2023 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers

From BR Bullpen

The 2023 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers were held in September and October 2022 to determine the four final teams that will take part in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, following its expansion from 16 to 20 teams, with all teams that had taken part in the most recent edition of the tournament, in 2017, being automatically qualified. The top two teams in each of the two pools advanced, with one successful team being added to each of the four pools in the main tournament.

The first qualifier was in Regensburg, Bavaria from September 16 to September 23, 2022 with Flag of Czech Republic Czech Republic, Flag of Spain Spain, Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom, Flag of Germany Germany, Flag of France France and Flag of South Africa South Africa taking part. The second qualifier was in Panama City, Panama from September 30 to October 5 with Flag of Nicaragua Nicaragua, Flag of Brazil Brazil, Flag of Pakistan Pakistan, Flag of Panama Panama, Flag of Argentina Argentina and Flag of New Zealand New Zealand as the competing countries. Among these, Brazil, South Africa, Spain and Panama had all taken part in at least one previous edition of the main tournament, while Argentina was the only team that had never participated in a prior qualifier. The teams to advance were Great Britain, Czech Republic, Panama and Nicaragua.

See also 2023 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers (Rosters). As usual, some teams were very authentic - the Czechs and Nicaraguans each had only one player born outside their country - while others were almost entirely not (Spain only had two players born in Spain), with most teams in the middle.

Qualifying Group A: September 16 to September 23, 2022[edit]

September 16[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of South Africa South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 4 8 1
Flag of Spain Spain 0 0 0 1 0 1 3 0 - 5 11 1
WP: Vicente Campos (1-0), LP: Jared Elario (0-1) SV: Rhiner Cruz (1)
Home Runs: ESP Justin Connell

Attendance: 883

South Africa kept it close much of the game. Justin Erasmus matched Spain's Ronald Medrano with scoreless ball for the first 3 1/2 innings. In the bottom of the 4th, RF Justin Connell got the first run of the qualifiers when he went yard off Erasmus. In the 6th, veteran Jared Elario succeeded Erasmus and Spain doubled their lead as Connell and LF Lesther Galván hit back-to-back singles and Connell scored when C Gabriel Lino hit into a double play. South Africa battled back in the 7th against Daniel Álvarez. LF Tyrone Milne walked, CF Benjamin Smith singled and an error on the play by Connell put both men in scoring position. After one out, 2B Victor Ngoepe grounded in Milne and 3B Jonathan Phillips singled in Smith.

Spain retook the lead in the bottom of the 7th. With one away, SS Noelvi Marte walked and stole second. Elario got a second out but then 1B Jesús Ustariz tripled, DH Chris Kwitzer doubled and Connell doubled for a 5-2 edge. South Africa almost tied it again in the 9th. Facing Rhiner Cruz, Dayle Feldtman pinch-hit and walked then Derick Baylis pinch-ran. Ngoepe doubled and SS Tyler Smith doubled them both home to cut it to 5-4. Cruz recovered to retire C Kyle Botha and then struck out DH Christian Beyers, the cleanup man, to end it.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 R H E
Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom 0 0 2 2 1 1 4 4 14 13 2
Flag of France France 0 1 0 0 2 0 1 0 4 8 4
WP: McKenzie Mills (1-0), LP: Kevin Canelon (0-1)
Home Runs: GBR Harry Ford, FRA Ivan Acuña

Attendance: 897

Great Britain debuts with a mercy rule win over France. C Ivan Acuña put France on the board first, with a solo homer off McKenzie Mills in the 2nd. Britain came back in the 3rd when CF Anfernee Seymour reached on an error by 3B Ariel Soriano and C Harry Ford (a top Mariners prospect) smacked a two-run bomb off Kevin Canelon. France wound up trying ten pitchers, with José Paula's one scoreless inning the bright spot. The difference in pitching staffs was notable as Britain turned to two former major leaguers in Vance Worley and Chris Reed whereas many of the French team hurlers had never played in the US minors even. Ford reached in five of six plate appearances, with two runs and two RBI while Seymour had three hits and three RBI from the 9 spot. SS Alexander Perdomo was France's top hitter, reaching in three of four plate appearances and scoring a pair.

