs scored and an RBI.
The World Cup’s second round will again feature a round robin format with games beginning on Tuesday and continuing thru Friday. The standings of the second round will be determined based on the results between all eight advancing teams, including the first round results.
An example: Canada will start the second round with a 2-1 record, having defeated the Netherlands and the USA (their loss came to Panama). Based on the seven results for each team, the classification games and the finals will be played on Saturday October 15th.
Team USA begins action on Tuesday against Cuba, while Canada will try to stop the suddenly hot Australians. The Netherlands will face Korea, while Panama faces Venezuela.
*Here are the current standings:
Current or former Royals that are still playing in the World Cup are: Justin Huber and Paul Mildren (Australia), Espino (Panama), and Tim Smith and Jamie Romak (Canada).
Despite being outsted from the international tournament, former Royals outfielder Alexis Gomez played well for his home country of the Dominican Republic this past week. Over the DR’s final four games, Gomez went 8-for-17 with four runs scored and two RBIs. His best game was a 4-for-4 performance against Nicaragua.
In Australia’s sudden burst of offense, former Royal Justin Huber also heated up. Over the Aussie’s final four games, he was 6-for-15 with eight RBIs and four runs scored.
Canada has advanced and Tim Smith and Jamie Romak have been a part of the offense. Smith has gone 3-for-16 with five RBIs and three runs scored. He hit a two-run homerun in Canada’s 4-0 win over Chinese Taipei. Smith scored the winning run against the Netherlands on Saturday in extra innings (it was the Netherlands only loss). Romak has gone 1-for-12 with a homerun.
Italy was eliminated on Sunday after losing to Venezuela in 10 innings. Current Royals minor leaguer Andrea Pizziconi pitched in their Friday loss to Cuba (1.2 IP, 1H, 2R, 2BB, 1K, 3WP, 2HBP).
**Bruce Chen threw out the first pitch prior to his home country Panama’s game versus the Netherlands on Sunday. Unfortunately he was a bit of bad luck, as Panama lost their first game of the tournament.