Thursday, September 22, the fourth Qualifier of the World Baseball Classic teed off in Brooklyn. The home field of the Brooklyn Cyclones, MCU Park, serves as the arena of this four day tournament.
The participants are Israel, Great Britain, Brazil and Pakistan. With Coney Island in the backdrop of the ballpark, Pakistan and Brazil played the opening game of this Qualifier. Great Britain took on Israel in the night cap of the first day.
Pakistan 0 – 10 Brazil
Even though Pakistan was no match for Brazil, the South Americans still needed seven innings to beat the team from Asia. But despite being no match, Pakistan showed that it knows how to play the game at times. For example in the bottom of the seventh inning, when Bo Bichette hit into a bases loaded force out to third base as Pakistani third baseman Zubair Nawaz threw to homeplate for the force out and catcher Hidayat Ullah was just too late with his throw to first base to complete the double play.
It took Brazil until the third inning to get on the board when a 6-4 force out drove in the opening run for Brazil. After Dante Bichette jr. tripled home Leonardo Regionatto, Reinaldo Sato drove in Bichette jr. for the third run for Brazil.
Even though Pakistan was outhit 13-4, it was a Pakistan’s Sumair Zawar who got the first hit of this qualifier as he singled on a line drive in the tournament’s first at bat.
After scoring the aforementioned three runs in the third inning, Brazil scored one run in the fourth, two in the fifth and four in the seventh to end the game in mercy rule fashion.
Winning pitcher for Brazil was Jean Tome, who had some professional experience in rookie ball in the VSL, AZL and Appalachian League. Tome pitched 5.1 innings in which he gave up three hits and struck out four. Inayat Kahn took the loss for Pakistan. In 4.1 innings he gave up five runs (four earned) on nine hits.
Best hitter for Brazil was Juan Carlos Muniz, who spent two years in minor league baseball, mainly at AA but also a season at A Advanced. In three at bats, Muniz collected two hits, one of them a two run homerun.
Eye catcher was 15-year old relief pitcher Eric Pardinho who pitched 2/3 of an inning, allowing a hit and a walk. The kid hit 94 mph on the radar gun. You can bet that many MLB teams will keep an eye on him now.
Where Brazil had the help of several minor leaguers on its roster, Pakistan did not have such help at all. The team contained all homegrown players, of which a lot of them used to play cricket. Pakistan will not have the hope to win games during this qualifier. According to manager Fakhar Shah, learning is more important. Even though baseball in Pakistan started in 1992, the game is still pretty much in its infancy. The team hopes that contacts in the US with Pakistan roots will help the game develop.