World Baseball Classic Day 5: Cuba, Italy, Japan qualify for quarterfinals. Canada claim record v Great Britain, Mexico beat USA, Israel & Venezuela also win

World Baseball Classic Day 5: Cuba, Italy, Japan qualify for quarterfinals. Canada claim record v Great Britain, Mexico beat USA, Israel & Venezuela also win
Group A ended in a five-way tie. Japan beat Australia to finish first in Group B. Israel made their debut in the tournament with a 3-1 victory over Nicaragua, while Venezuela keep winning momentum with 9-6 win over Puerto Rico in Group D. Mexico beat the United States 11-5 for first win while Canada beat Great Britain with a record score 18-8 in Group C.

Cuba dominated Chinese Taipei, and Italy outscored the Netherlands in the last Group A games. Cuba and Italy prevailed via the tie-breaker formula in an unprecedented five-way tie.
Japan beat Australia to finish undefeated at the top of Group B. Korea beat Czechia to earn their first win in Group A and now look at the Czechs to beat Australia on Monday on the way to a three-way tie in second place.

In Group D, Israel came from behind to take a key 3-1 win over Nicaragua, while Venezuela secured their second win with a 9-6 margin over Puerto Rico. In Group C, Canada topped Great Britain, 18-8, in a seven-inning slugfest, while Mexico redeemed their opening day loss with a stunning 11-5 victory over the United States.

World Baseball Classic Day 5 results

Cuba- Chinese Taipei 7-1BOX SCORE
Italy-Netherlands 7-1BOX SCORE
Korea-Czechia 7-3 BOX SCORE
Japan-Australia7-1BOX SCORE
Great Britain-Canada8-18BOX SCORE
Nicaragua-Israel1-3BOX SCORE
Venezuela-Puerto Rico9-6BOX SCORE


World No. 5 Mexico redeemed their opening day loss to No. 11 Colombia with a stunning 11-5 win over the No. 3 United States on Sunday night in Chase Field in Phoenix.

“It’s a special game because the United States has a lot of superstars. There’s a lot of enthusiasm coming into this game because of the strong rivalry, but our focus was on winning the game, just to play the baseball and not think where our opponents are from," said Mexico manager Benjamin Gil.

Joey Meneses fired up Mexico’s offence with a two-run homer to open the game against the United States. Tim Anderson responded for the United States with a single for Kyle Tucker to cross the home plate.

Meneses hit two home runs and drove in five, while Randy Arozarena logged two hits in Mexico's win. Tim Anderson drove three runs in a losing effort for Team USA.

Mexico continued to score runs, while the hosts were held scoreless in the next two frames. Isaac Paredes singled a ground ball while Meneses scored in the third. Then Randy Arozarena started the surge in the fourth with a double to score Alek Thomas, followed by a smashing three-run homer by the unstoppable Meneses that mounted Mexico’s 7-1 advantage.

The United States waited three innings to score their next run with Will Smith reducing the deficit as he drove JoJo Romero’s pitch for a solo home run to left field.

Arozarena’s restored Mexico’s six-run advantage as Austin Barnes plated off his double, before Rowdy Tellez singled to guide Arozarena and Jarren Duran to home plate to build a bigger lead. Alan Trejo lined a sharp single for Tellez to complete the play and close the scoring in top of the eighth at 11-2.

The hosts tried to stay in the ball game and scored three runs off a pair of doubles by Bobby Witt Jr. and Tim Anderson in the bottom of the eighth. Although they contained the Mexican offence in the last inning, they were also held scoreless by Gerardo Reyes, securing Mexico’s first victory in Group C.

“We expected to win today, but had to make individual adjustments. Yesterday we tried to assemble the strongest line-up and that remained the same against the United States today. We were firm in utilizing our best players,” Gil said.

World No. 14 Canada made an offensive statement in their first game of the tournament, scoring 18 runs on 17 hits to defeat No. 22 Great Britain, 18-8, in seven innings. Both teams set a new tournament record with 26 runs scored in a single game. 

Great Britain had a strong start with three runs in the top of the first. However, Canada’s second baseman Edouard Julien sent the first pitch he saw over the right field fence, to lead a five-run rally in the bottom of the first to take the lead.

Canada scored in their six at bats, including two more big innings in the third (4) and sixth (6). Tyler O’Neil had a perfect day at the plate, going 4-for-4 with four RBIs and four runs, while Jared Young and Owen Caissie contributed with three RBIs each.

