Pool A (stands for Asian intrigue): This pool wrapped up yesterday, which in was Monday in the United States but actually 2011 in the Eastern Hemisphere. Or something like that. Anyway, Japan advanced to the second round by winning their first two games but was then forced to play a rematch with Korea (who earlier toppled China to advance) to determine which team would end up as the top seed. Should have been a walk in the park for the Japanese, who two days earlier crushed Korea 14-2 and had a restful day off on Sunday while the Koreans toiled with an extra game. No matter, because Korea sent Jung Keun Bong to the mound to smoke out the Japanese hitters. Only Kenji Johjima and Hiroyuki Nakajima managed singles off Bong in five and a third innings, a lifetime when pitchers are limited to just 70 pitches, and Korea won a squeaker 1-0 to claim the Pool A Title.
Pool B (stands for Burrito bombs): Mexican first basemen Adrian Gonzalez smacked two tater dongs, part of a 14-3 romp over South Africa that sent those fine fellows home. Mexico awaits the loser of the Cuba/Australia game to reclaim their chance of redeeming Kris' poorly thought-out prediction.
Pool C (stands for Canadian tears): Break out the Chianti and the maccherone, Dolores: they're doin' the tarantell' on College Street in Toronto tonight! Team Italy pulled off the upset behind Chris Denorfia's four hits, three doubles, and a diving catch that robbed Joey Votto of an extra-base hit in the 7th. The Eye-talz, under the sharp tutelage of hitting coach Mike Piazza and manager Mike Hargrove, now face a tired-armed Team Venezuela again for the right to advance to the next round. Sad Canadians retreated to the open arms of Bloor Street bars and the Hockey Hall of Fame for comfort. The Carling tall boys always taste better flavored with salty tears.
Pool D (stands for Dutch tenacity): The Kingdom of the Netherlands held onto a 1-0 lead by the thinnest thread as long as they could before a trio of Dutch relievers finally folded in the eighth. Puerto Rico advances to the next round by the score of 3-1 while the Netherlands must now tangle with the Dominicans in a rematch. Puerto Rican outfielder Bernie Williams looked to be the early goat as he misplayed a ball that led to the Dutch run and was thrown out at the plate early while hustling his forty-year-old bones around the basepaths. Ian Snell did well shutting down Team Hollandaise at the outset.