Havana, June 27 (IANS) Cuban baseball team Occidentales has been training at Havana’s Latinoamericano Stadium, with an eye to taking part in the 2013 World Port Tournament to be hosted by the Dutch port city of Rotterdam, beginning June 30.
The team, to be led by coach Yosvani Aragon, includes 14 players who represented Cuba in the 3rd World Classics in March this year, reports Xinhua.
The champion of Cuban baseball’s Games of the Stars last season plans to travel to Rotterdam June 28, two days before it debuts against Curazao.
The tournament includes two other teams, Chinese Taipei, winners of the last edition of World Port, held in 2011, and the host team Netherlands.
The traditional Dutch tournament, first played in 1985 and held every other year, will see all three teams play each other in two rounds. The teams that finish first and second will compete for the gold medal in a final match July 7.
This year the Cubans aim to recover the title they lost in 2011 to Chinese Taipei, for their ninth championship win in Rotterdam.
But the Dutch team will be tough to beat. The team, which won fourth place at the 3rd World Classics, features left-handed pitcher Diegomar Markwell, who has beat Cuba before.
The Dutch were the ones who shut out Cuba in the semifinals of the last world championship.
Aragon, however, is confident, saying his team is full of young talent, with an excellent pitching squad and fast and strong hitters.
It’s likely that many of these same players will form part of the team that on July 18 will play against a team in the US.
The Occidentales lineup includes catchers Eriel Sanchez, Frank Camilo Morejon and Yosvani Peraza, as well as Jose Dariel Abreu ( 1st B), Alexander Malleta (1st B), Andy Ibanez (2nd B), Johan Moncada (2nd B), Yulieski Gourriel (3rd B), Pavel Quesada (3rd B), Erisbel Arruebarruena (3rd B) and Jose Miguel Fernandez (2nd B).
In the outfields are Stayler Hernandez, Yadiel Hernandez, Yasmani Tomas, Guillermo Heredia, Irait Chirino and a player who has yet to be determined.
Rounding out the team are pitchers Ismel Jimenez, Wilber Perez, Odrisamer Despaigne, Vladimir Banos, Noelvis Entenza, Jorge Hernandez, Raisel Iglesias and Duniel Ibarra.
–Indo-Asian New Service