On Thursday March 17, the WBC Qualifier 3
started with a matchup between Colombia and Spain. Later Panama and France would face each other in the night cap
No surprises on this day as both favorites won easily. But also the games of this qualifier were restricted by black outs. How on earth does MLB want to let the game get more popular abroad as games like this cannot be seen in Europe or in South and Central America? A missed opportunity if you’d ask me.
Colombia 9 – 2 Spain
Even though Columbia did not have a hard time vs Spain, the Europeans gave the Columbians a hard time.
Sergio Perez got two quick outs for Spain in the first inning, but then failed to finish it as he walked the third batter that he faced. The next hitter, Jesus Valdez singled to center field that advanced Reynaldo Rodriguez from first to third. Rodriguez eventually scored the opening run on Adrian Sanchez’ single to shortstop Luis Guillorme.
In the top of the third inning, Colombia’s Harold Ramirez reached first base on a throwing error by Spain’s third baseman Jesus Merchan and advanced to second base on the play. A wild pitch by Sergio Perez allowed Ramirez to advance to third before scoring on Dilson Herrera’s sac fly to left field.
With Sergio Perez still on the mound in the top of the fifth inning, Reynaldo Rodriguez tripled to center field with one out. That was the sign to Spain’s manager to replace Perez with Richard Castillo. An intentional walk put runners on the corners before Castillo retired Adrian Sanchez on a pop out. But again Spain failed to get out of the inning as Maurico Ramos and Steve Brown singled to drive in two runs. Two consecutive walks led to another run to give Colombia a 5-0 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth Spain would get on the board as they scored two. After loading the bases, catcher Blake Ochoa grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Yunesky Sanchez scored on the play. Jesus Golindano’s single drove in Engel Beltre from third to inch a bit closer.
The eighth inning was a disastrous one for Spain as they allowed Colombia to walk away when they scored four more runs to make in 9-2.
In the bottom of the eighth inning Spain had the opportunity to do something back as they had runners on the corners with two outs, but Daniel Martinez grounded out 6-3 for the final out of the inning.
The Columbian pitchers kept the Spaniards in check for the remainder of the game, giving the 9-2 victory to the South Americans.
Winning pitcher was William Cuevas. He lasted four innings in which he gave up only one hit. He walked one and fanned one hitter.
Sergio Perez took the loss for Spain. In the first four innings he kept Spain in the game as he allowed only two runs. Eventually he was tabbed for three runs on four hits (4.15 ERA). He walked three and struck out two.
Best hitter for Colombia was DH Jesus Valdez, who went 2 for 3 with a run scored.
France 2 – 9 Panama
In the night cap Panama hosted France in a very lopsided game.
In the first three innings, Panama laid the solid foundation for the victory as they scored five runs, one in the first, two in the second and one in the third.
It took France to the top of the fifth inning to get on the board. Andy Paz hit a lead off single and stole second base with Jorge Hereaud at bat. After Hereaud grounded out, Frederic Hanvi doubled to left field on a line drive that allowed Paz to score the first run for the French.
A short Dutch note: Norbert Jongerius entered the game as a sub in right field in the bottom of the fifth.
But Panama answered immediately in the bottom of the very same inning. Owen Ozanich
still on the mound, the French made two quick outs. But Ozanich couldn’t get out of the inning as he gave up a double to Jonathan Saavedra, a homerun to Carloz Ruiz and a double to Carlos Quiroz. That double signaled the end for Ozanich as he was replaced by Jonathan Mottay. But Mottay gave up another homerun to Panama as Javier Guerra belted a 2-1 offering over the right field fence.
France added one more run to their score as René Leveret scored from second on a single hit by Jorge Hereaud. But that wasn’t before Panama had scored their ninth run in the sixth inning.
Paolo Espino earned the win for Panama after three innings of work in which he struck out three. Espino threw 33 pitches of which 24 were strikes.
Owen Ozanich took the loss for France. He lasted longer than Espino but in 4.2 innings he gave up seven runs (five earned) on eight hits.
Best hitter for Panama was Carlos Ruiz (does this come as a surprise?), going 2 for 2 with four runs batted in and two runs scored.
Today, Friday March 18, Panama will face Colombia and France will face Spain in the losers bracket.