Puerto Rico beat all the odds and defeated the two-time World Baseball Champions Japan by a score of 3-1 to secure themselves a spot in the finals. By defeating Japan, Puerto Rico is already classified as no less than #2 worldwide. Not bad for a team that was not supposed to have gone beyond the first round.
The experts predicted that the two teams advancing from the first round played in San Juan, Puerto Rico was going to be Dominican Republic and Venezuela. Puerto Rico sent Venezuela home and advanced to the second round in Miami.
The Experts predicted that the second round finalist to advance to the semi-finals and finals was going to be the Dominican Republic and the USA. Again, the underdog Puerto Rico sent the USA home and secured their spot in the semi-finals in San Francisco. By losing the game to the Dominican Republic for a position in the finals they were seated against the champions and mighty Japanese team.
Again, the experts had Puerto Rico as the serious underdog against Japan. However, someone forgot to tell Puerto Rico as they came to the game with a winning momentum as they took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a Mike Aviles single off Japanese starter Kenta Maeda. Puerto Rico scored again when Alex Rios homered deep to left after Aviles singled to open the seventh off reliever Atsushi Nohmi.
By defeating Japan they have positioned themselves as one of the top baseball teams in the world. No matter what happened between the Netherlands and Dominican Republic Puerto Rico is already #2 in World Baseball. This is the highest ranking Puerto Rico has ever achieved in world team competition. They were classified 4th in World Basketball in the Tokyo games in 1964.