By Rabiel Vega
Team Cuba, who will be participating in the World Classic, beat Taiwan Cooperative Bank in the ninth qualifying game in what was considered a major event. With a score of 3×0, it was the Antillean team’s fourth win and second in a row with five losses so far on the Asian tour.
It is important to clarify that this Taiwanese team does not belong to the Professional League (CPBL) and the match is not broadcast on Cuban television or any streaming signal.
The Asian pitch kept the Cuban hitters quiet through the top of the third. During that span they were hitless off the bat of Urisbel Gracial in the third inning.
The Cuban starter, Elian Leyva, worked 3.2 innings, allowing four hits in the first two innings. He had no runs scored, walked once and scored 5 runs. His top speed was 90 MPH and he averaged 88 mph.
Cuba opened the can in the fourth inning. A twin Yadir Drake And Dayan Garcia’s RBI hit was enough to break the tie of the contest.
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Pinar del Rio’s left-hander Livan Moinelo, who took over from Mayabe, went a third inning where he allowed no hits or runs, striking out two and walking none. Spanning 94 miles and 93, he knew how to dominate his rivals and claim defeat.
The Cubans scored two more in the sixth. Once again Drake and Dayan Garcia combined with singles, joined by Urisbel Gracial, who brought both teammates to the plate with doubles.
Cuba lost in eighth place
The Cuban group confirmed its quality already at the end. A cluster of three runs tipped Cuba and landed in the middle of both teams.
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Royal Santos opened the shootout with a cannon shot, then Luis Vicente Mateo and Ariel Martinez followed with hits from Eriabel Arruberena and Alfredo Despain, respectively. Ariel helped push Cuba to fourth place.
Yadir Drake shined again with another double, this one a two-run drive and his third hit of the day. This victory put solid statistics on the game.
Finally, the Cuban team scored 12 goals by six of its rivals. They played error-free and the win went to left-hander Livan Moinelo.