2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers

From BR Bullpen

The 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers determined the final four entries in the 2017 World Baseball Classic; the four lowest-ranking teams from the 2013 World Baseball Classic (Flag of Australia Australia, Flag of Mexico Mexico, Flag of Spain Spain and Flag of Brazil Brazil) had to defend their spots against three challengers per pool. Flag of Pakistan Pakistan replaced Flag of Thailand Thailand from the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, having been the fifth-best team in Asia in the 2014 Asian Games and 2015 Asian Championship. Mexico and Australia defended their spots, but Flag of Colombia Colombia replaced Spain and Flag of Israel Israel replaced Brazil by winning the other two pools; Colombia and Israel both made their first Classic.

See 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers (Rosters) for roster information.

Qualifying Group A: February 11-14, 2016[edit]

February 11[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of South Africa South Africa 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 4 7 9 0
Flag of New Zealand New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 3 3
WP: Dylan Unsworth (1-0), LP: Scott Cone (0-1)
Home Runs: none
  • Attendance: 529

South Africa opened the qualifying round with a 7-1 win over New Zealand, behind the solid pitching of U.S.-based minor leaguer Dylan Unsworth, who limited the Kiwis to 2 hits over 8 innings. He started off by retiring the first 11 batters he faced in order, and finished off his stint by striking out the side in the 8th. Garth Cahill then took over in the 9th, with a commanding 7-run lead, and gave up run on a hit and a pair of walks in a third of an inning, giving way to Jared Elario, who got the final two outs without further damage.

The South Africans took a 3-0 lead in the 3rd inning, after threatening in the first two innings but being stymied by a pair of excellent defensive plays, one by SS Scott Campbell who grabbed a line drive to end the 1st, and the second by LF Tim Auty who made a diving catch at the warning track the following inning. However, the defense failed in the 3rd, as the New Zealanders committed a pair of errors, but only after 3B Daniel Lamb-Hunt had made a nice play to complete a double play. However, Campbell made a throwing error to put a runner on base with two outs, and after starter Scott Cone was relieved by his brother Ben Cone, Kyle Botha and Brett Willemburg hit back-to-back singles, driving in a first run. Ben Cone hit Rowan Ebersohn to load the bases and a wild pitch followed by a throwing error by C Connar O'Gorman resulted in two more runs.

Things then stayed quiet until the 9th, when South Africa pulled away with a four-run inning, resulting from four hits and another New Zealand error against relievers Randy Yard and Riki Paewai. Substitute Moko Moanaroa scored the Kiwis' only run in the bottom of the 9th.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Flag of Philippines Philippines 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 3
Flag of Australia Australia 1 1 0 0 2 0 7 11 11 1
WP: Steven Kent (1-0), LP: J.R. Bunda (0-1) Sv: Peter Moylan (1)
Home Runs: None
  • Attendance: 1,142

The host Southern Thunder started out with a bang. They fell behind in the 1st as CF Eric Farris singled off Steven Kent, RF Chris Aguila drew a one-out walk and 3B Brady Conlan had a two-out RBI single. Kent allowed only two more hits and no more walks in the next 5 1/3 innings, though, and finished with 7 strikeouts in the win.

Australia tied the score in the bottom of the 1st. SS James Beresford singled off J.R. Bunda, 2B Brad Harman hit into a force out, CF Mitch Dening hit a grounder that SS Matt Vance made two errors on and 1B Stefan Welch singled in Harman. In the bottom of the 2nd, they went ahead as 3B Logan Wade had a one-out double and scored on a two-out hit by Beresford. They padded their lead in the 5th against former major leaguer Clay Rapada as Welch drew a one-out walk, LF Luke Hughes singled and RF Trent Oeltjen (coming out of retirement to play) smacked a two-run double. Austin Haynal relieved Rapada and escaped farther harm that inning.

The Southern Thunder really exploded in the 7th against Leslie Cabiling, the 5th pitcher for the Philippines. Wade doubled, PH Trent D'Antonio walked and Beresford had a two-run single for his fourth hit. Harman hit a sacrifice fly to make it 7-1, Dening singled and Welch delivered a two-run double to make it a five-run frame. After Cabiling hit Hughes and walked PH David Kandilas, he was finally replaced by Ernesto Binarao. C Allan de San Miguel hit into an error by Conlan that scored two runs and made it a mercy rule rout, ending the game.

February 12[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Philippines Philippines 1 0 0 2 1 3 0 0 x 7 11 2
Flag of New Zealand New Zealand 2 1 0 0 1 6 5 2 x 17 13 2
WP: Jimmy Boyce (1-0), LP: Taylor Garrison (0-1)
Home Runs: NZ: Boss Moanaroa (1); PHI Brady Conlan (1)
  • Attendance: 623

The Philippines put up a brave fight in the meeting of the losing teams from the two opening games, but in the end, the more experienced New Zealand squad was stronger, and they managed to pile up enough runs in the late innings to win the game early, as the contest was ended by mercy rule in the 8th inning after they had taken a ten-run lead, giving them a 17-7 win.

The key blow in the game was a three-run homer by 1B Boss Moanaroa off losing pitcher Taylor Garrison in the 6th inning. Overall, it was a great day for the former U.S. minor leaguer Moanaroa, as he went 4-for-5 with two doubles in addition to his long ball, driving in a total of seven runs. The winner was 18-year-old Jimmy Boyce, taking a break from his high school studies to pitch for his national team.

The early innings were back-and-forth, with the Philippines taking an early 1-0 lead in the 1st, only to see P Devon Ramirez cough it up by giving up a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame. New Zealand increased its lead to 3-1 with another run in the 2nd, but the Philippines tied it on a two-run homer by Brady Conlan off Andrew Marck in the 4th. The Philippines had an opportunity to really hurt their opponents when they put men on second and third in the 5th inning, with former major leaguer Chris Aguila coming up to bat, but New Zealand manager Chris Woodward replied by bringing in another player with big league experience, pitcher Nick Maronde, and he limited Aguila to a sacrifice fly for a 4-3 lead. The Kiwis tied it again in the bottom of that inning, only to see the Filipinos put up a three-spot in the 6th for a 7-4 lead. However, their bullpen was unable to stop the New Zealanders' bats after that. The New Zealanders erupted for 6 runs against Garrison in the 6th, then piled it on, with five more in the 7th, Moamaroa's two-run double being a key blow, and then ending the game when they managed to increase their lead to 10 runs with two more scores in the bottom of the 8th.

For the Philippines, lead-off hitter Eric Farris had four hits including a pair of doubles, putting him at 5 for 7 for the tournament. With his team clearly the underdog of the pool, manager Tim Hulett said he was satisfied that they had turned a corner by making their opponents work hard to defeat them: "I think [our opponents] can say the Philippines can play some baseball. We've got a way to go, don't get me wrong, but I like what I saw today." It was an odd claim as 14 of the players were Filipino-Americans and their 3 MLB players gave them more experience than South Africa and New Zealand, both of whom fared better. Actual Filipinos only had a total of 9 at-bats and 1 1/3 IP for the team.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of South Africa South Africa 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 6 1
Flag of Australia Australia 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 x 4 7 1
WP: Warwick Saupold (1-0), LP: Carl Michaels (0-1), SV: Ryan Searle (1)
Home Runs: none
  • Attendance: 2,237

In the second game of the day, matching the two Game 1 winners, Australia punched its ticket to the group finals by defeating South Africa, although it was harder than anticipated, as the final score was only 4-1. However, in the end, Australia's superior pitching prevailed, as four hurlers combined to strike out 11 opponents while allowing only a run on six hits. Starter Warwick Saupold allowed the South Africans' lone run in three innings of work, then former major leaguer Ryan Rowland-Smith pitched in with three scoreless innings, followed by two innings by Todd Van Steensel and one by Ryan Searle, who gave up a hit in the 9th but got all three outs on strikeouts for the save.