September 17[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Flag of Spain Spain 3 4 2 0 12 0 0 21 18 5
Flag of Czech Republic Czech Republic 1 0 0 1 5 0 0 7 8 1
WP: Rogelio Armenteros (1-0), LP: Marek Minařík (0-1)
Home Runs: ESP Jesús Ustariz, Edison Valerio 2 CZE Vojtěch Menšík, Marek Chlup, Matěj Menšík, Martin Mužík

Attendance: 1,725

Given that the two teams had finished one spot off in the 2021 European Championship (Spain 4th, Czechs 5th), this game was a surprisingly one-sided affair. Spain chased former Phillies and Pirates farmhand Marek Minařík with seven runs in 1 1/3 IP. SS Noelvi Marte (4 H, 5 RBI), 1B Jesús Ustariz (5 RBI) and 3B Edison Valerio (6 RBI, 2 HR) led the charge before Lukas Hlouch shut down Spain in the final two and a third. SS Vojtěch Menšík had three hits and a homer, one of four Czech homers, but it was not nearly enough. Rogelio Armenteros got the win while four relievers had mixed results.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom 3 0 0 0 0 3 0 2 0 8 9 1
Flag of Germany Germany 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 1
WP: Akeel Morris (1-0), LP: Brian Flynn (0-1)
Home Runs: GBR Justin Wylie, Harry Ford (2)

Attendance: 2,216

A sellout home crowd was let down by their team's flat debut and also had to weather a rain delay. In a game featuring two former major leaguers on the hill, Britain wasted no time pounding Brian Flynn. C Harry Ford was plunked, DH Matt Koperniak walked and 3B Justin Wylie hit a one-out, three-run homer. In the bottom of the 1st, CF Aaron Altherr and 3B William Germaine drew two-out walks from Akeel Morris and LF Daniel Aldrich singled in a run. Morris's non-MLB veteran successors Daniel Cooper, Donovan Benoit, Alex Webb, Chavez Fernander and Tahnaj Thomas shut out Germany over the final 6 2/3 innings, allowing two hits and no runs while fanning 8 (though they did walk 7).

Britain's lead was still 3-1 entering the 6th. RF Jaden Rudd and 2B Kent Blackstone singled off Duke von Schamann then CF Anfernee Seymour tripled to make it 5-1. Nick Wittgren relieved and Ford hit a sacrifice fly for a five-run cushion. They padded on two more in the 8th when Seymour singled against Maurice Wilhelm and Ford hit his second long ball of the event.

September 18[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of France France 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 6 1
Flag of Czech Republic Czech Republic 2 0 0 0 0 2 1 2 - 7 12 1
WP: Lukáš Ercoli (1-0), LP: Marc-André Habeck (0-1)
Home Runs: CZE Vojtěch Menšík (2)

Attendance: 911

France was the first team to be eliminated while the Czechs survived another day. Fresh off an appearance in the 2022 Italian Series, Canadian Marc-André Habeck took the hill for France but things began on a rocky note when Vojtěch Menšík homered to lead things off, then DH Petr Zýma doubled and C Martin Červenka hit a one-out double to give the Czechs all the runs they would need. Lukáš Ercoli shut out France for the first four then Martin Schneider added three more goose eggs. Meanwhile, the Czech Republic doubled their lead in the 6th on a double by 2B Jakub Hajtmar off Yoimer Camacho, walks to Menšík and Zýma and a one-out two-run single by RF Marek Chlup, one of his three hits on the day.

In the 7th, 1B Martin Mužík singled off Shane Priest and CF Arnošt Dubový doubled him in. France got their only run of the day in the 8th - CF Léo Jiminian doubled off Schneider and was driven in by C Ivan Acuña. In the bottom of the 8th, the Czechs made up that run and added another insurance tally. Zýma and Chlup singled off Quentin Moulin and an error by 3B Yeixon Ruiz put both in scoring position. Červenka then singled them both in for a three-RBI day.

