The Dominican Republic are the new champions of the World Baseball Classic (WBC) after they beat Puerto Rico 3-0 in the title game.
The offense provided by the likes of Jose Reyes, Edwin Encarnación and Erick Aybar were enough for Los Quisqueyanos to become the first team to finish the WBC undefeated.
Starter Samuel Deduno and closer Fernando Rodney were two of the Dominican pitchers who gave up three hits as they shutout a tenacious Boricua squad.
"You always remember the first time for everything," said Dominican outfielder Robinson Cano who was named WBC Most Valuable Player. "This is always going to be in our hearts for the rest of our lives," added Cano who hit .469 and two home runs in eight games.
Puerto Rico could not overcome their traditional Caribbean foes in the three times they faced each other at this year's WBC. Nevertheless, the team can hold their heads up high as worthy runners-up who upset previous titleholders Japan in the semifinals.
"We are a bit disappointed, but my guys are leaving with their heads up," Puerto Rico manager Edwin Rodriguez said after Tuesday night's game. "This has been a good championship. They should be very proud, each of the members of this team.
Aside from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, the WBC was also a success for Brazil. The South American country best known for being a global soccer powerhouse surprisingly won their qualifying round series last November.
Several Latin American sides suffered from early exits in the tournament though none was more disappointing than the Cuban side that fell twice against the Netherlands in pool play.
Online Sources - ESPN, Chicago Tribune, MLB.com, The New York Times