South Africa's lone run came in the 3rd inning, when LF Luke Hughes dropped a fly ball hit by Anthony Phillips for a double and Kyle Botha hit a two-out single. By then, the Australians already a had a 3-0 lead, after jumping on starter Carl Michaels (the lone remaining player from the South African 2000 Olympic team) in the bottom of the 1st, starting off the game with four straight hits by James Beresford, Logan Wade, Stefan Welch and Mitch Dening and eventually scoring three runs on five hits. It was a good thing that they got to Michaels early, as he did not allow another hit in three innings, before being pulled in order to be available for an eventual championship game. Beresford then drove in an insurance run with a ground out in the 6th to complete the scoring.

February 13[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of South Africa South Africa 1 0 4 0 0 3 0 0 1 9 11 0
Flag of New Zealand New Zealand 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 5 1
WP: Jared Elario (1-0), LP: John Lee (0-1)
Home Runs: none
  • Attendance: 1,367

South Africa ensured that the two most authentic national teams in this pool would meet in the finals with a convincing win. With one out in the 1st, the manager's sons, 2B Anthony Phillips and 3B Jonathan Phillips, both singled off John Lee. After a wild pitch, C Kyle Botha walked (the first of 17 walks today between the two teams). DH Brett Willemburg grounded in Anthony Phillips but Jonathan Phillips got trapped in a run-down to end the frame.

In the 3rd, South Africa pulled much farther ahead. Anthony Phillips drew the first of four walks today and Blair Johnstone relieved Lee. After he stole, Jonathan Phillips walked as well. Botha bunted both men over and Willemburg was intentionally walked to bring up DH Wesley Hoskins, who grounded in a run. LF Rowan Ebersohn, the team's youngest player, then smacked a RBI double for a 3-0 edge. 1B Keegan Swanepoel followed with a two-run single for a 5-0 lead.

New Zealand got their lone runs in the bottom of the 4th. 1B Boss Moanaroa drew a one-out walk from Jared Elario and after another out, 3B Daniel Lamb-Hunt walked as well. DH Moko Moanaroa delivered a two-run double. Those were the only runs off Elario in 4 1/3 innings, then Lloyd Stevens and Robert Lewis-Walker combined on 4 2/3 shutout innings of relief, with 3 hits and 2 walks.

With two outs in the top of the 6th, SS Gift Ngoepe singled off Scott Cone and advanced on a wild pitch. After Anthony Phillips walked again, Jimmy Boyce relieved Cone. He walked Jonathan Phillips then Botha hit a bases-clearing double for an 8-2 score. They got their last run in the 9th. PH Allan Randall singled off Jamie Wilson with one out; with two away, Swanepoel got his 4th hit of the day. CF Kyron Bibis reached on catcher's interference by Connar O'Gorman. Ngoepe then drew a bases-loaded walk to force in the final run.

February 14[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of South Africa South Africa 1 0 0 0 0 3 0 1 0 5 7 1
Flag of Australia Australia 1 0 0 0 2 1 2 6 X 12 17 1
WP: Peter Moylan (1-0), LP: Callan Pearce (0-1) Sv: Ryan Searle (2)
Home Runs: South Africa: Gift Ngoepe (1), Kyle Botha (1); Australia: Brad Harman (1), Allan de San Miguel (1)
  • Attendance: 1,766

Australia hosted South Africa to determine if Australia or Africa would be the 5th continent represented in the 2017 Classic alongside North America, Asia, Europe and South America. The hosts won a slugfest by banging out 17 hits to return to the Classic.

South Africa jumped ahead when SS Gift Ngoepe opened the game with a home run off former major leaguer Travis Blackley, South Africa's first homer of the Qualifiers. In the bottom of the 1st, the Aussies tied it up. With two outs, Kyle Gaddin hit CF Mitch Dening and 1B Stefan Welch singled. RF Trent Oeltjen doubled in Dening but Welch was thrown out trying to score on the play.

South Africa got men on the corners in the 3rd but failed to score. Gaddin was relieved by veteran Carl Michaels in the bottom of that inning and he blanked Australia for two. In the 5th, though, the Southern Thunder's #8 and #9 hitters got the team's two homers of the qualifiers, as 2B Brad Harman and C Allan de San Miguel went deep back-to-back off Michaels.

In the top of the 6th, the African contingent pulled back ahead. With one out against Blackley, 2B Anthony Phillips singled for the team's third hit of the game and 3B Jonathan Phillips doubled. C Kyle Botha then smashed a three-run bomb for a 4-3 lead. RF Brett Willemburg singled to make it four hits in a row and advanced on a wild pitch, but Blackley retired 1B Keegan Swanepoel on a grounder, sending Willemburg to third. Peter Moylan relieved and fanned PH Shannon Ekermans to prevent some insurance.

In the bottom of the 6th, Oeltjen hit his 4th double of the tournament and LF Luke Hughes drew a walk from Michaels. DH Trent D'Antonio doubled to score Oeltjen and tie it. Twins farmhand Callan Pearce relieved Michaels and retired Harman and de San Miguel. In the bottom of the 7th, the home team finally went ahead for good. SS James Beresford singled and was bunted over. Dening singled off Pearce to score Beresford and make it 5-4. Dening stole second and Welch and Oeltjen both singled for a 6-4 edge.

South Africa pulled back within one in the top of the 8th. Against Ryan Searle, Anthony Phillips singled and Jonathan Phillips walked. Botha grounded them over and Willemburg grounded in a run but Searle fanned the previous day's hero, Swanepoel, to keep it a one-run lead. In the bottom of the 8th, Australia put the game away by pounding on the South African bullpen. Dean Jacobs walked D'Antonio, Harman singled and de San Miguel bunted into a two-run error by Jonathan Phillips. After a sacrifice by Beresford, Russell Olivier relieved and 3B Logan Wade hit a sacrifice fly to make it 9-5. Dening singled and stole again, then backup 1B David Sutherland walked. Kieran Cree relieved and walked both Oeltjen and PH Mitch Nilsson to force in a run and make it 10-5. Alan Phillips] tried Garth Cahill as the 4th hurler of the frame and D'Antonio greeted him with a two-run single (his second time on this inning) before Harman flew out to end the carnage.

Qualifying Group B: March 17-20, 2016[edit]

March 17[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Czech Republic Czech Republic 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 4 0
Flag of Mexico Mexico 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 2 4 1
WP: Alejandro Soto (1-0), LP: Marek Cervenka (0-1) Sv: Oliver Perez (1)
Home Runs: Czech Republic: Matej Hejma (1)
  • Attendance: 14,711

The host Mexicans were very confident before starting the opening game in front of a large and partisan crowd against the unheralded Czech Republic, but the game turned out to be anything but a cakewalk. Mexican baseball icon Fernando Valenzuela tossed the ceremonial first pitch to current team member Adrian Gonzalez as part of an extended pre-game spectacle that pushed back the scheduled time for the start of the game by almost half an hour. The home team started on all cylinders as Alejandro Soto struck out the side in the 1st inning, and then the Mexican hitters put two runs on the board against Marek Cervenka. LF Esteban Quiroz drew a one-out walk, as did 1B Gonzalez who followed him to the plate. DH Jesus Castillo singled to drive in a first run and moved Gonzalez to third then 3B Agustin Murillo lifted a sacrifice fly to left for a 2-0 lead. Unbeknownst to the Mexicans however, this would be the last run they would score today, turning the game into a very tense affair.

