Blazing heat and lightning in the sky yesterday and thick smoke in the air today, things are really heating up at the 2015 WBSC Men’s World Championship. The day was full of great games featuring two huge upsets, USA’s Josh Johnson flirting with a no hitter, and two teams getting their first wins of the championship.
Today’s 7 Wonders of the Worlds
- Joshua Harbrow – the New Zealand 3B – had four RBIs in his team’s win over Philippines. He went 3 for 3 with a double and a triple and scored 2 runs.
- James Darby – went 2 for 3 with a homer, two RBIs and scored a run in Great Britain’s 4-0 win over Guatemala.
- Ramon Jones – the Venezuelan ace – threw a two hitter. He recorded 12 strikeouts and allowed only two runners in scoring position.
- Josh Johnson threw a two hit complete game victory for United States. He had a no hitter going into the 6th inning.
- Ruben Delgadillo – the Mexican designated hitter – hit a three run blast that was the pivotal play in their win over Denmark. He ended up 1 for 3 with 3 RBIs and a walk and scored a run.
- Frederik Terkelson – Denmark’s centre fielder – accounted for half of his team’s hits in the game vs. Mexico. He went 3 for 3 and scored a run.
- Pablo Figuereo from the Dominican Republic went 2 for 4 with three RBIs in their huge upset over Australia.
Game 25: Czech Republic vs Argentina 4-2
Hold on everyone who thought Canada would be playing Argentina tomorrow for first place in the pool. The Czech Republic made things much more interesting with what should be greatest upset in Czech men’s softball history. Everything was going as expected coming into the top of the 5th. Argentina had a 2-0 lead thanks to a Bruno Motrini homerun in the bottom of the 2nd and an unearned run scored by Mariano Montero in the bottom of the 4th.
The Czech’s had been held hitless by a pair of pitchers. Juan Potolicchio started and allowed only one runner on an error. He was mysteriously replaced by Huemul Mata who cruised through the 4th, getting three straight outs. Suddenly in the top of the 5th, things changed dramatically. Mata gave up three straight singles to Karel Kadecka, Tomas Klein and Patrik Kopecny to score one. He settled down and got the next two batters out and it looked like he was going to escape big trouble, until Vaclav Svoboda came to the plate and cranked a two run dinger to put Czech Republic up 4-2 and the crowd in shock.
It looked as if Argentina might respond right back in the bottom of the 5th but Czech starter Ondrej Malecek closed the door after a couple of hits. He cruised through the next inning and in the 7th shut down Juan Malarczuk with a runner on 1st to get the win. This victory created a real mess in the pool as it brings New Zealand back into the hunt for a top two spot along with Czech Republic, Argentina and Canada.
Game 27: Great Britain vs Guatemala 4-0
The second game of the day proved to be an interesting matchup. Both teams needed this one to keep alive in the hunt for a playoff spot. After a perfect first inning, Guatemala starter Jorge Segura paid dearly for letting the first two hitters on. Kenny Pregnell’s triple scored Richard Haldane and James Darby to give the Brits the early 2-0 lead. In the next inning, Haldane and Darby were at it again as Haldane’s double scored Great Britain’s third run and Darby hit him in with a single for their 4th. It was a good thing they had all the scoring they needed as they went hitless for the rest of the game.
Guatemala had a hard time with British starter Kyle Linton until the bottom of the 4th when they loaded the bases with two outs. Linton came up big when he needed to and struck out Mario Hernandez swinging to end the threat. In the bottom of the 5th, Haldane went into the circle for Linton and allowed only one runner to get into scoring position. The runner was forced to watch from second as Haldane struck out Luis Orellana to end the game and give the Brits their first official win of the championship.
Game 28: Netherlands vs United States 1-4
With the lights on to help see through the smoke, this game was eerily close right through to the bottom of the 6th inning. Both starters looked great; Netherlands starter Jeffry Visser had given up only two hits and American Josh Johnson was throwing a one-hitter. The narrow margin of difference was Matt Palazzo’s solo homerun in the bottom of the 4th.