September 19[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of South Africa South Africa 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 2 1 5 10 2
Flag of Germany Germany 0 0 0 2 0 7 2 0 - 11 15 1
WP: Nick Wittgren (1-0), LP: Kevin Townend (0-1), SV: Sascha Koch (1)
Home Runs: RSA Dayle Feldtman DEU William Germaine, Demetrius Moorer 2 (2), Aaron Altherr

Attendance: 920

In the second elimination game, the hosts' bats finally woke up as they stayed alive, sending South Africa out. Germany turned to Enorbel Márquez, a 47-year-old Cuban who was the team's all-time win leader. He allowed a leadoff double to Jonathan Phillips, who was bunted over, then walked C Kyle Botha. He recovered to strike out SS Tyler Smith then Phillips was caught stealing home, the call by Sam Burch held up on review. DH Dayle Feldtman homered (the first of his three hits) to open the 2nd and Márquez only lasted two more batters before turning it over to Kit Scheetz, who calmed things down for the next 2 2/3 innings.

Former AAA hurler Kieran Lovegrove shut out Germany for the first three innings to run their scoreless skid to 11 innings. In the 4th, they got to him as DH Daniel Aldrich and 3B William Germaine singled (one of his three hits); with one out, 2B Marco Cardoso singled to load them up. SS Cody Schultz coaxed a walk to force in the tying run then LF Kevin Kotowski grounded in the go-ahead run. Lovegrave escaped further harm by striking out RF Demetrius Moorer. The African squad tied it in the 5th. Phillips singled off reliever Jordan Martinson and 2B Victor Ngoepe bunted him over. Botha reached on a fielder's choice to put men on the corners and the veteran catcher stole second. A passed ball by Germany's Bruce Maxwell, a former big leaguer, tied the game. It was now Martinson's turn to escape further damage, which he did by retiring Smith and striking out Feldtman.

Things totally fell apart for South Africa after Lovegrove exited the game. Kevin Townend took over in the 6th, 17 years after his debut for the South African national team. This was one to forget as Germaine greeted him with a dinger then 1B Lucas Dunn and Cardoso both singled. Andy Berglund took out Townend and turned to Daniel Mendelsohn, who had interestingly pitched for Germany in the past. Schultz hit into an error by Mendelsohn to let in one run then Kotowski singled for a 5-2 lead. Berglund tried to stop the bleeding by bringing in former Reds farmhand Robert Lewis-Walker but Moorer greeted him with a three-run smash and it was now 8-2, a six-run inning with no outs yet. Lewis-Walker struck out Maxwell but CF Aaron Altherr went yard. Donavon Hendricks was summoned as the fourth South African pitcher of the inning and finally ended it.

Germany wasn't done yet. Wilson Lee pinch-hit for Kotowski with two outs in the 7th and singled then Moorer homered to make it a five-RBI, two-homer day. South Africa got a bit closer in the 8th against Sascha Koch. Feldtman hit into an error by Schultz then CF Benjamin Smith and LF Tyrone Milne both singled. RF Brandon Bouillon hit a sacrifice fly and 1B Josh Hendricks doubled in Smith to close it to 11-4. Dean Jacobs shut out Germany in the 8th, the only one of South Africa's six pitchers today not to allow a run. In the 9th, Ngoepe drew a leadoff walk from Koch and Tyler Smith had a one-out single. Feldtman singled and Benjamin Smith hit a fly to bring in Ngoepe with the game's last run.

September 20[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Germany Germany 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 4 6 0
Flag of Czech Republic Czech Republic 3 0 3 1 0 0 0 1 - 8 8 1
WP: Daniel Padyšák (1-0), LP: Michael Bienlien (0-1); SV: Michal Kovala (1)
Home Runs: DEU William Germaine (2); CZE Petr Zýma, Martin Červenka 2

Attendance: 1,102

The hosts got knocked out while the Czechs stayed alive. They burst out of the gate against Daniel Padyšák. RF Demetrius Moorer singled and was caught stealing, which proved crucial after C Bruce Maxwell and DH Daniel Aldrich walked and 3B William Germaine hit a three-run shot. In the bottom of the inning, the Czechs came right back against Tommy Sommer. SS Vojtěch Menšík walked and DH Petr Zýma homered then C Martin Červenka hit a one-out homer to even the score.