Alejandro Soto continued to pitch well, as he did not give up a hit in three innings of work while striking out seven. CF Matej Hejma led off the 4th with a single off reliever Mark Serrano; 1B Mike Cervenak forced him out on a ground ball, but in attempting to turn two, 2B Walter Ibarra threw the ball away, putting the former major leaguer on second base. After a second out, DH Petr Cech drew a walk, but C Martin Cervenka, Marek's brother, lined out to Serrano to end the inning. For his part, Marek Cervenka, did not give up another hit after his difficult 1st inning, and was also replaced in the top of the 4th, by Jan Novak. He placed a couple of runners on base after two outs, but got RF Sebastian Elizalde to ground out to end the inning, as both teams stranded a pair in the 4th. The Czechs got another two hits in the 5th, but could not score as Serrano induced LF Michal Ondracek to ground into an inning-ending double play. Novak for his part pitched very well, getting the next six batters in order, including striking out the side in the 6th. Mexico threatened to pad its lead in the 7th when Ibarra led off with a single and stole second base. He made it to third on a pair of ground outs, then Novak walked Quiroz and gave way to Alex Sogard, who issued Gonzalez his third walk of the game to load the bases. Up next was Castillo, but he flew out to left to end the threat.

Jake Sanchez took over on the mound for Mexico in the 8th, and after a couple of outs, was surprised when Hejma homered to right-center to close the score to 2-1. Cervenak then flew out to end the inning, but the game was now much closer than Mexico had ever expected. Worse, Sogard retired them in order in the bottom of the 8th. It was up to Oliver Perez, a veteran of the first three World Baseball Classics, to close out the win. He got RF Jakub Malik to ground out to short, then pinch-hitter Jakub Vojak flew out to center. Martin Cervenka was the last hope, but he lined out to CF Juan Perez to end the game.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E
Flag of Germany Germany 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 1 4 10 0
Flag of Nicaragua Nicaragua 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 5 11 1
WP: Carlos Gonzalez (1-0), LP: Enorbel Marquez (0-1)
Home Runs: Germany: Bruce Maxwell (1)
  • Attendance: 3,773

The other opening game was a back-and-forth affair in which Nicaragua twice came back in its last turn at bat to eventually claim a 5-4 win in 10 innings. SS Alex Blandino was the hero, with a two-run double off Enorbel Marquez with one out in the 10th that turned a 4-3 deficit into a win. It was Blandino's second double of the game and he ended up with 3 RBI.

40-year-old veteran Gustavo Martinez started the game for Nicaragua and dispatched the Germans in order in the 1st; his opponent, Markus Solbach, then did the same. 3B Ludwig Glaser opened the 2nd with a single for Germany, but he was immediately erased when C Bruce Maxwell grounded into a double play. Nicaragua then got on the board in the bottom of the inning. RF Jairo Beras led off with a single off Solbach's leg, and Blandino followed with a run-scoring double. He moved to third on a ground ball then scored on a single by LF Renato Morales, heralding a potential big inning. However, C Janior Montes grounded into a double play, and the Nicaraguan lead was only 2-0. It took a while for Germany to get on the board, although not for of a lack of baserunners. They failed to break through after putting the first two men on base against Martinez in the 3rd, and then put two more men on after two outs in the 4th, only to have 2B Maximilian Boldt end the inning by lining out to center.

In the 6th, Samuel Estrada replaced Martinez on the mound and created his own trouble by walking 1B Donald Lutz and Glaser after one out. Maxwell then cleared the bases with a home run to center, and just like that, Germany was ahead, 3-2. Solbach was still on the mound for Germany, and he added a scoreless 6th, stranding Beras on second base by striking out Blandino after a two-out double. Estrada issued another one-out walk in the 7th, to SS Eric Brenk, but he caught a break when Brenk was caught stealing just ahead of a double by RF Kent Matthes that would otherwise have doubled the Germans' lead. Jose Saenz replaced the ineffective Estrada and got the last out of the frame, but reliever Luke Sommer took over just where Solbach had left off, keeping Nicaragua from scoring in the bottom of the 7th. The Central Americans almost tied the game against Sommer in the 8th, as 2B Elmer Reyes' line drive was deflected towards third base by Sommer for an infield single. DH Darrel Campbell bunted him over to second and after 1B Wuillians Vasquez lined out, Sommer issued an intentional pass to Beras. Up came Blandino against new pitcher Martin Dewald, but as he had done in the 6th, he struck out with a runner in scoring position to end the inning.

Germany attempted to add an insurance run against Saenz in the top of the 9th as Boldt and LF Sascha Lutz opened the frame with singles. Nadir Ljatifi was sent in to pinch-run for Boldt, and Brenk was asked put down a sacrifice bunt, but he only managed to force out Ljatifi at third base. Matthes then hit a ball to left which was dropped by Ramon Flores, loading the bases with one out. Jhonny Polanco relieved Saenz in a critical situation and he got CF Dominique Taylor to ground into an inning-ending double play. Thus, the score was still 3-2 when pinch-hitter Sandor Guido drew a one-out walk against Dewald. Omar Obregon was brought in as a pinch-runner and Maurice Wilhelm came in to pitch. Montes hit a single and was also replaced by a pinch-runner, Melvin Novoa. Wilhelm struck out CF Dwight Britton for the second out, but Reyes singled to left. Obregon scored the tying run from second base, Novoa moved to third, but Reyes was out trying to make it to second base. The game thus went into extra innings.

In the 10th, Donald Lutz drew a lead-off walk against Polanco and scored on a double by Glaser. Leonardo Crawford took the mound and walked Maxwell. Nicaraguan manager Marvin Benard, attempting to prevent the game from getting completely out of hand, called on yet another pitcher, Carlos Gonzalez, and he managed to limit the damage. He struck out DH Christopher Howard for the first out, got 2B Lukas Jahn to fly out to shallow left, and then struck out Sascha Lutz. Germany had taken the lead, but had squandered a chance to put the game away. It would cost them in the bottom of the inning as their new pitcher, the 41-year-old Cuban-born veteran Marquez, allowed a lead-off single to Campbell. Vasquez lined out, but Beras followed with an infield single, his third hit of the game. After twice striking out with men on base, Cincinnati Reds prospect Blandino would not be denied a third time: he hit his second double of the game to deep center field, scoring both Campbell and Beras, who barely beat the throw from CF Taylor to C Maxwell, and Nicaragua was a 5-4 winner. Germany had simply wasted too many opportunities to put away a game it should have won.

