More WBC Exhibition Games

The last of the exhibition games are being played in the Asian Group.  This weekend the games will count with Korea playing a tough game against Netherlands to start things off.  The Netherlands were the surprise of the last WBC tournament advancing to the second round after defeating a loaded Dominican Republic team twice.  They are also the defending World Cup champions after defeating Cuba in 2011.

Korea are no pansies.  They won the last Olympics and finished in second place in the 2009 WBC.  They have been hurt by injuries and no shows by a couple key major leaguers, but they still have veteran talent on the team.  They have been struggling in exhibition games, but that is the sign of a veteran team.

The Netherlands beat a Taiwan University All Star team 4-1.  Wladimir Balentien hit another homerun.  NPB pitchers have learned that when Wladimir gets hot his homeruns come in bunches.  Shairon Martis got the start.  Martis has the distinction of being the only pitcher to throw a no-hitter in a WBC game.  The Netherlands have been very dominant in their exhibition games.

Italy evened their record to 1-1 by beating the Seattle Mariner minor leaguers 6-4.  They had lost to them the previous day.  Mario Chiarini was the offensive hero with a 3 for 4 start and three RBIs.  Alessandro Maestri abondoned his major league career but appears to have some promise in his NPB career.  He got the start for Italy, who will play later in the Arizona group.

The Softbank Hawks shutout Brazil 2-0.  The Brazillian offense could manage only three hits and they struck out 11 times.  The best the offense could do was get back to back two out hits in the first inning.  In the second inning a hit batsman and walk put two runners on.  After that they had two baserunners for the remaining seven innings.  The pitchers were solid limiting the Hawks to four hits and just one of the two runs was earned.  Brazil must open up against two time champion Japan who will be pitching Masahiro Tanaka.  Brazil has a chance as Tanaka has been struggling in exhibition games and Japan has had trouble scoring runs.

The Korean team had another disappointing exhibition game, playing to a 2-2 tie against a semi-pro team from Taiwan.  As a team they are only hitting .222, scoring 11 runs in five games.  On Saturday the games will count with an opening round game against Netherlands.

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