In the bottom of the 3rd, the Czechs put across the winning runs against Michael Bienlien. Zýma drew a one-out walk, Červenka hit a two-out single, LF Matěj Menšík was plunked and so was 1B Martin Mužík to make it 4-3. Duke von Schamann relieved but gave up a two-run single to CF Arnošt Dubový. In the bottom of the 4th, they stretched the lead on a single by Vojtěch Menšík, a two-out walk to Červenka and a single by Matěj Menšík. Germany closed it back to a three-run game in the 5th, LF Kevin Kotowski singled and Maxwell and CF Aaron Altherr walked. Michal Kovala relieved then Aldrich grounded in Kotowski. Kovala would work the final 4 2/3 for the save, allowing two hits and three walks but no runs while striking out two. The Czechs got their last run in the 7th when Červenka took von Schamann deep for a three-hit, three-run day.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E
Flag of Spain Spain 4 0 1 3 0 0 1 0 0 0 9 12 1
Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom 1 0 2 2 1 0 2 0 1 1 10 12 2
WP: Tahnaj Thomas (1-0), LP: Rhiner Cruz (0-1)
Home Runs: ESP Noelvi Marte GBR Harry Ford (3), D'Shawn Knowles, Jaden Rudd

Attendance: 1,186

The two unbeaten teams in the pool matched off, with the winner advancing to the 2023 Classic and the loser still having a shot in a game against Czechia. The game continued the trend of high-scoring contests and was one of the most dramatic ones. Former major leaguer Vance Worley had trouble out of the gate as CF Engel Beltre and SS Noelvi Marte began with singles. After a sacrifice by DH Justin Connell, 1B Jesús Ustariz doubled in a pair. RF Chris Kwitzer singled and DH Edison Valerio hit into a force scoring Ustariz, who scored the first of his three runs. LF Lesther Galván hit into an error by RF Jaden Rudd and Valerio came home to make it 4-0. Things looked bleak for the Brits.

In the bottom of the 1st, C Harry Ford led off with a long ball off Lowuin Sacramento and had now homered in all three British games. After a scoreless 2nd, Spain built their lead back to four in the 3rd. Worley walked Ustariz, then Kwitzer singled again. Valerio hit into a double play, then Galván singled home Ustariz for a 5-1 Spanish edge. In the bottom of the 3rd, Saceamento hit CF Anfernee Seymour then got two outs but SS Nick Ward and 3B Justin Wylie hit back-to-back RBI doubles to cut the gap to two. Fernando Baez relieved and retired 1B Alex Crosby on a grounder to escape further harm. In the top of the 4th, Worley was relieved by another MLB veteran, Michael Roth. He had a rough entry as 2B Oscar Angulo reached on a Ward error, then Beltre singled and Marte homered to put Spain up, 8-3.

Britain tried another comeback in the bottom of the 4th. LF D'Shawn Knowles singled and Seymour had a two-out single to send him to third, then Seymour stole second. Ford lined one to center to score both runners, chasing Baez in favor of Orlando Rodriguez, closing the gap to 8-5. In the bottom of the 5th, they got another run as Ward walked and stole second then Wylie walked as well. Crosby hit into a force at second then Knowles singled in Ward and it was 8-6. With two away, 2B Kent Blackstone walked. Daniel Álvarez took over for Rodriguez and became the third Spanish reliever to escape a jam, striking out Seymour with the bases loaded. The 6th inning was only the second scoreless frame of the day, Angulo being the only batter to reach when he singled off Roth. Roth finished three shutout innings following the Marte homer to recover after that rocky start.

In the top of the 7th, Spain got their last run, off Michael Petersen. Ustariz singled and scored on a one-out double by Valerio for his third run of the day. Donovan Benoit would blank Spain over the next two innings as Britain rallied. In the bottom of the 7th, Wylie singled and Crosby hit into a force then Knowles socked a two-run homer (for a three-hit, three-RBI day) off Álvarez to cut it to 9-8, the closest Britain had yet gotten. Spain turned to former major leaguer Rhiner Cruz, one of their more experienced players (having debuted with Spain in the 2007 European Championship) to try to close it out. That did not pan out as Rudd hit a one-out homer to make up for his earlier error and tie the game. In the top of the 10th, Spain started with a runner on second under the extra-inning rules while British skipper Drew Spencer turned to Pirates farmhand Tahnaj Thomas. Valerio bunted the runner to third then PH Leopoldo Correa grounded out. C Gabriel Lino, recently the 2022 Italian Series MVP, grounded out. Angulo then lined out to backup 2B Raul Shah to end the threat, lining Thomas up for the win as Britain continued their charge in the bottom of the 10th. Starting with DH Matt Koperniak on second, Ward failed to bunt him over. Wylie grounded back to the mound and Cruz tried for the out at third but made an error. Crosby then launched a sacrifice fly to left to bring in Koperniak to give Britain their first ticket to a World Baseball Classic. Seymour planted a Union Jack at home plate after racing around the field with it.