March 18[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Czech Republic Czech Republic 0 0 4 0 1 0 3 7 x 15 13 1
Flag of Germany Germany 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 x 3 10 2
WP: John Straka (1-0), LP: Jan-Niclas Stöcklin (0-1)
Home Runs: Czech Republic: Martin Cervenka (1)
  • Attendance: 2,187

There was some history going on in the meeting of first-game losers, with the Czech Republic wanting to avenge a humiliating 16-1 defeat against Germany in the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers. Both teams also had regrets over failing to win their openers, as both had come within one run of pulling off a major upset, especially Germany which had been on the cusp of winning the game on a couple of occasions but was betrayed by its bullpen. It turned out that Germany would rue that first-game loss even more, as they were thoroughly beaten by the Czech and eliminated form the qualifiers. It was the Czechs' first win ever in games counting towards the WBC.

C Martin Cervenka was a big man for the Czechs, as he hit an 8th-inning grand slam off Daniel Hinz and drove in 6 runs in the game. The other big bat was 1B Mike Cervenak, author of a 4-for-5 performance with 3 runs and 3 RBIs. However, it was Germany who struck first, getting to starter John Straka for a run by RF Kent Matthes in the 1st but wasting an opportunity to add some more by hitting into an inning-ending double play. Straka settled down after that, however, and did not give up another run as he pitched until the end of the 5th. Meanwhile, the Czechs broke through for four runs against German starter Jan-Niclas Stöcklin in the 3rd, helped by a wild pitch and a fly ball dropped by CF Dominique Taylor. Cervenak had a key RBI in that frame. They then added a run in the 5th to make it, 5-1, but Germany got that run back in the 6th against reliever Martin Schneider.

The game got out of hand for Germany in the late innings. In the 7th, Kevin Trisl put a runner on with two outs, then major league veteran Will Ohman walked the only man he faced. Sven Schüller was unable to get out of the jam, as he allowed both runners to score as well as one of his own before getting the last out. The score was now 8-2, and then everything fell apart in the 8th. Schüller allowed the first three batters of the frame to reach base, and his successor Daniel Thieben was just as ineffective, also failing to retire any of the three men he faced. All six would come in to score. Martin Cervenka applied the killing blow against Hinz, the third man to pitch that inning, with a grand slam that made the score 15-2. Germany would have had to score four runs in the bottom of the inning to keep the game going, but they could manage only one run on two hits off Petr Minarik, allowing the mercy rule to kick in and end the game.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Nicaragua Nicaragua 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 x x 0 4 3
Flag of Mexico Mexico 2 2 0 5 0 2 x x x 11 5 0
WP: Stephen Landazuri (1-0), LP: Carlos Teller (0-1)
Home Runs: none
  • Attendance: 12,715

After giving themselves a scare by only squeaking by with a 2-1 win against the underdog Czechs in the opening game, the Mexicans left nothing to chance against Nicaragua in the meeting of game-one winners. They scored early and kept on adding runs while muzzling the opposing hitters, and ended the game after only 7 innings with an 11-0 triumph that sent them straight to the finals.

Stephen Landazuri, not one of Mexico's more heralded pitchers, got things going by shutting down the Nicaraguans on just one hit while striking out four in four innings. Meanwhile Mexico jumped all over starter Carlos Teller, chasing him after only one inning and one batter in the 2nd. By then he had allowed four walks and a hit, two runs had scored in the 1st, and one more would come home shortly thereafter, while his replacement, Kevin Gadea allowed another run. It was thus 4-0 after only 2 innings, and thinks would only look bleaker for Nicaragua as the game progressed. In the 4th inning, Mexico added five runs against Gadea and Osman Gutierrez, to make it 9-0. Another pair of runs gave Mexico a lead bigger than 10 runs, which was enough to end the game when Nicaragua failed to score in the top of the 7th, having managed only 4 hits - all singles - against five different pitchers as manager Edgar Gonzalez kept his moundsmen on a low pitch count. It did not help that Nicaragua was missing perhaps its best player, SS Alex Blandino, out because of thigh injury.

Nicaragua did not help themselves by walking a slew of batters, in addition to two hits batsmen and a pair of wild pitches and committing three errors. Indeed, Mexico needed only three hits to score its first nine runs and had only 5 all game, taking full advantage of their opponents' generosity. 1B Adrian Gonzalez drew a pair of those walks, giving him five in two games.

March 19[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 R H E
Flag of Nicaragua Nicaragua 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 0 0 3 7 8 0
Flag of Czech Republic Czech Republic 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 7 4
WP: Jonathan Loaisiga (1-0), LP: Martin Schneider (0-1), SV: Jose Luis Saenz (1)
Home Runs: Czech Republic: Jakub Malik (1)
  • Attendance: 6,558

The Czech Republic continued their unexpectedly strong play against Nicaragua, forcing the Central Americans into extra innings before bowing out of the tournament, 7-6. It was the second time Nicaragua had managed to reverse a deficit to squeak by in additional frames, and they needed a clutch relief outing by Jose Luis Saenz, who struck out the last two batters with the tying run on third base.

It was the Czechs who got out in front, surprising Nicaraguan starter Berman Espinoza with a two-out, three-run homer by RF Jakub Malik with LF Petr Sila and DH Jakub Sladek on base. Meanwhile, starting pitcher Daniel Mraz kept the scoresheet clean through the first four innings. In the 5th, however, Nicaragua took advantage of a throwing error by 3B Premek Chroust to score twice and Mraz gave way to Alex Sogard, who had been excellent in his team's opening loss to Mexico. It was the case again, as he logged 5 1/3 innings on the mound, but he could not preserve his team's slim lead. They had added an insurance run in the bottom of the 5th to move to 4-2, but in the 8th, another error proved costly. This time, it was SS Petr Zyma who airmailed a throw to first base, resulting in two more unearned runs. As a result, the game was tied after regulation innings. Neither team scored in the 10th, bringing into effect the infamous Schiller Rule in the 11th, by which each team started the inning with two runners already on base. With Martin Schneider on the mound for the Central Europeans, Nicaragua was able to cash in both of these free baserunners and to add a third run for a 7-4 lead.

However, the Czech Republic also had the benefit of two extra baserunners in the bottom of the 11th, and they used them to push Nicaragua to the limit. With Jonathan Loaisiga started his third inning of work, C Martin Cervenka hit a lead-off single that loaded the bases, and 3B Tomas Polansky drew a walk that forced in a first run. Saenz then came in to pitch, and while he got Zyma to ground into a force out, it plated a third run and advanced Cervenka to third base. However, with the situation critical, Saenz then struck out pinch-hitter Tomas Junec and Sila in order, preserving the win.

March 20[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Nicaragua Nicaragua 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 x x 1 7 2
Flag of Mexico Mexico 0 6 0 0 5 1 x x x 12 11 0
WP: Daniel Rodríguez (1-0), LP: Fidencio Flores (0-1)
Home Runs: Mexico - Leo Heras (1), Esteban Quiroz (1)
  • Attendance: 16,521

A large crowd had come out to cheer on Mexico for the pool finals, and they were not disappointed as the Mexicans thoroughly dominated Nicaragua, needing only six turns at bat to defeat them by way of the mercy rule and ensure their place in the 2017 World Baseball Classic with a 12-1 beating.

