Eugene Kingsale singled in the tying run off Dominican reliever Carlos Marmol in the bottom of the 11th inning and then crossed the plate with the winning run when first baseman Willy Aybar couldn’t handle Yurendell De Caster’s sharp grounder, giving the Dutch their second unreal upset of the Dominican Republic in four days and a berth in the second round of the World Baseball Classic. The loss eliminated the Dominicans, who entered the tournament as one of the favorites to win it all.
Only moments earlier, things weren’t looking good for the Dutch and it appeared that Kingsale would be the goat rather than the hero. With the teams locked in scoreless tie in the top of the 11th, the former Oriole, Mariner, Padre made an error on a fly ball by Jose Bautista that allowed Jose Reyes to race all the way around from first with the game’s first run. The Dutch escaped the frame without further damage, but knew they’d have to somehow push a run across against Marmol - who fanned 114 in 87 1/3 innings for the Cubs last season - in order to survive.
Dutch national team veteran Sidney De Jong got things started with a double. Kingsale took advantage of his shot at redemption, singling home DeJong with one out to knot the game at a run apiece. Marmol then compounded his troubles with an errant pickoff throw that allowed Kingsale to race to third. When Aybar failed to handle De Caster’s sharp grounder, the Dutch had, incredibly, repeated one of the most improbable upsets you’ll ever see on a baseball field just three days after they did it for the first time. On Saturday, the Dutch pushed three runs across in a wild first inning and then held on for an improbable 3-2 win over the star-studded Dominicans. (see story)
The Netherlands’ win overshadowed a dominant performance by Dominican starter Ubaldo Jimenez, who fanned 10 of the 13 batters he faced in his four innings of work while allowing just two hits. The 10 strikeouts set a new World Baseball Classic record, breaking the mark set by Japan’s Koji Uehara in 2006.
The Dutch are assured of a spot in the next round, but will take on Puerto Rico on Wednesday at 5:30 to determine the top seed in their pool.
Jay LeBlanc is an assistant news editor at The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.