In a game that was close for the most part, Panama eventually stayed on the right side of the score as the French pitching staff had a hard time finding the strike zone at moments that mattered.
Panama 7 – 4 France
France took an early 2-0 lead as Felix Brown singled and scored all the way from first base on Frederic Hanvi’s double to left field. René Leveret finally came through with a single that moved Hanvi to third base. Hanvi would score the second run on Andy Paz’ foul out.
In the fourth inning, Norbert Jongerius grounded out but with this ground out he made the two runners advance into scoring position. Then with the bases loaded, Angel Cuan balked in France’s fourth run.
But Panama showed some flexibility as they tied the game in the top of the fifth inning. With a run already scored and with the bases loaded, Jonathan Saavedra drove in the second run for Panama as he grounded out 4-1. Then with the bases loaded and two outs, Javier Guera hit a pop up in fourl territory. French second baseman Frederic Walter failed to catch it and that would cost the team dearly as Guera drew a walk followed by another one that gave Panama the lead.
But the French would tie it all again in the bottom of the very same inning. René Leveret finally did what Eric Gagné had put him on the roster for: hitting a homerun.
But with two outs in the seventh inning, Jonathan Mottay gave up two consecutive walks
that gave Panama a 5-4 lead. In the eighth inning Panama added two insurance runs and with that the fate of France was sealed.
Winning pitcher was Angel Cuan, who pitched 4.2 innings in which he gave up two runs on three hits. He walked three and struck out six.
Jonathan Mottay took the los. In two innings he gave up one run on two hits and three walks.
Best hitter for Panama was Isias Velasquez who went 3 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored.
Panama will now take on Colombia in the Qualifier’s final in which a spot at the main tournament is at stake.
France showed that it can play elemental baseball but unfortunately lack of pitching depth cost them the game.