After minor leaguer Daniel Rodriguez got the game started with a one-two-three 1st inning, Nicaraguan starter Fidencio Flores managed to make it through the bottom of the frame without giving up a run, but not before the Mexicans had placed men on second and third with only one out. Nicaragua managed to load the bases in the top of the 2nd, but could not score, then Flores was not so lucky in the botom half, as Mexico erupted for 6 runs, not leaving any doubt as to what the final outcome of the game would be. After one out, an error by SS Omar Obregon allowed C Xorge Carrillo to reach base. Obregon was injured on the play and had to leave the game, then SS Alex Mejía drew a walk. Flores got 2B Walter Ibarra to line out for the second out, but after that, RF Sebastian Elizalde was hit by a pitch to load the bases, then a single by LF Esteban Quiroz, an intentional walk to 1B Adrian Gonzalez, and unintentional one to DH Jesus Castillo, and a bases-clearing double by 3B Agustin Murillo against Carlos Teller made it 6-0.

Nicaragua managed to hang on to that score for a couple of innings, but in the 5th, the Mexicans put up another crooked number on the scoreboard, with two-run homers by CF Leo Heras off Teller and by Quiroz off Junior Tellez leading to a five-run inning. Mexico now had enough runs to have the mercy rule kick in, as it had two days earlier, but needed to get to the 7th inning first. They added a 12th run in the 6th, then Nicaragua, needing to score three runs in the top of the 7th in order to stay alive, managed only one, on doubles by 2B Dwight Britton and SS Elmer Reyes. The game was over, with Mexico winning by knock-out, 12-1.

Qualifying Group C: March 17-20, 2016[edit]

March 17[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Colombia Colombia 1 0 1 0 3 0 0 4 0 9 9 2
Flag of Spain Spain 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 7 3
WP: William Cuevas (1-0), LP: Sergio Perez (0-1)
Home Runs: none
  • Attendance: 2,145

It was Spain which was defending its spot in the World Baseball Classic in the opening game of Group C, but Colombia was clearly the better team, stating its case that it was now a major baseball power in Latin America. They completely dominated the game, taking an early lead in the 1st inning and hardly looked back as Spain's pitchers struggled to find the strike zone all day, issuing 12 walks in all.

1B Reynaldo Rodriguez started the scoring in the 1st when he drew a two-out walk against Sergio Perez. He moved to third on a single by DH Jesus Valdez then crossed the plate on an infield single by SS Adrian Sanchez. William Cuevas took the mound for Colombia and after he retired the first two batters, 2B Oscar Angulo reached on an error by 3B Mauricio Ramos. Cuevas then uncorked a wild pitch in the process of walking 1B Yunesky Sanchez but he got former major leaguer CF Engel Beltre to fly out to right. That would be as close as Spain ever got to make a game of it. After an eventless 2nd inning, Colombia added another run in the 3rd when RF Harold Ramirez reached second on a throwing error by 3B Jesus Merchan then advanced to third base on a wild pitch by Perez. 2B Dilson Herrera hit a sacrifice fly to make the score 2-0. Perez issued a couple of walks in the 4th, but he really opened the door in the 5th when Rodriguez tripled after one out. Richard Castillo replaced him on the mound and he walked Valdez intentionally before getting Adrian Sanchez to pop up. However, the floodgates then opened with back-to-back singles by Mauricio Ramos and CF Steve Brown, followed by a walk to C Luis Martinez to load the bases. Antonio Noguera came in to pitch and issued another walk, to LF Carlos Vidal to force in another run. Carlos Sierra came in to pitch, Spain's fourth hurler of the frame, and he got Ramirez to fly out for the final out, but by now Colombia was ahead, 5-0.

The rest of the game was pretty much academic, although Spain did have one good inning. Kendy Batista took over for Cuevas on the mound and allowed back-to-back singles to DH Jesus Golindano and Merchan to start the 5th, but he retired the next three batters to escape the inning without giving up a run. Batista did break in the 6th, though, as he allowed a lead-off walk to Yunesky Sanchez, and followed that by issuing another free pass, to Beltre. Angel Vilchez came in to pitch, but he was greeted by a single by LF Jesus Ustariz that loaded the bases with none out. C Blake Ochoa grounded into a double play, scoring a first run and Golindano singled to cut the lead to 5-2. Greg Nappo replaced Vilchez and walked LF Daniel Martinez but got out of the inning by getting RF Yasser Gomez to fly out. Leslie Nacar pitched a rare one-two-three inning for Spain in the 7th, but in the 8th he gave up back-to-back singles to Vidal and Ramirez to start things off, with an error advancing the two to second and third. He walked Herrera intentionally to load the bases, but Rodriguez hit a catchable fly ball which was dropped by Martinez in left field, leading to three runs and putting Rodriguez on third. A ground ball by Ramos made it 9-2 a couple of batters later. Spain used three pinch-hitter in the 9th, to no avail against P Yesid Salazar, as all three grounded out.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of France France 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 2 5 3
Flag of Panama Panama 1 2 1 0 4 1 0 0 x 9 10 2
WP: Paolo Espino (1-0), LP: Owen Ozanich (0-1)
Home Runs: Panama: Carlos Ruiz 2 (2); Javy Guerra (1)
  • Attendance: 11,744

It was always going to be a tough assignment for France to play host Panama in front of a large and boisterous crowd, and the game turned out exactly as expected, with the Panamanian scoring early and often on their way to a one-sided win, 9-2. Veteran major league catcher Carlos Ruiz was the star of the game, hitting a pair of homers and driving in four runs from the clean-up spot in the batting order.

Paolo Espino got the ball rolling by retiring the French in order in the 1st inning, with two of the three batters going down on strikes. 2B Edgar Muñoz‏‎ then led off the bottom of the 1st with a single off Owen Ozanich and moved to second on another single by LF Anthony Amaya. DH Jonathan Saavedra forced out Amaya, but advanced Munoz to third base in the process and from there he scored the game's first run on a sacrifice fly by Ruiz. After the French had gone down in order again in the top of the 2nd, Panama added two more runs to its lead. 1B Carlos Quiroz reached on an error by SS Felix Brown and SS Javy Guerra did so as well, with LF Douglas Rodriguez (normally a catcher) guilty of the miscue. RF Jorge Miranda executed a sacrifice bunt to advance both runners and 3B Eduardo Thomas Jr. followed with a single to score both runners. Ruiz then hit a solo homer off Ozanich with two outs in the 3rd to make it 4-0 for Panama.

Espino left after having pitched three perfect innings, and Brown became France's first baserunner when he reached on an error by Munoz against Alberto Acosta with one out in the 4th. The next two batters made outs however, but Ozanich managed a clean inning in the bottom of the frame. France got on the scoreboard in the 5th when after one out, C Andy Paz, the only member of the team signed by a major league team, hit an infield single then proceeded to steal second base. One out later, CF Frédéric Hanvi doubled to left to score Paz. However, that run just excited the Panamanians, as after two outs, Saavedra doubled to center while French RF Jacques Boucheron was injured on the play. Ruiz followed with his second homer of the game, and it was 6-1 for Panama. Quiroz hit a double, but he too injured his leg, and he was replaced, by pinch-runner Ramon Castillo. Jonathan Mottay came in to pitch, but he gave up a two-run blast to the first batter he faced, Guerra, to make the score 8-1.

