The Netherlands baseball team beat favourites The Dominican Republic 2-1, to earn a second round spot in the World Baseball Classic being played here in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This is their second win over the Dominicans in the tournament.
“This is a miracle. The Dominican Republic is one of the best teams in the world,” Netherlands manager Rod Delmonico said with tears in his eyes. “It is difficult to describe what took place. These kids have fought for three days. I have never had a team with this much passion.”
The shocking win was made easy by virtually unknown players of the Netherlands team. While Dominican Republic features a roster full of MLB All-Stars including David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, Miguel Tejada and Pedro Martinez, the most prominent player on the Dutch roster is Randall Simon, who last played in the league in 2004. Dominicans were the semi-finalists in 2006 and had come from a morale-boosting 9-0 victory over Panama before the match.
The Netherlands team obviously had a lot of reasons to celebrate. Their celebrations went on for nearly 15 minutes on the field and it looked like they’d won the World Series title or something.
“Tonight we are going to try to rest, even though it will be difficult with all the emotion,” Delmonico said.
They will now be playing Puerto Rico (2-0) for the top place in Group D. The dream run of the Dutch team is now being hailed as ‘the Cinderella story’ of the 16-nation baseball tournament.