The Cubans prevailed despite having turned over its national team to a younger group of position players, and with the top pitchers of its 2000 silver medal team--Jose Contreras, Jose Ibar and Maels Rodriguez--all having either defected or been barred from the team. Nevertheless, new stars such as veteran lefthander Adiel Palma(won 3 games), outfielder Frederich Cepeda (hit .455) and second baseman Youlieski Gourriel combined with holdovers such as Eduardo Paret, catcher Ariel Pestano (hit .514 with 14 RBI) and pitchers Norge Vera and Pedro Luis Lazo to lead Cuba back to the top of the international baseball world.-Baseball America