“I don’t know how to describe this game... I don’t know. It’s a lot of offense right there... A little bit sloppiness on their side, but we hit the ball extremelly well, which was nice to see,” said Canada’s manager Ernie Witt

For the British team, Harry Ford homered in the third with two runners on. 


World No. 6 Venezuela kept their momentum going and took the driver's seat in Group D after a 9-6 win over No. 13 Puerto Rico who dropped to a 1-1 record.

MLB All-Star and five-time Gold Glove Award winner Salvador Perez recorded the first run for Venezuela with a one-run single that scored Jose Altuve and placed Ronald Acuna Jr. to third. Acuna and Perez were immediately driven in for the second and third runs from a homer to right centre field by Anthony Santander, who had also hit a homer against the Dominican Republic on Saturday.

“Puerto Rico’s bullpen have very important arms, just like with the Dominican Republic. If you do not want to face those, then you have to capitalise on their mistakes from the beginning,” Venezuela manager Omar Lope said. “We worked on a plan and shared it with our hitters. We wanted them to focus on that in order to take advantage of those type of situations.”

Perez widened the lead of Venezuela when he smashed a three-run home run to push things to 7-0 in the top of second. Puerto Rico managed to get one run in the bottom of the second off Eddie Rosario’s solo homer but Venezuela responded with two more runs devised by David Peralta’s single that scored Perez in the fourth and Perez’s double that scored Acuna Jr in the fifth.

Puerto Rico inched their way back into the game by logging four runs in the bottom of the sixth. Vimael Machin and Francisco Lindor completed the first two runs off singles by Enrique Hernandez and Emmanuel Rivera, and the next two by Hernandez and MJ Melandez on a ground out and sacrifice fly, respectively. They kept their momentum going in the eighth inning when Melendez doubled to the right to cross a run.

The final inning was left in the hands of Silvino Bracho who put away the game away for good in favour of Venezuela at 9-6.

Perez had a spectacular game for Venezuela as he went 4-for-4 with five RBI. Santander added in a three-run home run in their second victory.

Israel scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to rally past Nicaragua, 3-1, in the European nation’s debut in the World Baseball Classic. The clutch hit came off the bat of Garrett Stubbs, who hit a two-RBI double off Jonathan Loaisiga - arguably Nicaragua's best pitcher- to give Israel a definitive two-run lead.

For Israel, Dan Kremer pitched four scoreless innings with four Ks. “Very clean four innings, the pitched the ball really well,” said Israel manager Ian Kinsler. “His off-speed stuff looked sharp and easy, and very much in control. A very good outing for him.”

In the top of the fifth, Nicaragua jumped ahead with a two-out RBI double by Steven Leyton into the left center field gap, to plate Sandy Bermudez from second base. Leyton was thrown out in the same play trying to turn his double into a triple to end the inning.

Nicaragua’s Carlos Teller entered the game in a bases-loaded, one out situation in the bottom of the sixth, and escaped the jam with only one pitch, forcing Olympian slugger Danny Valencia to ground into a double play as a pinch hitter.

However, Israel mounted a late-inning comeback in the eighth frame against Loaisiga to grab their first win in Group D. With runners on first and second, Spencer Horwitz tied the game with a single to left field; and one out later Stubbs plated the last two runs of the game with a ground rule double. 

“I don’t know what happened there,” recognised Kinsler, a Tokyo 2020 Olympian for Israel. “Obviously their best pitcher, one of the best pitchers in the big leagues, we put on some good at bats, we kept fighting, and that’s what I expect from my team. Playing out 27 outs and fight till the end.”

Loaisiga was charged with the loss, giving up three runs on three hits, in one inning pitched. Before him, four pitchers combined to silent Israel’s lineup for seven innings.

“Six outs for the victory, with the best man in the team, the best reliever of the New York Yankees... In baseball these things happen,” said Sandor Guido, Nicaragua’s skipper. “We cannot regret of anything, we played a perfect game, the one we had planned, The things were going well, our best man came and he couldn’t finish the job.” 

For Israel, Josh Wolf allowed Nicaragua’s only run of the game in the fifth, while Zack Weiss, Richard Bleier, and Robert Stock blanked Nicaragua in the last four frames. Bleier earned the win.


