Team Dominican Republic's motto this World Baseball Classic so perfectly encapsulates its first-round play, you'd think it coined the phrase after advancing.The Dominicans' mantra: "Have fun and find a way.":: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::That's exactly what they did in pool play, leaving Miami with a 3-0 record after several
Team Dominican Republic's motto this World Baseball Classic so perfectly encapsulates its first-round play, you'd think it coined the phrase after advancing.
The Dominicans' mantra: "Have fun and find a way."
:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::
That's exactly what they did in pool play, leaving Miami with a 3-0 record after several late-inning celebrations. The winning is the "fun" part and the "finding a way" comes with it, like how they came back against Andrew Miller to beat the Team USA on Saturday and rallied in extras to top Colombia on Sunday.
"It's nice to know we have a good chance, even though anything can happen in this game," third baseman Adrian Beltre said Monday. "It was a little more dramatic than I expected, but they were great games. Hopefully we can get the same here."
"Here" is Petco Park in San Diego, where the team enjoyed a workout day Monday. Second-round or Pool F play begins Tuesday at 6 pm ET with a battle of undefeated teams as the Dominicans take on Pool D champion Puerto Rico. Only two teams will advance from the pool that also includes the United States and Venezuela.
The defending Classic champions are feeling confident after a series of dramatic wins in front of boisterous crowds at Marlins Park.
"You can play for many different teams and the fans go with the teams, but when you represent your country, the whole Dominican doesn't matter where you go," said slugger Nelson Cruz, who hit the game-winning homer off Miller to beat the U.S. "They are going to follow you."
Dominican manager Tony Pena said this year's team is more balanced than the nation's championship team from 2013. Six players from that squad are back this time around, including reigning MVP Robinson Cano and Cruz.
The memories from that tournament inspired Cruz to play again.
"We love it. We breathe baseball," Cruz said. "We won the games we were supposed to win. The whole team did a great job of contributing when we needed. We are where we want to be."
"Everybody is here because they want to be here and they want to represent their country," Pena said. "We didn't come down here to just have a good time and skip Spring Training."
Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com.