SAN FRANCISCO Hensley Meulens had ties to both teams in the World Baseball Classic semi-final on Monday, but the Netherlands manager felt the undeniable sting of their 4-1 loss to the Dominican Republic.
"I had my mom on the field today. She's full Dominican," Meulens explained. "My dad was on the field, too. He's full Dutch. So I was in between there, with half of my family still living in the Dominican Republic."
Family loyalties, however, paled in comparison to the emptiness of seeing a campaign end one stage from the ultimate goal.
"I really appreciate the Dominican Republic people, but I feel pain today after having lost this game and to not have been able to perform at the level that I need for the Dutch people," said Meulens.
The Dominicans continued their irresistible run through the tournament, improving their record to 7-0 and aiming to become the first WBC team to get through the competition unbeaten.
Four years ago, the tables were turned in their WBC match-up as the Netherlands beat the favored Dominicans twice in the first round to eliminate them.
"I think in 2009, they weren't as concentrated and we were able to defeat them then," he said. "But this time they have been totally victorious up until now."
The Dominican Republic advanced to an all-Caribbean final against Puerto Rico on Tuesday.
With his team now eliminated, Meulens was no longer conflicted.
"Hopefully they will win also tomorrow," he said.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)