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Once Again, Cubans Beaten in Baseball

<i> From Associated Press</i>

World champion Cuba’s expected dash to the baseball gold medal at the Pan American Games keeps bogging down.

A day after losing to the United States, the Cubans looked listless in an 8-1 loss to Canada on Thursday.

But don’t count out Cuba (2-2). It still made it to the quarterfinals and can still win the gold medal.

Canada (4-0), which also beat the United States, won its pool and plays Guatemala in Saturday’s quarterfinals. The Americans, who play Panama in the quarterfinals, completed pool play Thursday with a 3-2 victory over Brazil.

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The Canada-Cuba game was played against a backdrop of Cuban charges that its athletes were being encouraged by the Winnipeg media and others to defect, and tempers flared after a collision at home plate in the seventh inning.

Canada’s Aaron Guiel flattened Cuban catcher Ariel Pestano for the second time in the game and was ejected. Guiel made no attempt to slide and appeared to deliver a forearm shiver to Pestano.

Players from both teams converged at home plate, but no punches were thrown.

Meanwhile, Pan Am officials announced they were cracking down on attempts to persuade Cuban athletes to defect.

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The world champion U.S. women’s softball team was unchallenged by Colombia as Danielle Henderson threw a perfect game, striking out 16 in seven innings of a 9-0 victory.

Americans got gold and bronze in three-meter springboard diving as Mark Ruiz edged defending champion Fernando Platas of Mexico. Troy Dumais was third.

Wimbledon sensation Alexandra Stevenson won her Pan Am tennis debut, 6-2, 6-0, over Miriam D’Agostini of Brazil.


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