Just when I thought the Netherlands was really about to pull off the upset of the century, beating Puerto Rico to advance to the WBC finals, Puerto Rico had another gear to shift into. The Netherlands were without young Yankee shortstop Didi Gregorious, who had to leave the WBC due to a shoulder injury. When I caught news of this I basically wrote Netherlands, and just this game in general off. Turns out I couldn't of been more wrong, the semi final game was a war for the ages, Netherlands rallied around the guys they had proving they have more talent than you think, and represented their country with great pride with the performance they gave during this classic. Unfortunately for the Netherlands, Puerto Rico is a helluva of a ball club, with a helluva a lot of outstanding players, so to make them work that hard for a W is something to be proud of.
A few players really stood out for the Netherlands in this tournament, though. Wladimir Balentein is a name you'll definitley start hearing some buzz around. Balentein had a monster tournament, he hit 4 long balls, had an average of .640, and drove in 12 runs, now if that's not worth giving the kid an extra look I don't know what is. He's only 24, so teams should be drooling all over this kid, but for whatever reason he's gone this long unnoticed. The Netherlands head coach is another guy looking for a job at the major league level. Hensley Meulens is hoping he get some interest from clubs around the MLB for a manager position since he did so well with this Netherlands team. I'd say why not give him a shot, no way I thought the Netherlands would be fighting for a WBC finals spot, and there they were in extra innings fighting for a spot in the championship game. That has to earn Meulens some props.
The blonde hair bandits are just too experienced, composed, and talented to not make it to the WBC finals. Seems like no matter what the Netherlands did, Puerto Rico had an answer. Whether it was Yadier Molina making heads up plays by throwing an unsuspecting baserunner out or it's Carlos Correa carrying the whole damn country on his back, this team just finds ways to win. It's no wonder why they've made it to back to back championship games. The only thing is, they'll be especially hungry to win this time around since they came up short in 2013. No team has looked hungrier than Puerto Rico in these games and their undefeated record seems to prove that. If USA can get passed Japan, they're going to have a tall task at trying to take down the blonde hair bandits. Either way though, USA technically wins because I'm pretty sure Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, just saying.