SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - A scrappy Netherlands team caught the Dominican Republic - and the rest of the baseball world - by total surprise.
Now, all those Dominican stars are done at the World Baseball Classic.
Eugene Kingsale singled in the tying run and scored the game-winner in the 11th inning Tuesday night as the Netherlands rallied for a 2-1 victory over the heavily favored Dominicans, earning an astonishing spot in the second round.
After an error by first baseman Willy Aybar allowed the winning run to score, Netherlands players rushed out of the dugout and piled all over each other in a raucous celebration that resembled a World Series finale.
Jose Reyes, Robinson Cano and other Dominican stars slumped quietly in the dugout, staring ahead in shock.
"This is a miracle. The Dominican Republic is one of the best teams in the world," Netherlands manager Rod Delmonico said with tears in his eyes. "It is difficult to describe what took place. These kids have fought for three days. I have never had a team with this much passion."
It was the second time in four days that a Netherlands squad made up of little-known players upset the Dominican Republic, considered one of the favorites coming into the 16-team tournament thanks to a roster filled with major league All-Stars.
Even without injured Alex Rodriguez, the Dominicans featured David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, Miguel Tejada and Pedro Martinez, just to name a few. But in two games they couldn't solve an unheralded Netherlands pitching staff coached by former big leaguer Bert Blyleven.
"With so many years in this game and in so many different leagues, when someone thinks they have seen it all, they end up being wrong," Dominican Republic manager Felipe Alou said. "We have seen something happen that we never imagined."
Netherlands players were still on the field celebrating 15 minutes after the game ended.
The Dominican Republic reached the semifinals of the inaugural WBC in 2006, and a first-round exit in Group D this time seemed almost unthinkable a few days ago.