Cubas Bicet stymies Japan
Alfredo Despaigne, who leads all tournament hitters, and Yosvani Peraza, who drove in three more runs, continued to carry the big stick for the Cuban offense.
Bicet, a right-hander from Santiago de Cuba, allowed only three hits in seven innings, striking out six and issuing two walks. Yolexis Ulacia came on to pitch in the eighth and lasted two outs into the ninth before Ciro Silvino Licea got the games final batter on a strikeout.
Offensively for Cuba, Peraza had two singles in four at-bats, driving in three runs to raise his tournament total to 14. Meanwhile, Alfredo Despaigne went 2-for-3 and his average soared to .588. Jose Julio Ruiz smashed his third homer to tie Despaigne and Pedro Alvarez of the US team. Reutilio Hurtado went 2-for-3 with one RBI.
After six games of round robin play, the Cubans managed by Victor Mesa lead in hitting (.345 average); home runs (9); ERA (1.71), and strikeouts (51). The defense has only committed five errors for a .981 average.
In the second game played on Wednesday, Holland blanked Chinese Taipei 4-0 on the excellent pitching of Leon Boyd, who went the route giving up only three hits, striking out five without a walk. Raily Legito and Sydney de Jong both were 2-for-4 to lead the Dutch attack.
The tournament standings are as follows: Cuba 6-0; the US and Holland 3-2; Chinese Taipei 2-4 and Japan 0-6. Thursday is a rest day for Cuba while Taipei plays Japan and the US meets Holland, which could decide who plays Cuba in the finals.