September 21[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Czech Republic Czech Republic 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 5 0
Flag of Spain Spain 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 9 0
WP: Martin Schneider (1-0), LP: Ronald Medrano (0-1), SV: Marek Minařík (1)
Home Runs: CZE Martin Mužík (2), Marek Chlup (2)

Attendance: 1,229

The Czechs made it to the Classic for the first time, ousting Spain, guaranteeing both qualifiers from this pool would be first-time participants in the WBC. After getting pounded for 21 runs by Spain in their prior meeting, they turned to 36-year-old Martin Schneider, a two-way threat who was among the Extraliga's all-time top ten in many offensive and some pitching categories. Spain countered with Ronald Medrano, who had starred in the opener.

Medrano started off looking much more dominant, striking out the side in the 1st. Spain wasted little time getting to Schneider as CF Engel Beltre doubled and advanced on flies by SS Noelvi Marte and DH Justin Connell for a 1-0 edge. After that, though, Schneider shut out Spain for the following 5 2/3 innings. In the 2nd, Medrano plunked LF Matěj Menšík with one out and 1B Martin Mužík went deep with what would be the game-winning hit. They added insurance when RF Marek Chlup went yard in the 4th.

Yeudy Garcia shut out the Czechs for the last five innings, allowing only one hit and striking out eight, but they had gotten enough offense. Spain had a shot in the 4th, loading the bases, but Schneider got LF Lesther Galván to hit into a force out. Marek Minařík took over for Schneider and was much sharper than his prior game against Spain, allowing no runs in 2 2/3 IP, scattering four hits for a long save.

Qualifying Group B: September 30 to October 5, 2022[edit]

September 30[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of New Zealand New Zealand 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 7 10 2
Flag of Brazil Brazil 4 0 0 2 0 0 6 0 - 12 10 0
WP: Gabriel Barbosa (1-0), LP: Ben Thompson (0-1)
Home Runs: NZL Nikau Pouaka-Grego BRA Tim Lopes

Attendance: 105

New Zealand took the field for the first time in six years, since the 2016 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, as the lowest-ranked team in the pool. Gabriel Barbosa set them down in order in the first then Brazil pounced on former Braves farmhand Ben Thompson. CF Gabriel Maciel doubled, advanced on a grounder from SS Vítor Ito and scored on a wild pitch. LF Tim Lopes singled, 3B Leonardo Reginatto doubled and 1B Christian Lopes hit into a Thompson error to make it 2-0. 2B Lucas Rojo grounded in a third run, then C Daniel Molinari walked and RF Fernando Luciano got plunked. Jimmy Boyce took over on the mound and hit DH Paulo Orlando to force in a fourth run, Brazil having now batted through the order before Boyce got Maciel on an inning-ending grounder.

In the second, the islanders closed the gap to one. In the second, DH Andrew Marck drew a two-out walk from Barbosa, then C Beau Bishop hit a ground-rule double. Barbosa hit 1B Daniel Lamb-Hunt and CF Max Brown cleared the bases with a double but was thrown out trying for third. Boyce shut down Brazil in the second and third but in the 4th he plunked Ito and surrendered a two-run shot to Tim Lopes as Brazil went up 6-3. Brazil then padded their lead significantly in the 7th. Tim Lopes greeted Eugene Gay with a four-pitch walk and Reginatto doubled, then Christian Lopes and Rojo both hit RBI singles. Maclain Roberts took over and Márcio Kikuchi (who had replaced the injured Molinari behind the dish) grounded in a third run. Luciano doubled and Orlando was intentionally walked. With two outs, Ito got plunked and a wild pitch scored PR Daniel Chibana. Tim Lopes hit into a run-scoring error by 3B Chayton Krauss to make it 12-3 Brazil.

