Canada claimed a shock win over Cuba at the WBSC Premier12 event ©Baseball Canada

Canada sprung the first surprise of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Premier12 event as they claimed a shock 5-1 victory over Olympic silver medallists Cuba at Taichung's Intercontinental Stadium today.

The Canadians, ranked seventh in the world, raced into an early 3-0 lead at the top of the first innings, with Pete Orr hitting a two-run homer as his side made a blistering start to their opening Pool A contest.

Cuba quickly responded and reduced the deficit to two as the frantic nature of the first innings continued, but it proved to be their only score of the day as the Canadians shut them out at every opportunity.

The Cubans never really got close to replicating the form which saw them reach the final the last time the sport was held as part of the Olympic Programme at Beijing 2008, where they suffered defeat at the hands of South Korea, and Canada scored twice more in the seventh to seal a deserved triumph.

The United States, widely considered as one of the favourites to clinch the inaugural Premier12 trophy, got their campaign off to a winning start as they thumped the Dominican Republic 11-5.

The number two ranked team were excellent with the bat in the opening innings, establishing a 3-0 cushion, but the Dominican Republic hit back and squared the match at 3-3 during the second.

Clearly intent on stamping their authority on proceedings, the American team then went and scored six times in the third innings to effectively kill off the challenge of the spirited Dominican outfit.

The United States were in high-scoring form as they beat the Dominican Republic 11-5
The United States were in high-scoring form as they beat the Dominican Republic 11-5 ©WBSC

They were then able to see out a comfortable win to ensure they kept pace with Japan, who won their first game 5-0 against Olympic gold medallists South Korea on Sunday (November 8) at the top of Pool B.

Elsewhere on a bumper day of action in Chinese Taipei, Puerto Rico hammered Italy 7-1 in Pool A, while Mexico edged Venezuela 6-4 in Pool B.

The first-ever edition of the tournament, which the WBSC hopes will showcase the sport in a positive light after it was put forward for inclusion at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, continues tomorrow with another six matches.

Reigning Olympic champions South Korea will be aiming to bounce back from their opening defeat when they entertain Venezuela, before Puerto Rico take on Cuba.

The US then come to the fore once again as they play Mexico and world number one side Japan face the Dominican Republic.

Day four of the event then draws to a close as The Netherlands do battle with Italy, while Canada clash with Chinese Taipei.

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