Taipei, Oct. 31 (CNA) Cuba defeated the Netherlands 4-1 in Taichung on Sunday to win its third straight Intercontinental Cup baseball title and its 11th since the tournament began in 1973.
The Caribbean country showed why it is considered to be one of the best baseball countries in the world, going undefeated in eight games in the tourney.
The win, however, did not come without some drama for the defending champion, which seemed to have little to worry about with a 4-0 lead entering the top of the ninth inning.
The Dutch hitters, who had only produced two hits in eight innings against Cuban starter Miguel Martinez, punished closer Yadier Pedroso with three hits to score their first run and threatened to narrow the gap further by loading the bases.
But right-hander Jonder Martinez finished off the next three batters, striking out two of them, to end the suspense.
Cuba had 10 hits in the game, including a solo home run by Alexeis Bell, to the Netherlands' five.
It was Cuba's second consecutive victory over the Netherlands in the Intercontinental Cup title game. It beat the Netherlands 6-3 in the 2006 championship game, which was also held in Taiwan.
Italy beat host Taiwan 4-3 in the bronze medal game earlier Sunday for its first ever medal finish in the tournament. Japan beat South Korea 2-1 in the fifth place game.
Nicaragua, the Czech Republic, Thailand and Hong Kong took the seventh- to 10th-place spots in the 10-team tournament.
According to the official Web site of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), the 2010 Intercontinental Cup played in Taiwan may be the final edition of the tournament. (By Chris Wang) enditem/ls