Punto, Italy eliminated from World Baseball Classic.

That headline came later than expected, which is progress enough for a country that’s produced one major leaguer in the last half-century.

Italy lost 4-3 to Puerto Rico in Miami on Wednesday night, ending its Cinderella run in the World Baseball Championship. Dodgers infielder Nick Punto went 1 for 4 and scored Italy’s second run in a three-run fifth inning for Italy, which upset both Mexico and Canada in pool play.

Down 3-0, Puerto Rico pounced on Italy’s bullpen — just as the Dominican Republic did a night earlier — to win the game in comeback fashion.

Punto is expected back in Arizona to resume his spring training with the Dodgers. He sent the following tweet Wednesday night:

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.