Following the conclusion of the Baseball5 World Cup in 2024, there will be a Youth Baseball5 World Cup staged in the intervening year of 2023. Baseball5 will also be played at the sixth Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games, which will be held in Tunisia next year, as well as the ANOCA Beach Games, and the Youth Olympic Games, which will be held in 2026.
In the first-ever WBSC Baseball5 World Cup 2022 final
which took place on Saturday in Mexico City’s electric El Zocalo, pre-tournament favorites Cuba cruised to a 2-0 (9-1, 6-2) victory over Asia’s vice-champions Japan. The match was a highlight of the event, which was held in Mexico City.
It was a reasonable expectation, and it was the right thing to do. Cuba has been by far the best team of the week, and they once again showcased their full credentials in an impressive final performance. Prior to the final, Cuba had an astounding average of 2.1 runs per inning (the next best was Chinese Taipei with 1.0), Venezuela with 0.8, and Japan with 0.7), and a run differential of +129 (the next best was Chinese Taipei with 52, Venezuela with 16, and Japan with 9).
Cuba and Japan didn’t disappoint, putting up the skill and drama to highlight the wonderful qualities of the WBSC’s newest discipline, as the teams were greeted by a party atmosphere on center court.
Standing room only existed in the center court, which could hold 2,000 spectators, and those who were unable to do so watched the game on a large screen outside.
To win the World Championship and their 42nd WBSC World Champion title overall (including 41 men’s baseball crowns), Cuba, the nation where Baseball5 was born, dominated the week-long festival by going undefeated in nine games.
Cuba entered the final having not dropped a game (winning all prior games 2-0), including a 2-0 (2-0; 5-2) victory over Japan in the Opening Round. They were happy to be considered favorites.
The game began with Japan’s Takuya Shima striking out short of the foul line while Cuba got going right away with leadoff hitter Orlando Amador going straight to first, Briandy Molina quickly following, and Amador scoring on the strength of a great hit from Roivelis Nunez. Soon after, Briandy crossed, and Amador later returned the favor for Nunez. Ayako Rokkaku, whose double play was one of the greatest in the competition, had to catch Briandy out in center field before making the out at first for Japan to end the first inning with Cuba leading 3-0.
Japan had its chances but fell short in key situations. Takeru Miyanohara hit it into the advertising wall on the full in the top of the second with Shima on third and Rokkaku on first.
Nunez, Amador, and Lietis Arcia all scored during Cuba’s next at-bat to make it 6-0. Until Amador made one of the plays of the competition by leaping over Ayano Kazuta on his way to second base while Kazuta was grounded fielding a Briandy pitch, Cuba’s Briandy was on fire in centerfield at this point.
Cuba continued to play in rhythm as a result, scoring two more times in the third inning to increase the score to 8-0 and excite the audience even more.
Finally, Japan scored in the fourth inning when Shima came home to make the score 8-1, but Briandy had the last word as he scored immediately after to make the score 9-1.
Shima’s goal gave Japan the advantage early in the second game, but Cuba responded to everything Japan could muster with runs from Amador, Briandy, Nunez, and Martinez to take the lead 4-1.
Shima added another run in the second after Chaquira Azpiazu fumbled the ball at first, bringing the score to 4-2; nevertheless, Amador was in imperious form and added another run along with Arcia at the bottom of the fourth. All eyes were on Japan in the top of the fifth with Cuba leading 6-2 to see if they could mount a comeback, but it was not to be as Shun Mikami hit the ball over the advertising board to start wild celebrations in Cuba.
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