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The Netherlands Beat the Dominican Republic?

Yup, it really did. Three runs in the first inning off young Reds starter Edinson Volquez (two of them unearned) stood up thanks to a throwback performance from Sidney Ponson, who looked just as plump but significantly more effective than he did when he was pitching for the Orioles.

More impressive was the sheer composure shown by the team's young pitchers and, particularly, by the Netherlands' catcher, a prospect named Kenley Jansen. Twice the Dominicans put the game-tying run on base in the eighth and ninth inning, and both times Jansen kept them from advancing, successfully holding Jose Reyes on in the eighth and throwing out Wily Taveras in the ninth.

If you're trying to put this upset into context, don't sell it short. Yes, the World Baseball Classic is an event with marginal significance, at best. But this is much more like Appalachian State upsetting Michigan than it is like the Giants knocking off the Patriots in the Super Bowl. The two teams' rosters were even close to comparable. The Netherlands has two players with names people might recognize: Ponson and first baseman Randall Simon. The Dominican Republic used Reyes as a pinch runner. Seriously.

It just goes to show that anything can happen in baseball on the right day, and this was most definitely the Netherlands' day.

By Cameron Smith  |  March 7, 2009; 3:26 PM ET
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