One of the crucial moments for Cuba in the V World Baseball Classic had Yoelkis Guibert as protagonist. In the fifth inning of the match against Australia, with a outthe bases loaded and a score of 2×1 on the board, the left-hander from Santiago connected a golden hit to the also sinister Jon Kennedy and increased the difference in favor of the island to three scores.
Ultimately, that connection to right field on a sinker at 87 miles per hour was decisive for the victory of the Cuban team over the aussies that a inning then they closed on the scoreboard on Rixon Wingrove’s two-run homer.
Consequently, Guibert’s drive was key to the classification of Cuba to the semifinals in Miami. Also to achieve fourth place in the Clásico, the best position for a team from the island since the runner-up position obtained in the inaugural version of 2006.
The 28-year-old player, with seven National Series under his belt and experience in the Mexican league, does not hide his joy at contributing decisively to the advancement of Cuba, with his only two RBIs in the tournament. However, the holder of the right field of the Antilles team -who dispatched six hits in the event and said goodbye with average offensive .333— is not puffed up and celebrates the success “of the whole team” in the Classic, a tournament that he classifies as “very difficult” and that he thanks God for having been able to play defending the colors of the island.
This Monday, after the official welcome to the Cuban team at the Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum, OnCuba was able to obtain statements from Guibert, along with other accredited media. In a brief exchange with the press, shortly before leaving the facility, the native of Santiago commented on what happened in the Clásico, his immediate future, and highlighted his satisfaction at being part of the so-called “Team Asere” and the chemistry between the team members.
These were his words.
Golden Jit vs. Australia
It was a very exciting moment for me, the most important at-bat of my life. After landing that jit I felt very excited. Imagine, it is my first tournament at that level and that turn of so much responsibility came to me was something special.
Responding in this way and contributing to the team’s victory was a tremendous joy, because I was not coming at my best moment. Performance had dropped a bit. But the management trusted me and the hit came out. I am very happy for that and also with what the whole team has done. Because I gave that jit, but the result was everyone’s.
Preparation for that at-bat
I entered that shift well focused. I got to two and two, and I only thought about making contact with the ball, because with any connection I made I could produce for the team, which was the important thing to extend the advantage. Thank God he can connect at that moment and the jit came out, so even better.
Game and result in the semifinal in Miami
What happened in Miami has not affected us. We remain with the same momentum, because wherever we play, we are the Cuba team. We represent our country and all Cubans who follow us for baseball. Because what we do is baseball, not politics or other things. We don’t get involved in those issues. What we always try is to make the Cuban fans happy, who supported us so much now in the Clásico.
The team never let its guard down because of the things that happened in Miami. We always stayed focused, focused on the game, not on what was happening off the pitch. Victory couldn’t come, but not because we were affected by other things, that was not the cause, but because the United States was better than us on the ground. It is a great team, with great players, with figures of the best level who make the most of any opportunity that is given to them, and it was a great experience to be able to face them.
Final result in El Clásico
This fourth place is very important, because it has been 17 years since the Cuban team was in a semifinal phase of the Classic. It wasn’t easy, because we had to overcome two defeats, but we all knew how to get out of the rut, and thank God we had the opportunity to be in the semifinals.
El Clásico was a very difficult event, with very high-quality players, and we are quite happy with the performance we had in the tournament. That success belongs to the entire team, who knew how to get along and get ahead.
Everything was fine. Since those who play in the MLB arrived on day 3, there was a lot of chemistry between us. Many of them played in Cuba at some point and have the same character, the same Cuban identity as those of us who live here. Some of us didn’t know each other, but the Cuban, wherever he is, as soon as he sees another Cuban, that chemistry quickly develops, because it is something that is in us. That’s why we got along well and the result came out.
Reception in Cuba
It has been tremendous. We are very happy and grateful to everyone who made such a beautiful reception possible, especially to the people who always trusted us, who always gave us their support from a distance, and who came to share this moment with us. It’s something very exciting.
Future of Cuban baseball
I hope that after the performance in the Classic and the way the team worked, the level of Cuban baseball continues to rise. This result motivates a lot, not only those of us who make up the team, but also the rest of the players in all categories. To the kids. I think this makes them want to play baseball more and it will help more talents come out in the country.
Short term plans
Until now I haven’t seen anything to play in other leagues after the Classic, so I’m going to be here in Cuba, with my family. I’m going to take a week or two off. If I don’t receive any contract proposal, I plan to join my team, Santiago de Cuba, to play in the National Series, and see if we can also give joy to the Santiago fans, who deserve it. And, of course, continue preparing myself for whatever comes and to continue representing Cuba at an international level.
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