However, the game opened up a bit in the bottom of the 6th with USA scoring three runs, the last of which came from a Frank DeGroat single to score Derrick Zechman. In the top of the 7th, Johnson failed to hold onto his shutout as Randy Reiph led off with a double and came in to score after a couple of ground balls. But that was it for Netherlands as Johnson ended with a two hitter and 13 strikeouts.
Game 29: Dominican Republic vs Australia 5-3
The second big upset saw Dominican Republic topple the powerful Aussie Steelers. After a very quiet first couple of innings, the hitters came alive in the third. Dominican Republic exploded for five runs off of Aussie starter Harrison Peters. After the first batter was put out, five straight hitters advanced. Engel Santana started the mess with a triple. After two singles, a walk, and a Pablo Figuero double, Peters was out and Adam Folkard was in.
Folkard gave up a single to Sergio La Hoz to bring in the 5th run and the crowd was in shock. The Dominicans were up five runs on the defending silver medallists. In the bottom of the inning, Australia scored a couple; the last one was thanks to a James Todhunter single. In the bottom of the 5th, Nick Shales scored his second run of the game when he drove a Melvin Batista pitch over the fence to cut the Dominican lead to two runs.
In the bottom of the 6th, things seemed to fall apart for Dominican Republic as Cesar Perez came in to replace Batista and hit the first two batters he faced. He was replaced by Yennier Volquez who got an out, but hit the next batter loading up the bases. After forcing a ground ball right back to him, Voquez threw home for the force and Julian Jemmot was called for interference on his hard slide home ending the inning – the ruling meant the runner closest to home (at 3B) was called out.
Australia was still down two runs going into the 7th. After the Dominicans put up no threat in the top of the 7th, Australia was convinced they were not done yet. A pair of walks to Shaun Gofer and Nick Norton put the tying run on first and the team’s championship RBI leader James Brownlow at the plate. However, the best he could do was a weak fly ball to 2B and the upset was complete. Chaos reigns in Pool B standings with five teams tied with one loss.
Game 30: Denmark vs Mexico 2-6
Mexico blew up a close game in the bottom of the 5th with a big five run inning. In the inning Alex Garcia‘s double brought in Erick Ochoa who had walked. Garcia scored soon after following a pass ball and a dropped 3rd strike. The big blast of the inning came off the bat of Ruben Delgadillo scoring Rene Cardona and Cesar Rodriguez. Mexican starter Jaudiel Oldis held Denmark to two runs on six hits. Samuel Vilalvazo came on in the 7th to get the save. The Terkelson brothers scored both runs for Denmark. Valdemar hit a homerun in the 6th and Frederik got on with a double in the 7th , scoring on a fielder’s choice.
Game 26: Philippines vs New Zealand 2-9
After two big upsets earlier, the fans thought for a minute they might see another one…but just for a minute. When the teams each scored one in the second inning some thought maybe… but by the end of the 3rd, there would not be another upset. In that inning the Kiwi’s scored four runs with two of them off a Josh Harbrow’s double. Harbrow was at it again in the 5th, when his triple brought in Wayne Laulu and then he scored the 9th and final run on a Connor Peden single. New Zealand is still alive in the fight for two lives in the pool. It looks like they will need a Canada win tomorrow and a convincing win over the Czechs to have a shot.
Game 32: Japan vs Venezuela 0-3
The last game of the day had huge significance to the standing in Pool B as it featured two of the four teams with only one loss. Venezuela’s starter Ramon Jones was on his game and full of intensity. The Japanese did not seem to have a chance. Japan always plays great defense but they could not defend the homerun. Luiger Pinto hit a two run shot in the bottom of the 4th and Yeider Chirinos hit a solo shot in the bottom of the 5th to put Venezuela up 3-0. That was more than enough for Jones, who although giving up a couple of hits, he was in total control allowing only two runners in scoring positions.