New Zealand cut the gap in the 8th, making that six-run inning necessary for Brazil. After being shut out by relievers Heitor Tokar and Oscar Nakaoshi, they gave Igor Kimura a rough greeting. Brown singled, then SS Jason Matthews doubled. Krauss hit a two-run double and 2B Nikau Pouaka-Grego went deep to cut it to 12-7. In the 9th, Kimura allowed a single to backup C Connar O'Gorman and a walk to backup SS Duncan Izaaks but escaped further damage, getting Krauss on a game-ending grounder.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Pakistan Pakistan 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 4 10 4
Flag of Argentina Argentina 0 0 1 2 0 4 0 0 - 7 12 1
WP: Lucas Ramón (1-0), LP: Omar Arif (0-1), SV: Franco Pérez (1)
Home Runs: None

Attendance: 466

Argentina played in its first WBC Classic Qualifier game, while Pakistan turned to a lot more ringers than in the past (16 players born in the US or Canada, 11 in Pakistan) though not nearly as many as Spain had used in this year's qualifiers or Israel had used in the past. CF Sebastián García was Argentina's first batter and doubled off Amir Asghar but was stranded.

Pakistan went ahead in the second. SS Zan Von Schlegell singled off Lucas Ramón then stole second. 2B Pierce Khan reached on a fielder's choice to put men on the corners then DH Shahid Sattar hit into a run-scoring double play. Argentina came back in the third to tie it. With one away, 2B Exequiel Talevi singled to chase Asghar. Omar Arif relieved and DH Eduardo Zurbriggen grounded Talevi over; a wild pitch sent Talevi to third. A passed ball by C Iyad Ansari let Talevi race home with Argentina's first run in a WBC Qualifier.

In the fourth, the only Asian entry in the qualifiers took the lead again. LF Rohan Shah doubled and scored on a two-out single by Khan. In the bottom of the inning, Arif plunked RF Matías Robles, C Lucas Nakandakare singled and 3B Andres Kim walked. Arif got two outs but walked Talevi to force in the tying run and Zurbriggen with the go-ahead run; Argentina would not look back.

Argentina padded the lead in the 6th off University of British Columbia player Adam Khan. Kim singled and García hit into an error by 3B Alex Khan. SS Agustín Tissera singled and Alex Khan erred on that play as well, two runs scoring to make it 5-2. Talevi tripled home Tissera and Zurbriggen singled in Talevi with Argentina's last run of the day. Pakistan got a bit closer in the 9th thanks to the native Pakistanis on offense. With one away, PH Muhammad Hussain and PH Faqir Hussain singled off veteran knuckleballer Diego Echeverría. Backup C Umair Imdad Bhatti singled in a run and a passed ball by Nakandakare scored Hussain but Pakistan got no closer.

Lisa Turbitt became the first woman to be an umpire in a WBC Qualifier or WBC game, covering home plate duties.

October 1[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Brazil Brazil 1 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 4 9 0
Flag of Nicaragua Nicaragua 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 1
WP: Felipe Sales (1-0), LP: JC Ramírez (0-1), SV: Enzo Sawayama (1)
Home Runs: NIC Melvin Novoa

Attendance: 695

Brazil wastes little time in getting to MLB vet JC Ramírez; with one away in the first, they get three straight singles from SS Vítor Ito, LF Tim Lopes and 3B Leonardo Reginatto then 1B Christian Lopes grounded in Ito. After Japanese industrial league veteran Felipe Sales retired the first eight batters he faced, Nicaragua tied it when C Melvin Novoa went deep. They would not score again versus Sales, Oscar Nakaoshi, Igor Januário and Enzo Sawayama, Brazil trying to ride pitching to the Classic as they had in 2012.

The game remained 1-1 until the top of the fifth. A flagging Ramírez walked DH Paulo Orlando on five pitches and CF Gabriel Maciel on four. Leo Crawford took over and Ito bunted the runners over, then Nicaragua turned to Junior Téllez. He retired Tim Lopes but Reginatto delivered a two-run single for the winning blow. They got some insurance in the sixth on a single by C Daniel Molinari off Téllez and a two-out RBI double from Maciel (off Berman Espinoza)

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Flag of Argentina Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2
Flag of Panama Panama 0 1 2 2 6 0 - 11 12 0
WP: Humberto Mejía (1-0), LP: Guido Monis (0-1)
Home Runs: PAN Jose Ramos

Attendance: 5,314

Attendance exploded for the home team's debut and the fans had plenty to cheer about as former major leaguers Humberto Mejía and Randall Delgado teamed with Matt Hardy and Alberto Guerrero on a two-hitter (only CF Sebastián García and 1B Jacinto Cipriota got hits for Argentina), walking none and fanning eight. Argentina turned to 43-year-old Guido Monis and he shut down the hosts in the first but Panama took off from there. LF Allen Córdoba (2 R, 3 RBI) and CF Jose Ramos (2 R, 2 RBI) led the charge in a mercy rule romp.

