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U.S. national baseball team beats Cuba for title

July 13, 2008 | 10:20 pm

Cal State Fullerton's Jared Clark homered in the top of the sixth to break a 1-1 tie as the U.S. national team defeated Cuba 4-1 today in the championship game of the 24th Haarlem Baseball Week in the Netherlands.

The U.S. improved to 14-0 on the 2008 tour and finished 7-0 in the Haarlem Baseball Week.

The Cuban team is the same team, minus one player, that won the silver medal in the 2006 World Baseball Classic and the gold medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics. It also is the same team that will compete in the Beijing Games.

Today's victory marked the first time, according to the USA Baseball, that a U.S. collegiate national team defeated the Cuban Olympic team in a tournament title game. The Americans also beat Cuba 1-0 last Sunday.

A two-out error allowed Cuba to take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. With runners at first and second, Alfredo Despaigne lined a single to left, but left fielder Josh Fellhauer, also from Cal State Fullerton, misplayed the ball, allowing a run to score. But the U.S. got out of the inning on the very next pitch when first baseman Clark made a diving grab on a line drive in foul territory.

Cal's Blake Smith led off the top of the fifth with a solo home run, tying the game.

Cuba starter Adiel Palma did not factor in the decision. He allowed one run on six hits and one walk with three strikeouts over 4.2 innings.

The U.S. team plays the German national team on Tuesday.

-- Debbie Goffa

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