clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2023 World Baseball Classic Day 6: Great Scoring on Great Britain

Three blowouts and an eighth inning rally defined the early slate of yesterday’s WBC games.

2023 World Baseball Classic Pool C: Game 3 Team Great Britain v. Team Canada Photo by Daniel Shirey/WBCI/MLB Photos via Getty Images

It was yet another busy day at the World Baseball Classic, and for the second day in a row, we have not one but two roundups needed to cover all the action. Let’s take a look at what happened during the early slate of games.

Pool B: Japan (4-0) 7, Australia (2-1) 1

Yet again, Japan showed the world why they’re one of the favorites. Up against the previously-undefeated Australia squad, they absolutely dominated their opponents both on the mound and at the plate as they completed pool play undefeated and formally punched their ticket to the quarterfinals.

After briefly starting Saturday’s matchup in a hole, Japan’s offense jumped on Australia starter Will Sherriff early. Lars Nootbaar worked a walk to open the game, Kensuke Kondoh singled to put runners on first and second, and then Shohei Ohtani ... well, did Shohei Ohtani things.

113.2 mph off the bat, 27 degree launch angle, and 448 feet into the right field seats gave Japan an early 3-0 lead. Japan would go on to add a pair of runs in the second, courtesy of stolen bases by Takumu Nakano and Nootbaar, then additional runs in the fourth and fifth to extend that lead to 7-0.

Despite their high-flying offense, however, the real story of the day was Japan’s pitching staff. Led by 24-year-old starter Yoshinobu Yamamoto, they stifled Australia’s bats for eight innings, allowing just four hits and one walk while striking out 11. A ninth inning solo shot off the bat of Alex Hall the only blemish, but even then, Hiroto Takahashi bounced back to fan Jake Bowey and Andrew Campbell to end the game.

Pool A: Italy (2-2) 7, Netherlands (2-2) 1

Coming into the day, the Netherlands simply needed a win to move out of pool play, while Italy needed not only to win, but to win by five or more runs without giving up three, in order to achieve the necessary tiebreakers to advance. With the stakes so high, Italy starter Matt Harvey came out dealing, allowing just one run and two hits across four innings before handing the ball over to a bullpen that combined for nine strikeouts across five frames and kept the MLB-filled Netherlands lineup off the board.

Due to the way the tiebreakers work, however, none of that would have mattered if the Italian lineup did not pile up the runs, and while they struggled across the first three innings, they came up big in the bottom of the fourth. Dominic Fletcher led off the frame with a ground rule double, coming around to score on a Brett Sullivan single. A Vinnie Pasquantino single put runners on first and second with nobody out, and after Miles Mastrobuoni lined out to Jurickson Profar in left for the first out of the inning, Vito Friscia was plunked to load the bases. A wild pitch brought in the first run, a Ben DeLuzio single added a second, and a Sal Frelick ground ball through the right side gave Italy a 4-1 lead with runners on first and second. Nicky Lopez then brought them around to score on a two-out triple; just like that, Italy led 6-1 and had the run differential needed to advance.

Pool D: Israel (1-0) 3, Nicaragua (0-2) 1

In a pool that contains the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela, both Israel and Nicaragua have a long road to climb to advance to the quarterfinals. Despite finding themselves in an early deficit, Israel managed to come out on top — thanks to the work of a certain Yankees reliever.

Both starters — Ronald Medrano for Nicaragua and Dean Kremer for Israel — traded zeroes for the first four frames, before Nicaragua finally struck against Israel reliever Josh Wolf. Sandy Bermudez led off the top of the fifth with a walk; he would be bunted over to second, before coming around to score on a Steven Leyton double to give them a 1-0 lead.

That lead looked like it would hold up, as Nicaragua’s middle relievers got the job done and kept Israel off the board. And then Jonathan Loáisiga took the mound in the eighth. After getting Matt Mervis to ground out to lead off the inning, however, the wheels came off. He allowed Alex Dickerson to single to left field, then plunked Ryan Lavarnway to put runners on first and second. Spencer Horwitz singled, driving home Dickerson to tie it up; Lavarnway and Horwitz would advance to third and second on the throw. Loáisiga then intentionally walked Noah Medlinger to load the bases and set up the force at home, a decision that paid off when Michael Wielansky grounded a ball right back at Loáisiga, who got the force at the plate for the second out of the inning.

Garrett Stubbs, however, followed that up with an automatic double that plated two runs and gave Israel a 3-1 lead, which is where the score would end.

Pool C: Canada (1-0) 18, Great Britain (0-2) 8 (F/7)

Great Britain continued its streak of losing to its former colonies, following up their loss against the United States with a historic defeat at the hands of Canada.

This game announced itself to be a shootout early, as Great Britain forced Canada starter Cal Quantrill out of the game after recording just two outs; he would allow three runs to score. Reminiscent of the 2017 AL Wild Card Game, however, Canada did not let their early deficit hold them back. Edouard Julien led off the home half of the first with a solo shot that would really set the stage for the rest of the evening. Like his counterpart, Great Britain starter Akeel Morris could not get out of the first inning, surrendering five runs while recording only two outs.

That would only be the beginning. Both teams scratched across a run in the second, Great Britain added another in the top of the third, Canada followed that up with a four spot in the bottom of the inning. In the top of the fourth, Great Britain scored three runs to bring them to within two runs, but in the bottom half, Canada broke it open for good. After Owen Caissie grounded out to third to lead off the inning, Jacob Robson doubled, Edouard Julien walked, Freddie Freeman and Tyler O’Neill singled, Jared Young walked, Otto Lopez singled, Abraham Toro and Bo Naylor walked, and then, finally, Owen Caissie reached on a fielder’s choice as Britain recorded their second out of the inning. Following a Jacob Robson walk, Edouard Julien struck out to end the inning. Twelve runners had come to the plate, six had scored, and now Canada had a 16-8 lead.

Canada tacked on a run apiece in the fifth and sixth innings, allowing the game to end via mercy rule after the top of the seventh. Despite only lasting six and a half innings, it goes down in history as the highest-scoring WBC game with a combined 26 runs scored. More importantly, both squads severely taxed their pitching staffs — Great Britain used seven pitchers, Canada six — which will limit their options in upcoming matchups due to limitations on pitcher usage within the tournament.

Today at the WBC:

Korea vs. China
Time: 6:00 am EDT
Venue: Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan

Dominican Republic vs. Nicaragua
Time: 12:00 pm EDT
Venue: loanDepot Park, Miami, Florida, USA

Colombia vs. Great Britain
Time: 3:00 pm EDT
Venue: Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Israel vs. Puerto Rico
Time: 7:00 pm EDT
Venue: loanDepot Park, Miami, Florida, USA

Canada vs. United States
Time: 10:00 pm EDT
Venue: Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona, USA