Jonathan Schoop (Orioles) had an RBI single in a two-run fourth inning, and international veteran Rob Cordemans and the Dutch bullpen made it hold up as the Netherlands beat Cuba 2-1 in a rain-plagued final day at the 2011 World Cup in Panama.
The Netherlands scored two runs in the fourth, answering a Cuban run in the top frame, and held on behind Cordemans, who was the Florida junior college pitcher of the year in 1997 at Indian River (Fla.) JC. Cordemans has pitched in the Netherlands as a pro, and the 36-year-old has pitched in the Olympics and numerous international tournaments. This was his finest moment, as he pitched 7 1/3 innings, struck out six and yielded only one run. Juan Carlos Sulbaran (Reds) gave up two hits but got three outs, and veteran David Bergman got the last two outs to earn the save and the gold medal for the Dutch. The final out, a soft line drive by Cuba's Hector Olivera, can be viewed on this Dutch website.
It's the first gold medal for a European nation in the World Cup since the first tournament in 1938, when just two nations participated. No European nation has won the Olympics or World Baseball Classic, either. So for all intents and purposes, it's the first time a European nation has won a major international tournament.
The bronze-medal game between the U.S. and Canada was rained out, with Canada earning the bronze by the tiebreaker method used. Canada had beaten the U.S. head-to-head and had a better overall record in the Cup. The U.S. exits the Cup without a medal after winning gold in 2009 and 2007.
We'll have more on the Cup in the next issue of Baseball America. Canada, Cuba and the U.S. now move on to the next tournament, the Pan American Games in Mexico. The U.S. hopes to add a catcher to its roster to replace the injured Travis d'Arnaud (Blue Jays).