In the 6th, 2B Maxime Lefevre hit a two out triple against new pitcher Luis Machuca, but minor league veteran Rene Leveret was unable to drive him in. In Panama's half of the inning Luis Castillo drew a one-out walk and scored when LF Norbert Jongerius misplayed a fly ball by Amaya with two out. Things then stayed quiet until the 9th, when France added a final run. Leveret drew a one-out walk against Saul Gonzalez. Veteran Ernesto Martinez was sent in to pinch-hit for Rodriguez, and he singled to left, putting two agonizingly slow runners on base. But with two outs, 3B Jorge Hereaud managed to drop a fly ball into right field, and Leveret scored from second base while Martinez made it to third. However, Gonzalez got new CF Bastien Dagneau to pop out in foul territory to end the game.

March 18[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of France France 3 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 12 1
Flag of Spain Spain 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 3 9 2
WP: Leonel Cespedes (1-0), LP: Richard Salazar (0-1), SV: Pierrick Lemestre (1)
Home Runs: none
  • Attendance: 852

In the match-up of first-game losers, France registered perhaps the greatest win in its baseball history, defeating a heavily-favorite Spanish team that had beaten it emphatically four years earlier on its way to qualifying for the 2013 World Baseball Classic. For its part, France was still winless in the WBC context, although it had given South Africa a run for its money in an epic contest in 2012. For today's match-up, France sent young curveballer Leonel Cespedes, who had made his international coming out in that game against the South Africans four years earlier, against Richard Salazar, a seasoned veteran of international and organized baseball.

France wasted no time getting to Salazar, however, as they managed five singles against him in the 1st inning. After one out, SS Felix Brown got things rolling, followed by CF Frédéric Hanvi. After Salazar retired 1B Rene Leveret, C Andy Paz singled to drive in a first run, and on the next two pitches, DH Ernesto Martinez and LF Douglas Rodriguez did the same, each driving in a run, so France was up 3-0 before Cespedes had even thrown his first pitch. The youngster was unfazed by the high stakes, as he breezed through the first four innings, keeping Spain off the scoreboard. In the meantime, France upped its lead in the 3rd when the 42-year-old Martinez delivered a two-run single against Rogelio Armenteros, who had taken over for Salazar in the 2nd. He almost scored a 6th run, but was declared out after failing to touch third base while trying to make it all the way home on Rodriguez's double down the right field line. Cespedes finally cracked in the 5th, allowing an unearned run and leaving with two outs, having reached his pitch count limit. Keino Perez, another long-time veteran of French baseball, got the last out of the inning, but he got in trouble in the 6th. Things got really touchy when Esteban Prioul walked the only man he faced with two outs, and manager Eric Gagné called on a veteran's veteran to get his team out of trouble, forty-something Samuel Meurant, back in the game after two years' retirement, and he got the last out before pitching a scoreless 7th.

After the 3rd inning, a series of Spanish relievers managed to keep France from scoring again, although they allowed plenty of baserunners. Jose Cruz gave up a hit and three walks in two innings, and Ricardo Hernandez a walk and three hits in 1 2/3 innings, but neither man gave up a run. Things got hot for France in the bottom of the 8th when Meurant ran out of magic, giving up a run that made the score 5-3 before being relieved by Dan Camou. He got the second out of the inning but issued back-to-back walks to 2B Oscar Angulo and SS Luis Guillorme to load the bases for LF Jesus Ustariz. Gagné then called on his closer, Pierrick Lemestre, who got out of the tense situation with a clutch strikeout. Lemestre then retired the Spaniards in order in the 9th, sending his teammates roaring out of the dugout to celebrate the historic win. Gagné summed up the feeling in a post-game interview: "I think we're going to celebrate a little bit tonight, just enjoy that and think about it tomorrow morning when we wake up. We're just going to enjoy every moment, every minute out there. We're not going to really look at the scouting report or stuff like that." They had a right to, having eliminated Spain and proved that their presence among the 16 teams vying for a seat at the big dance was legitimate.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Colombia Colombia 0 0 4 0 0 0 2 0 0 6 12 2
Flag of Panama Panama 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 3 3 0
WP: Karl Triana (1-0), LP: Davis Romero (0-1)
Home Runs: Colombia - Reynaldo Rodriguez (1); Panama - Javy Guerra (2)
  • Attendance: 12,559

The match-up between host Panama and Colombia was a much-anticipated one, as the two teams were the clear favorites in the group, and the two countries had a long history of confrontation, Panama having been carved out of Colombia's territory back in the 19th Century. There was a big home crowd on hand to cheer on the Panamanians, but it was the Colombians who dominated on the field, keeping Panama from getting a hit until the 7th inning and ending up on top, 6-3.

Colombian starting pitcher Karl Triana was the big star today. He came out throwing in the 90's and managed to get through 6 full innings in spite of working on a strict pitch count, not giving up a single hit and striking out 8 batters. The only blemish came in the 3rd, when his teammates committed two errors on a single play - by LF Carlos Vidal and 2B Dilson Herrera - leading to an unearned run. However, the Colombians had already scored 4 times in the top of that inning. on a lead-off double by Vidal against Davis Romero. Herrera, DH Jesus Valdez and 3B Mauricio Ramos all hit run-scoring singles, and the last run crossed the plate on a ground out by 1B Reynaldo Rodriguez. Colombia then added two runs in the 7th, the first on a solo homer by Rodriguez off Eliecer Navarro.

Heading into the bottom of the 7th, Colombia was up 6-1 and Panama still did not have a hit. Carlos Diaz replaced Triana on the mound and gave up a two-out homer to SS Javy Guerra for Panama's first hit of the game, Guerra's second long ball of the tournament. In the 9th, Panama added a last run, when veteran C Carlos Ruiz drove in LF Anthony Amaya with a single off Horacio Acosta, but it was too little, too late. Colombia had a 6-3 win and advanced to the group finals.

March 19[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Panama Panama 0 0 0 0 4 0 1 2 0 7 10 1
Flag of France France 2 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 4 7 3
WP: Angel Cuan (1-0), LP: Jonathan Mottay (0-1), SV: Manny Corpas (1)
Home Runs: France - Rene Leveret (1)
  • Attendance: 2,016

The second meeting between France and Panama was a lot closer than the first one, as taking a page from their previous day's win over Spain, France started the game strong and built an early lead before Panama's more experienced players were able to come back against a shaky bullpen to ensure their passage to the finals.

France jumped to a 2-0 lead in the 1st inning against Dario Agrazal. After a one-out hit by SS Felix Brown, CF Frédéric Hanvi hit his third double in three games to drive him in, then scored on a sacrifice fly by C Andy Paz. In the 4th, France managed to load the bases against Angel Cuan, who then committed an untimely balk to allow DH Ernesto Martinez to score his country's third run. Meanwhile, French starter Yoann Vaugelade was pitching very well and after four innings, Panama was in serious trouble. However they rallied for four runs in the 5th. RF Isaias Velasquez singled home 3B Jorge Bishop for a first run, then a fielder's choice by DH Jonathan Saavedra cut the lead to 3-2. 17-year-old reliever Antoine Villard almost got out of the inning by inducing a high pop up in foul territory, but 2B Frederic Walter dropped it, and then Villard lost the plate, walking SS Javy Guerra and RF Luis Castillo back-to-back, each forcing in a run. Jonathan Mottay was brought in to get the last out.

