It was an exciting day at the men’s world championship. Seven playoff games were played and five teams were eliminated. The home team gave 7800 fans their money’s worth as the record setting crowd went home happy with a huge win and lots of offense. The organizers are hoping the contagious excitement that spurred on Canada will be plenty to bring them back out and break the 8000 mark.
Tomorrow’s big game is a classic matchup between two traditional power houses. Canada and New Zealand have been playing each other in big games at the worlds for years.
Game PR1: Netherlands vs Great Britain 2-3
The first game of the day was a very close affair as both teams knew the loser was going to be the first team to be eliminated. In the top of the 3rd, Netherlands scored the first run of the game on a pair of hits. They doubled their lead in the top of the 6th when Enrique Javier’s two out single scored Eldrick Dijkhoff. The Brits responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning. The tying run and game winner came from Darrin Newson’s at-bat. A pass ball scored the tying run as Kevin Stockford was on with his 3rd straight hit, followed by Newson’s double which scored James Darby for the game winner. They will again get the early game at BVI tomorrow and play Mexico at 10:00am.
Game C1: Japan vs Czech Republic 8-3
In the 1:00 game, Japan dominated the first 4 ½ innings, scoring eight runs on nine hits. The attack was balanced as seven Japanese hitters had at least one hit. Takuro Hiramoto had a two run double in the top of the 4th and Hikaru Matsuda hit a three run homer in the top of the 5th. The Czech’s can consider themselves lucky as the four errors they committed only led to one unearned run.
Czech Republic managed to temporarily stave off elimination as a result of a huge three run homer by Tomas Benda. But they could not get enough going, as the bottom of the 6th ended with Benda flying out on a 3-0 pitch with loaded bases.
Game PR3: Denmark vs Guatemala 1-3
The opening game from Gordie Howe Park saw Guatemala get their second ever win in world championship play as they came from behind to beat Denmark 3-1. They got all the runs they needed in the bottom of the 4th when Luis Folgar hit a three run double. Every run was unearned as they came after Denmark’s 3B, Franklin Fernandez, committed what would have been the 3rd out.
Game C2: Argentina vs Venezuela 1-5
The battle between the championship’s only two South American teams seemed to move so slowly. Pitchers Juan Potlocchio and Erik Urbaneja took their time and went deep into the count. The hitters were that of heavy weight boxers sitting back looking for the knockout blow. Every pitch counted as both teams knew the loser would be knocked out of contention. The first three runs were hard shots. Venezuela’s Jorge Lima pounded a two run blast in the bottom of the 2nd and Juan Malarczuk countered for Argentina in the top of the 3rd with a solo shot.
With one out in the top of the 5th, Argentina landed a little blow as Gustavo Godoy hit a single and in came Venezuela’s big chucker Ramon Jones. He was hit hard by a smack all the way to the fence by Mariano Montero. Godoy was stopped at 3B and Montero got caught up between 2nd and 3rd for the 2nd out. Jones responded by really throwing heat and stranded Godoy.
Venezuela recovered nicely in the bottom of the 5th and began to take it to them. Iran Perez walked and this was followed up by a huge blast by Carlos Ojeda knocking Potlocchio out of the game.
Venezuela had made every shot count as they scored four runs on three hits. In their next at-bat, they finally began to get some little shots in on pitcher Roman Godoy. They followed a walk with two consecutive singles to go up 5-1. Jones closed the deal in the top of the 7th and the Venezuelans officially knocked out Argentina. They will get a rematch of their final round robin game against Dominican Republic.
Game PR4: Philippines vs Mexico 0-7
The game was determined in the bottom of the 2nd when Mexico scored six runs on seven hits. They started the scoring with an Edgar Delgado Lopez home run and then hit six singles, including Eric Ochoa’s two run single. Samuel Vilalvazo pitched five innings of three hit balls and gave way to Jaudiel Oldis to close the game. Mexico now moves on to play Great Britain at 10AM.
Game C3: Australia vs Canada 3-8
It was not the start Canada wanted in front of the biggest crowd ever to see a game in Bob Van Impe Stadium – 7800 people. Starter Sean Cleary opened by giving up two runs on three straight hits. It brought a thought in the back of everyone’s mind – was that enough already? The Canucks were facing Adam Folkard, commonly referred to as the best pitcher in the world, who had given up two earned runs in five games so far.
In the bottom of the 1st, Canada got one run back (unearned) when a Steve Mullaley’s single scored Mathieu Roy, who got on as a result of an error. After a scoreless 2nd, the 3rd inning provided a lot of drama but only one run. In the top of the 2nd, Cleary got two huge strikeouts with a pair of runners in scoring position to get out of trouble. In the bottom of the inning, Mathieu Roy’s bunt single brought up Brad Ezekiel who hit a grounder that Roy thought was going through and was caught in a rundown. Following that, an error to SS put runners at 1st and 3rd allowing Ezekiel to score on a wild pitch to tie the game. Folkard got a couple of big strikeouts of his own to end the threat.
The turning point happened in the bottom of the 5th. Folkard gave up a pair of walks bringing to the plate Jason Hill. He hit Folkard’s second low rise of the at-bat onto the roof of the beer tent for a three run jack and the lead. In the bottom of the 6th, the bats kept going as Mullaley’s two run single chased Folkard from the game and gave Canada and 8-2 lead.
Cleary had a little trouble finishing the game but had enough of a lead to work with and the one run he gave up meant little. Canada advances to play New Zealand at 5:30 and Australia will play Japan at 12:30.
Game C4: New Zealand vs Dominican Republic 8-0
The late game saw the Back Sox jump out to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the 2nd. After two quick outs by Dominican Republic starter Melvin Batsita, the Kiwi’s had five straight runners get on with two walks and three singles – the last of which was a two run hit by Ben Enoka. New Zealand tacked on five more in the top of the 6th, with the benefit of only two hits, to put the game away. Henrik Shannon kept the upstart Dominicans off the board.
New Zealand’s bats and pitching is getting hot at just the right time. They seem ready to take on Canada tomorrow night in what should be a great matchup of the two hottest offenses right now in the championship.