Mike Aviles continues to be the spark plug for team Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic as the 51st state accomplished yet another upset, this time knocking out the vaunted team Japan. In the first inning, Aviles knocked in the first run of the game with a single after Irving Falu and Carlos Beltran walked. His nine RBI rank second among all players in this years tournament behind just David Wright. In the seventh inning, Aviles singled and scored on Alexis Rios' home run. These were the only three runs scored by Puerto Rico in the game, but it was enough as their pitching staff was dominant. Former Indian Fernando Cabrera was impressive again, saving his third game of the tournament, second only to Republic Dominica's Fernando Rodney.
The Dominican Republic will represent the Caribbean as well after getting revenge against the Netherlands team that knocked them out of the tournament in 2009. In the fifth inning, Carlos Santana lead off the inning with a double and was brought in by Moises Sierra. Jose Reyes then hit a single and later scored on a wild pitch that he at least enticed by dancing far off third base. Miguel Tejada scored the fourth run for the Dominican, but with their solid bullpen, it was all that was needed. Team Dominican Republic has been going all out this tournament and has won all 7 of their games. While teams like the USA and Canada gave days off to players and alternated the DH role, the DR has used Carlos Santana as starting catcher in every game and closer Fernando Rodney in every game as well. Luckily for their players, the tournament ends tonight with the championship game in San Francisco.
Coming into the World Baseball Classic the Dominican Republic was the favorite coming out of the Western Pools and their 7-0 record is not all that surprising. Puerto Rico has been a bit more of a surprise, but has actually won every one of their games that were not played against the DR. In those two games, the Dominican has outplayed Puerto Rico each time. Previous record is out of the question now, however as this final game will declare the winner of the entire WBC. Twins starting pitcher Sam Deduno will be taking the hill for the home team Dominicans while Giancarlo Alvarado will be starting for team Puerto Rico.