SAN FRANCISCO – Cheers of “Dominicana! Dominicana!” rang out through the rain at AT&T Park all the way to the lively streets of Santo Domingo.
The Dominican Republic has its World Baseball Classic crown, at last.
Edwin Encarnacion hit a two-run double in the first inning that held up, and the Dominican Republic capped a dominant, unbeaten run through the WBC with a 3-0 win against Puerto Rico for the championship Tuesday night.
Erick Aybar added an RBI double to back winner Samuel Deduno, and the demonstrative Dominican righty threw his arms into the air in delight after watching a run-saving defensive gem by center fielder Alejandro De Aza in a tough fifth.
Now, the Dominicans get their long-awaited fiesta, a party they figured to have in 2009. But the Netherlands spoiled the plan by beating them twice for a stunning first-round exit.
After Fernando Rodney struck out Luis Figueroa to end it, the Dominicans rushed the mound – each player waving his own flag.
The Dominicans (8-0) won it in the very city where countrymen Felipe, Jesus and the late Matty Alou made history in 1963 when they appeared in the same Giants outfield for several games. Moises Alou, son of former San Francisco skipper Felipe, is the Dominican general manager.
No matter their team, Caribbeans had so much to cheer in the championship of a tournament missing the star-studded American team yet again. The U.S. failed to reach the final for the third time in as many WBCs.
And Puerto Rico eliminated two-time reigning Classic champion Japan with a 3-1 victory Sunday night to make in all-Caribbean final.
This game gave new meaning to the idea of a Caribbean championship.