France had not given up just yet, as in the bottom of the 5th, 1B Rene Leveret homered off Cuan to tie the game again, at 4-all. Panama took the lead for good in the 7th, however, as Jonathan Mottay issued a bases-loaded walk to pinch-hitter Carlos Quiroz, forcing in Saavedra who had doubled off Mottay earlier in the inning. In the 8th, Pierrick Lemestre, who had pitched masterfully in relief the previous day, couldn't find the plate as he issued two walks and a hit to the three batters he faced (he had entered after Dan Camou had already walked one batter and retired one). Panama cashed in one of these inherited runners, one facing Lucas Serafin, and it was now 7-4. In the 9th, French manager Eric Gagné called on teenager Ernesto Martinez Jr., son of his 42-year-old DH, to pinch-hit for RF Norbert Jongerius against major league veteran Manny Corpas, but there was no miracle in the offing as the youngster tapped out to the mound. The next two batters made outs as well and Panama was through to the finals, but they had had to earn it.

March 20[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Panama Panama 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 0
Flag of Colombia Colombia 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 x 2 7 0
WP: Carlos Diaz (1-0), LP: Manny Corpas (0-1), SV: Horacio Acosta (1)
Home Runs: Colombia - Dilson Herrera (1)
  • Attendance: 6,204

The final game of the pool was a tight one, as host Panama managed to take the early lead, but Colombia came back to score twice, including the game winner on a home run that barely stayed fair, to win 2-1 and qualify for the World Baseball Classic for the first time. Colombia had clearly been the best team in the group, and its success was a reflection of the important growth in the quality of baseball played in the country in recent years.

On the mound, Nabil Crismatt started for Colombia, against Ariel Jurado. Jurado started off with 2 1/3 scoreless innings for Panama, before handing the ball over to Humberto Mejia. Crismatt for his part breezed through the first three innings before hitting trouble in the 4th. C Carlos Ruiz, Panama's best hitter over the four games, hit a one-out double, Colombia walked SS Javy Guerra intentionally, but 1B Carlos Quiroz drove in a run with a single to right. Yesid Salazar replaced Crismatt at that point and got the final two outs of the inning. Panama was up, 1-0, but its hitters would only manage two more hits the rest of the game against Salazar and four other relievers.

Colombia tied the game in the 6th. Mejia was still pitching for Panama and he plunked 1B Reynaldo Rodriguez after one out. Alberto Acosta replaced him and after getting DH Jesus Valdez to pop out, he in turn hit 3B Mauricio Ramos, putting a second man on. SS Adrian Sanchez then lined a single, scoring Rodriguez with the tying run. The score stayed at 1-1 until the bottom of the 8th, when 2B Dilson Herrera greeted Panamanian closer Manny Corpas by lofting a high fly ball down the left field line. It stayed barely fair and landed behind the fence for a solo home run, putting Colombia ahead, 2-1. They put two more men on base that inning, but could not increase the lead. In the 9th, the heart of the batter order was up for Panama. However, P Carlos Diaz retired Guerra on a grounder to first, then gave way to Horacio Acosta. He got Quiroz to ground out to short, then RF Isaias Velasquez hit a grounder to Herrera at second to end the game.

Qualifying Group D: September 22-25, 2016[edit]

September 22[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Flag of Pakistan Pakistan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 1
Flag of Brazil Brazil 0 0 3 1 2 0 4 10 13 2
WP: Jean Tomé (1-0), LP: Inayat Khan (0-1)
Home Runs: Juan Carlos Muniz (1)
  • Attendance: 1,210

Brazil opened with a win, as expected, beating Pakistan, which was making its debut in a global event (they had previously played in the Asian Games and Asian Championship, finishing as high as 5th). CF Muhammad Sumair Zawar, a Pakistani team veteran, showed the team had some talent with an opening hit off Jean Tomé, but was picked off. Tomé went 5 1/3 IP (3 H, 0 BB, 4 K) for the win, with Eric Pardinho (2/3 IP, 1 H, 1 BB) and Edilson Batista (1 IP, 2 K) finishing up. 2B Faqir Hussain went 2 for 2 as Pakistan's top hitter.

Inayat Khan shut out Brazil for the first two frames, stranding three runners, before fading in the third. CF Gabriel Maciel and LF Irait Chirino both singled. 3B Leonardo Reginatto hit into a run-scoring force, 1B Dante Bichette Jr. smacked a RBI triple and DH Reinaldo Sato singled in a run. In the 4th, SS Bo Bichette singled and advanced on Pakistan's lone error, by 3B Zubair Nawaz. With one out, 2B Lucas Rojo singled him in. In the 5th, Dante Bichette Jr. singled, chasing Khan. Ihsan Ullah relieved but gave up a one-out inside-the-park homer by RF Juan Carlos Muniz, past a diving Zawar.

In the 7th, Reginatto singled and Ullah hit Bichette Jr. After a passed ball by C Hidayat Ullah, PH Carlos Garmendia walked and PH Fernando Luciano singled in a run to make it 7-0. Bo Bichette grounded to Nawar, who threw home for the force. Backup C Luis Paz drew a walk. Asrar Ahmad relieved Ihsan Ullah and Soto hit into a run-scoring force. Maciel then hit a game-ending single as it put the mercy rule into effect.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 7 2
Flag of Israel Israel 0 1 0 0 0 0 4 0 X 5 11 0
WP: Craig Breslow (1-0), LP: Vaughan Harris (0-1) SV: Brad Goldberg (1)
Home Runs: None
  • Attendance: 3,919

The second game in Brooklyn was a closer affair. Britain got one run in three innings off 15-year MLB veteran Jason Marquis. CF Champ Stuart doubled in the 2nd and scored on a one-out single by RF Todd Isaacs. In the bottom of the inning, Israel tied it with its only run in six innings off another major league vet, Michael Roth. 3B Cody Decker doubled to left; after an out, LF Rhett Wiseman hit into an error by 1B Jordan Serena.

From there, it was deadlocked until the 7th. Josh Zeid had thrown three shutout innings in relief of Marquis but Stuart doubled off him to open the 7th and again was driven in by Isaacs with one out, this time on a sacrifice fly following a wild pitch. In the bottom of the 7th, Roth was replaced by Vaughan Harris and Israel had no problem solving him. Wiseman singled, SS Scott Burcham doubled and CF Mike Meyers hit a sacrifice fly. RF Zach Borenstein singled to make it 4-2 and C Ryan Lavarnway walked. Nolan Bond relieved and walked 1B Nate Freiman. PH Ike Davis singled in one run and a sacrifice fly by Decker capped the scoring.

Britain didn't go down without drama, though. With two outs in the 8th against Craig Breslow, SS Jasrado Chisholm singled and C Chris Berset walked. Ryan Sherriff relieved to face Stuart, 3 for 3 to that point, but retired him in the clutch. Brad Goldberg came in to close it out in the 9th but Serena walked and Isaacs doubled to put the potential tying run at the plate with no outs. Goldberg recovered to get DH Chavez Young on a liner then fanned both 2B Albert Cartwright and PH Mitch Evans to end the game.

September 23[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Brazil Brazil 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 1
Flag of Israel Israel 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 X 1 3 0
WP: Corey Baker (1-0), LP: Bo Takahashi (0-1) SV: Brad Goldberg (2)
Home Runs: None
  • Attendance: 1,862

Israel won a pitching duel between the team defending its 2013 Classic spot and the one that would replace them. Israel went with Corey Baker, who had pitched in AAA while Brazil countered with teenager Bo Takahashi, who had pitched well in the low minors. In the top of the 1st, Brazil challenged as LF Irait Chirino drew a one-out walk and 3B Leonardo Reginatto singled, but Baker fanned 1B Dante Bichette Jr. and got DH Andy Paz on a fly. Israel stranded two in the 2nd and Brazil stranded two in the 3rd.