October 2[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 0
Flag of Nicaragua Nicaragua 2 2 0 5 1 2 - 12 12 0
WP: Osman Gutiérrez (1-0); LP: Muhammad Zohaib (0-1)
Home Runs: NIC Isaac Benard

Attendance: 495

After keeping it close in their opener, Pakistan is sent packing by a much more established baseball country. Osman Gutiérrez, Rodney Theophile, Joaquin Acuna and Roniel Raudes each allow one hit in a combined shutout victory, while DH Dwight Britton collects three hits and CF Isaac Benard hits a three-run shot. 3B Alex Khan is a bright spot for Pakistan, getting half their hits.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of New Zealand New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 5 0
Flag of Argentina Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 - 4 5 1
WP: Federico Robles (1-0); LP: Elliot Johnstone (0-1); SV: Jose Mendoza (1)
Home Runs: NZL Chayton Krauss

Attendance: 193

The other elimination game featured a tight pitching match between Argentina's Federico Robles and New Zealand's Ryan Sanders. New Zealand threatened in the third when CF Max Brown and SS Jason Matthews had one-out singles and 2B Nikau Pouaka-Grego grounded them over but Robles got 3B Chayton Krauss on a grounder to end it. Krauss made it up for it with a two-out dinger in the 6th to put the islanders ahead, 1-0. Elliot Johnstone took over for Sanders with two outs in the 5th and kept the shutout going, but Argentina got to him in the 7th. C Lucas Nakandakare and PH José Gerez both drew walks and 3B Andres Kim got plunked. Ryota Okumoto relieved but LF Lucas Stalman, the #9 hitter, greeted him with a single to tie it. Okumoto hit CF Sebastián García to force in the winning run. Connor Gleeson replaced Okumoto and threw a wild pitch to make it 3-1. He retired SS Agustín Tissera, intentionally walked 2B Exequiel Talevi and struck out 1B Jacinto Cipriota, the cleanup hitter. DH Eduardo Zurbriggen walked to force in the fourth run of the inning, only one of them scoring on a hit. Jose Mendoza closed out Robles' win, allowing only one hit (to 1B Daniel Lamb-Hunt) in his two innings.

October 4[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Argentina Argentina 0 0 0 2 2 0 1 0 0 5 8 1
Flag of Nicaragua Nicaragua 0 2 0 0 0 3 1 0 - 6 11 1
WP:Berman Espinoza (1-0), LP: Franco Pérez (0-1), SV: Roniel Raudes (1)
Home Runs: ARG Lucas Stalman

Attendance: 185

The third elimination game in the Panama pool was a close one, the newcomers putting up a fight before falling.

Nicaragua got on the board first. In the second, 2B Elmer Reyes drew a walk from Eric Ma and CF Dwight Britton singled. With two away, RF Sandy Bermudez doubled in Reyes and a wild pitch made it 2-0. Veteran Kevin Gadea shut down Argentina for the first three but they pulled alongside in the fourth. With one out, 2B Exequiel Talevi was plunked and 1B Jacinto Cipriota drew a walk then DH Eduardo Zurbriggen doubled them both home, chasing Gadea in favor of Junior Téllez.

In the 5th, the South Americans went ahead. 3B Andres Kim singled and was picked off, which would prove critical. LF Lucas Stalman singled then stole, advancing to third on an error by C Melvin Novoa. After a second out, Talevi singled in one run and Cipriota doubled home Talevi for a 4-2 edge. Leo Crawford took over for Téllez. Jose Mendoza, meanwhile, shut out Nicaragua in the 4th and 5th. In the 6th, though, they retook the lead. Reyes singled, advanced on a Britton grounder and came home on a two-bagger by Novoa. 3B Milkar Perez singled in the tying run. Franco Pérez succeeded the flagging Mendoza but Bermudez greeted him with a single to put Nicaragua ahead, Bermudez thrown out trying to score on the play after a Kim error.

