Aug 26, – Cuba is preparing its lineup for the upcoming 26th 18U Baseball World Championship in Taipei, China, from Aug. 30 to Sept 8, hoping for a repeat of its 2004 win there.Since the championship first took place in 1981, Cuba has won 11 editions, the last in 2004.
But the title has eluded the country lately, and in the past four editions, Cuba has not even made it into the ranks of the finalists, with South Korea, the United States and Chinese Taipei dominating the field.
The lineup, however, includes several seasoned players, with experience in the national series, including infielder Yoan Manuel Moncada, outfielders Victor Mesa and Julio Pablo Martinez, a lefty with a good track record, and pitcher Ariel Diaz, who can play both opening and relief pitching positions.
Rounding out the team are receivers Orlando Roa and Yunier Ibarra, and infielders Mario Miranda, Randy Arrozarena, Yanio Luis Perez and Moises Esquerres, as well as Moncada.
In the outfield, Yusnier Diaz, Luis Robert Moiran and Alexquemer Sanchez will be accompanying Mesa and Martinez.
Diaz, meanwhile, will be accompanied by pitchers Arbelio Quiroz, Aldo Conrado, Yoandry Caro, Yadiel Echevarria, Noel Ortiz, Ruben Hernandez and Vladimir Gutierrez.
Cuba has a challenging schedule as part of Group B, playing opening day Aug. 30 against Australia, the runner-up three years ago, then goes on to play Colombia, South Korea, Italy and the United States, the 2012 champion.
The top three teams of Group B will go on to the second round, where they will play the top three from Group A, which includes Canada, Chinese Taipei, Venezuela, the Czech Republic, Mexico and Japan.
Baseball, which in Cuba is more akin to a religion than a sport, is closely watched by its demanding fans and reporters, who are expecting a better performance from the young athletes.