In the 4th, Israel got the game's lone run. DH Nate Freiman, their 2012 star, doubled to left. 1B Ike Davis hit into an error by Bichette then 3B Cody Decker hit a sacrifice fly. Takahashi (2 H, 1 BB, 5 K in 4 IP) did a strong job, as did relievers Murilo Gouvea (3 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 R), Felipe Sales (2 BB, 2 K) and Hugo Kanabushi (1 out) to hold Israel to one run on three hits; their MLB-experienced players were 2 for 14 combined.

Brazil had more chances. Baker left after five innings due to the pitch count rules. In the 6th, Jared Lakind walked Chirino. Reginatto hit into a force out and stole second. Bichette walked as Reginatto also stole third, but Lakind recovered to whiff both Paz and RF Juan Carlos Muniz. In the 8th, the Brazilians challenged again. With two outs, Reginatto singled off Jeremy Bleich, just the team's second hit, then Bichette singled as well. Ryan Sherriff relieved and retired PH Reinaldo Sato on a grounder in the clutch. Brad Goldberg went 1-2-3 in the 9th to save the tight win.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom 0 1 2 1 6 3 1 14 13 1
Flag of Pakistan Pakistan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 3
WP: Paul Kirkpatrick (1-0), LP: Muhammad Zohaib (0-1)
Home Runs: None
  • Attendance: 1,359

Great Britain sent Pakistan packing as ten players scored runs, led by three from 2B Albert Cartwright, who tripled twice. SS Jasrado Chisholm rapped three hits and CF Champ Stuart drove in three. Greg Hendrix allowed one hit in four innings then Paul Kirkpatrick got the win in relief, while Muhammad Zohaib (4 R in 3 2/3 IP) took the loss despite being Pakistan's top hurler on the day. Pakistan got two hits. In the bottom of the 2nd, LF Fazal Ur Rehman singled off Hendrix and C Umair Bhatti was hit by a pitch but the rally ended as DH Hidayat Ullah hit into a double play. Bhatti got a hit in the 5th off Kirkpatrick as well.

September 24[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Brazil Brazil 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 12 1
Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom 0 0 3 0 0 0 1 0 X 4 6 1
WP: Chris Reed (1-0), LP: André Rienzo (0-1), SV: Daniel Cooper (1)
Home Runs: None
  • Attendance: 1,480

In an elimination game, Great Britain stunned Brazil, eliminating a 2013 entry despite getting half as many hits. In the top of the 3rd, Brazil struck first against Californian Blake Taylor. CF Fernando Luciano singled but 2B Lucas Rojo hit into a double play. That proved critical as CF Rodrigo Maciel and LF Irait Chirino both singled. After a wild pitch by Taylor, SS Leonardo Reginatto hit a two-run single.

In the bottom of the inning, Britain took the lead against former big leaguer André Rienzo. DH Chavez Young singled and was balked over. 3B Kyle Simmons doubled, but Young only took one base. Rienzo plunked LF Antoan Richardson to load the bases but recovered to whiff the #2 and #3 batters, SS Jasrado Chisholm and CF Champ Stuart. Rienzo's control again proved an issue as he hit RF Todd Isaacs to force in a run. 1B Jordan Serena hit into a two-run error by Reginatto.

Brazil certainly had chances to come back. In the top of the 6th, LF Dante Bichette Jr. singled against reliever Chris Reed, DH Juan Carlos Muniz singled and 1B Reinaldo Sato bunted them over. Reed escaped the jam by retiring C Luis Paz and Luciano on pop-outs. In the top of the 7th, Reed issued a one-out walk to Maciel. Back-up SS Bo Bichette singled and they pulled off a double steal. Reginatto (who had now moved to 3B) hit a grounder to Chisholm, who fired home to C Chris Berset, who tagged out Maciel. Dante Bichette Jr. then hit into an inning-ending force.

Great Britain got a crucial insurance run in the bottom of the 7th. 2B Albert Cartwright singled off reliever Felipe Sales and advanced on a wild pitch, then Young walked. Simmons delivered a run-scoring single for a 4-2 lead. That hit proved big because Brazil got a run back in the top of the 8th. Sato doubled off Reed with one out and Paz hit into a run-scoring error by Cartwright. Luciano and Rojo singled to challenge again but former major leaguer Reed again delivered in a clutch one-out situation, this time with the bases juiced, fanning both Maciel and Bo Bichette to preserve the lead at one. In the top of the 9th, Brazil got one last shot. With two outs, Muniz doubled off Reed, the 7th hit allowed by him. Daniel Cooper relieved. Muniz then stunningly tried to steal third and Berset gunned him down. Brazil manager Barry Larkin said "Muniz came up with a big hit. He was certainly excited out there, and I believe in that situation he couldn't control his emotions and had a mental lapse."

September 25[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 4 1
Flag of Israel Israel 0 0 0 0 4 1 1 3 X 9 11 1
WP: Josh Zeid (1-0), LP: Spencer Kreisberg (0-1)
Home Runs: ISR: Blake Gailen, Ryan Lavarnway, Cody Decker
  • Attendance: 2,016

Israel used power and pitching to win a spot in the World Baseball Classic for the first time. Jason Marquis pitched four perfect innings and Josh Zeid added two more. In the 7th, with one out, Zeid walked Jasrado Chisholm to end the perfect game. By then, Israel had a solid lead.

British team veteran Spencer Kreisberg had blanked the Israelis for four innings but allowed a leadoff single to SS Scott Burcham in the 5th and was relieved by Ali Knowles. CF Blake Gailen homered and RF Zach Borenstein walked. Rei Martinez relieved and allowed a long home run to C Ryan Lavarnway to make it 4-0. In the 6th, Nolan Bond allowed a one-out single to Burcham and a two-out triple to Borenstein for another run.

In the 7th, 3B Cody Decker hit Israel's third home run of the day, taking Bond deep. In the top of the 8th, facing Jeremy Bleich, 2B Albert Cartwright hit a two-out single to end the no-hitter and advanced on an error by Borenstein on the play. DH Chavez Young then singled to end the shutout. In the bottom of the 8th, Gailen drew a one-out walk from Greg Hendrix, Borenstein singled and Lavarnway singled and an error by CF Todd Isaacs on the play led to a 7-1 score. After Paul Kirkpatrick relieved, backup Israeli DH Charlie Cutler hit a double to cap the scoring.

Statistical Leaders[edit]



Further Reading[edit]

  • Niall Adler: "Qualifier Dundee: WBC competition starts tonight: Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, South Africa vying for spot in 2017 tournament", mlb.com, February 9, 2016. [1]
  • Alex Espinoza: "Panama set to host 4-team WBC qualifier: Lee-helmed squad joined by Colombia, Spain, France as 2017 tourney hopefuls", mlb.com, March 15, 2016. [2]
  • Doug Miller: "Road to World Baseball Classic starts Down Under: First qualifier for 2017 tournament set for Thursday in Australia", mlb.com, February 8, 2016. [3]
  • Mark Newman: "Mexico on home turf for Classic qualifier: Host team to vie with Czech Rep., Germany, Nicaragua for ticket to 2017 tourney", mlb.com, March 16, 2016. [4]

Related Sites[edit]