Panama and Nicaragua qualify for World Baseball Classic 2023

Panama and Nicaragua qualify for World Baseball Classic 2023
They both beat Brazil at the end of the six-team double-elimination tournament at Rod Carew Stadium in Panama City. Canada's Lisa Turbitt became the first woman to umpire a World Baseball Classic game.

Panama and Nicaragua completed the list of participants to the 2023 World Baseball Classic after finishing first and second in the qualification tournament played at Rod Carew Stadium in Panama City, which featured a double-elimination format.

Panama beat Brazil, 4-0, in the final game of the winners' bracket and became the 19th participant in the World Baseball Classic.

After three scoreless innings, Panama's center fielder José Ramos, a 21-year-old who hit 19 home runs for the Los Angeles Dodgers at the Class A Advanced level, got to Brazil's starter André Rienzo with a runner on, two outs and a 3-2 count in the bottom of the fourth. His two-run homer put Panama on the scoreboard.

Former Major Leaguer Ariel Jurado earned the win for Panama, going 5.1 innings and allowing only one hit and striking out six. Four relievers took the mound to collect the final 11 outs. Brazil had only two hits, including a double by third baseman Leonardo Reginatto.

Brazil had another chance against the team emerging from the losers' bracket. Nicaragua won the rubber match of the qualifier, 3-1, and earned the last spot in the main tournament. It's the first-ever participation in the main tournament for Nicaragua.

Nicaragua didn't waste any time against Brazilian starter Heitor Tokar, a 21-year-old right-hander who started 11 games at the Class A Advanced level for the Houston Astros in the 2022 season.

Second baseman Elmer Reyes grounded out to send home the first run, and 35-year-old veteran outfielder Dwight Britton hit an RBI double.

Nicaragua wouldn't need to look back. Osman Gutierrez, a 27-year-old right-handed starter in the independent Frontier League, earned the win by going six innings and allowing only one unearned run.

Veteran Joaquin Acuna got the final five outs and earned the save.

All the results:

  • Brazil-New Zealand 12-7
  • Argentina-Pakistan 7-4
  • Brazil-Nicaragua 4-1
  • Panama-Argentina 11-0
  • Nicaragua-Pakistan 12-0
  • Argentina-New Zealand 4-1
  • Nicaragua-Argentina 6-5
  • Panama-Brazil 4-0
  • Nicaragua-Brazil 3-1

Great Britain and Czechia qualified earlier in September out of the Regensburg, Germany, tournament,

The fifth World Baseball Classic is scheduled for March 2023.

Panama's Qualifier reached a historic milestone. Canada's Lisa Turbitt became the first woman to umpire in the World Baseball Classic as she called behind home plate the opening game of the tournament between Argentina and Pakistan.