Argentina came alongside one final time in the 7th when Stalman hit a one-out dinger off Crawford. Things didn't remain tied for long. In the bottom of the 7th, Franco Pérez hit SS Brandon Leytón, who advanced on a wild pitch and a single by 1B Cheslor Cuthbert to put men on the corners with one out and the 4 and 5 hitters coming up. Pérez retired Reyes but Britton singled in Leytón with the winner. Argentina got two on in the 8th but Roniel Raudes struck out PH Sebastian Fontana to end the inning. Raudes then went 1-2-3 in the ninth to close out the game.

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 Panama Panama 0 0 0 2 1 0 1 0 - 4 4 0
WP:Ariel Jurado (1-0), LP: Andre Rienzo (0-1)
Home Runs: PAN Jose Ramos (2), Edgar Muñoz

Attendance: 6,789

The two teams with WBC experience squared off, with the winner advancing to the Classic. It was Panama that punched the ticket for its first Classic in 14 years by beating the team that stopped them 10 years prior. They did it with dominant pitching. Ariel Jurado allowed one hit (a single to 1B Christian Lopes) with no walk and six strikeouts. He was followed by James González, Carlos Luna, Enrique Burgos Jr. and Alberto Baldonado for a combined three-hitter. Panama did not allow a run in these qualifiers.

Jurado's fellow former major leaguer Andre Rienzo traded goose eggs with him for three innings, but Panama's lineup struck in the 4th. 2B Jonathan Araúz had a one-out single and CF Jose Ramos hit hits second homer of the tournament for the game-winning blow. They got insurance in the 5th - RF Rodrigo Orozco Jr. drew a walk then Christian Pedrol relieved Rienzo. C Carlos Sánchez bunted him over. With two away, LF Allen Córdoba singled him in. SS Rubén Tejada and Araúz drew back-to-back walks to load the bases but Hector Villarroel relieved and got 1B L.J. Jones on a pop-up to stop it from getting further away. Panama got its last run in the 7th when DH Edgar Muñoz hit a one-out shot off Edilson Batista.

October 5[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Nicaragua Nicaragua 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 7 3
Flag of Brazil Brazil 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 0
WP: Osman Gutiérrez (2-0), LP: Heitor Tokar (0-1), SV: Joaquin Acuna (1)
Home Runs: None

Attendance: 769

Nicaragua gets the last spot, advancing for the first time to the Classic, by avenging their earlier loss to Brazil (which had a chance to qualify for the second straight day but did not get enough offense either time). On two days' rest, Osman Gutiérrez again got the win, allowing only three hits and one unearned run in stifling Brazil's bats.

The Central American team got all the runs they needed in the first. SS Brandon Leytón opened with a single for the first of his three hits today. With one out, 1B Cheslor Cuthbert doubled and 2B Elmer Reyes grounded in Leytón. DH Dwight Britton doubled in Cuthbert. Brazil's pitching recovered after that, but the damage had been done. They got their only run in the fourth. 3B Leonardo Reginatto (who was 3-for-3 today for most of Brazil's hits) drew a walk from Gutiérrez and advanced on a two-out wild pitch. C Daniel Molinari hit into an error by 3B Milkar Perez to let in Brazil's run.

The last run of the game came in the 7th. After Gabriel Barbosa blanked Nicaragua for four innings, Oscar Nakaoshi took over. LF Luis Montealto doubled and Leytón was plunked. Backup 3B Benjamín Alegría bunted them over and Cuthbert was intentionally walked. Reyes then hit into a run-scoring force. After Gutiérrez left, Nicaragua continued to shine on the hill as Jesús Garrido, Carlos Téller and Joaquin Acuna shut out Brazil over the final three innings, allowing two hits and no walks.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Michael Clair: "Great Britain makes stunning comeback to qualify for 1st World Baseball Classic", mlb.com, September 20, 2022. [1]
  • Michael Clair: "Czech ousts Spain, qualifying for World Baseball Classic", mlb.com, September 21, 2022. [2]
  • Matt Monagan: "Complete guide to the Classic's Panama qualifier: The favorite is Panama, but who could be the Cinderella story?", mlb.com, September 30, 2022. [3]

Related Sites[edit]