World No. 16 Italy used a six-run fourth and solid pitching to beat No. 7 the Netherlands and advance to the quarterfinals.

Trailing 1-0 on a home run by Chadwick Tromp, Italy scored all the runs they needed in the bottom of the fourth. Right fielder Dominic Fletcher hit a leadoff double against Mike Boelsenbroek, and shortstop Nicky Lopez capped a six-run at bat with a two-RBI triple off Eric Mendez.

Former MLB All-Star Matt Harvey gave Italy four solid innings, but the pitcher of the day was reliever Joe LaSorsa. In the top of the sixth, the minor leaguer inherited the bases loaded and no outs from Andre Pallante and retired in order major leaguers Did Gregorius (pop-out), Jonathan Schoop and Roger Bernadina (on strikes). After getting out of the jam, LaSorsa showcased what Matt Monagan of described as "one of the most animated celebrations in recent baseball history."

Vinni Nittoli, Matt Festa and Mitchell Stumpo got the final nine outs.

"We needed a game like this," said manager Mike Piazza. "Joe LaSorsa's celebration is the moment we will most remember in this tournament. I want the guys to enjoy this moment. We will face [World No. 1] Japan in Tokyo, which will be hard. We will get some good rest and will be ready for that."

"I can't wait to play in Tokyo," added Nicky Lopez. "Playing in the Tokyo Dome in an Italy uniform will be an honour."

World No. 8 Cuba dominated No. 2 Chinese Taipei, 7-1. Cuba prevailed in the final five-way tie and qualified to the quarterfinals as Group A first place finisher.

Cuba set the tone scoring four in the bottom of the first against starter Shih-Peng Chen. Alfredo Despaigne and Yoan Moncada doubled, and Erisbel Arruebarruena homered to give Cuba a clear lead.

"We did things well, and that gave us success," commented veteran slugger Alfredo Despaigne.

It was all the run support a solid pitching staff needed. Four pitchers limited Chinese Taipei to two hits over eight innings. Right-hander Elian Leyva started with 2.1 scoreless innings and earned the win. In the ninth, Chinese Taipei scored their only run on two hits against Raidel Martinez.

"[Our pitchers] have shown in each inning that they are excellent," manager Armando Johnson said. "We have a bullpen of very high quality that can resolve any sort of problems that we may face, and they have been preparing for anything thrown at them."

GROUP A FINAL STANDINGS: Cuba, Italy, Netherlands, Panama, Chinese Taipei (2 wins-2 losses)

Cuba and Italy advanced to the quarterfinals.
Cuba will face Group B's second-place finisher on Wednesday, 15 March, while Italy will play Japan the following day. The Tokyo Dome will host both games.


World No. 1 Japan beat No. 10 Australia, 7-1, and advanced to the quarterfinals undefeated.

Shohei Ohtani gave Japan an early lead as he hit a three-run homer off starter Will Sheriff in the top of the first, sending 41,664 Tokyo Dome fans into delirium.

It was all Samurai Japan needed. Tokyo 2020 gold medallists and WBSC Premier12 winner Yoshinobu Yamamoto struck out eight in four one-hit innings, and four more pitchers limited Australia to four hits. The final one was a solo homer by Alex Hall in the ninth.

Australia will play Czechia on Monday, 13 March, and will advance to the quarterfinals with a win.

Korea used a five-run first at bat to defeat Czechia, 7-3, and earn their first win in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.

Kun-Woo Park hit a leadoff double off starter Lucas Ercoli and reached third on an error. With one out, Jung-Hoo Lee bunted him home for the lead. Three more singles and two walks extended Korea's lead to 5-0.

Ha-Seong Kim added two solo homers, one in the bottom of the second off Ercoli and another in the bottom of the sixth off reliever Jeff Barto.

Korea's starter Se-Woon Park pitched 4.2 scoreless innings, striking out eight, and earned the win.

Czechia went on the scoreboard against reliever Been Gwak in the seventh. Right-fielder Matej Mensik batted in two of their three runs.

"Tomorrow, it's going to be an elimination game against Australia," said Czech manager Pavel Chadim. "They are No. 10 in the rankings and will be tough to beat. But we have no alternative. Either we win or go home."

GROUP B STANDINGS: Japan (4 wins-0 losses); Australia (2-1); Czechia, Korea (1-2); China (0-3)