Grand Slam * Stats & News
Updated: March 10, 2017
Scores & Statistics
Baseball Scores & Stats
Softball Women Scores & Stats
Copyright © 1997-2017
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
International Baseball
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2017 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Henk Seppen)

Italy wins WBC-opener on walk-off single; Dominicans win big

ZAPOPAN, Jalisco (México) / MIAMI, Florida (USA) - Italy played its first game of the World Baseball Classic on Thursday-evening (March 9) against México, the host of Pool D. The Italian squad staged a stunning comeback, rallied for five runs in the bottom of the ninth inning and won 10-9.

In Miami, Pool C went underway. There, reigning WBC-Champion, as well as reigning World Champion, Dominican Republic won big against Canada with a 9-2 score.

With this, on Thursday, there were games played in all four Pools of the World Baseball Classic. Like four years ago, the global event also has the status of World Champinship.

On Thursday, Pool A in Seoul (South Korea) ended with Israel not only becoming the surprise pool-winner, but staying unbeaten, winning all three games its played. The Israeli squad, which makes its WBC-debut, closed Pool A on Thursday with a 4-2 win against the Netherlands Kingdom Team. Israel and the Netherlands both advanced to the Second Round, which will open coming Sunday in Tokyo (Japan).

In Pool B, which also is played in Tokyo, host-country Japan finished in first place. Pool B ends on Friday.

(March 9)

Complete Schedule

Related Articles:
Netherlands empty-handed vs. Israel; finishes 2nd in Pool. (March 9)
Orange in 2nd Round WBC after walk-off win; Israel also in. (March 8)
Netherlands opens WBC with shutout vs. South Korea. (March 7)
Israel upsets South Korea in WBC-opener with 10-inning win. (March 6)
Netherlands Team closes WBC-preparations with loss. (March 5)
Netherlands Team wins big in Korean exhibition game. (March 3)
Netherlands closes exhibition series in Arizona with loss. (February 25)
First game Netherlands vs. Twins ends in tie. (February 24)
Netherlands Team wins big in exhibition game vs. Geckos. (February 23)
Exhibition losses Netherlands Team in Arizona. (February 20)

Italy vs. México
Pool D is played at the Estadio de Béisbol Charros de Jalisco in the city of Zapopan, which is part of the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, located in the Mexican state of Jalisco. The stadium is the home of Charros de Jalisco of the Mexican Pacific League, which has a Triple-A Minor League-designation.

...Dutch umpire Winfried Berkvens...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
The stadium, which also is used for athletics, was built for the Pan American Games in 2011. During the event, it hosted all athletics competitions. Thereafter, it was used as a concert venue and also was turned into a basebal-stadium.

In this Pool, Dutch umpire Winfried Berkvens is one of the international umpires. In today's game, he was at third base in a crew that included American Major League-umpires Dan Bellino and Doug Eddings. The fourth crewmember was Santos Castillo (Dominican Republic). Bellino was behind the plate, Eddings at first base and Castillo at second base. The fifth and sixth members in the 'México-crew' are Michael Ulloa from Spain and MLB-Umpire Quinn Wolcott. Bellino and Ulloa also officiated in the WBC four years ago. Bellino is a Major League Umpire since 2011 Eddings is a Major League-veteran and joined the MLB-staff in 1999 and Wolcott joined in 2014.

In the Italy vs. México game, six homeruns were hit. Four of them were hit by Italian players, accounting for five runs. The two Mexican homeruns were solos.

In the top of the first inning, Esteban Quiroz led off the game with a homerun to give México a quick lead off of starter Alex Maestri, who pitched professionally in the Minor Leagues in 2006-2010. However, in the bottom of the first inning, with one out, John Andreoli (Triple-A, Chicago Cubs) homered for Italy off of starter Yovani Gallardo, who last season was 6-8 in 23 starts for the Baltimore Orioles.

México re-took the lead by scoring a run in the third, then added two more in the fourth, one of them on a homerun by Japhet Amador. Trailing 4-1, Italy struck in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Daniel Descalso (Major League, Arizona Diamondbacks) singled, then Rob Segedin (Major League, Los Angeles Dodgers) followed with a homerun. With two outs, Chris Colabello also homered to make it 4-4 tie. Last year, Colabello played in 10 Major League-games for the Toronto Blue Jays for whom he played in 110 games during the 2015 season.

...Chris Colabello won the European title...
...with Italy at the European Championship...
...2012 in the Netherlands...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
México answered with three runs of its own in the top of the fifth off of new pitcher Pat Venditte, who throws both lefthanded and righthanded, which he also did in this inning, depending on the side the hitters batted from. Venditte started the inning lefthanded, but hit lead-off hitter Esteban Quiroz, then gave up a single to Alex Verdugo. Venditte then turned righthanded and struckout Brandon Laird (Major League 2011-2013), then thew lefthanded to Major League-veteran Adrián González, who flied out. González plays in the Majors since 2004 and since 2012 for the Los Angeles Dodgers. As a righthander, he gave up a 2-out single to Japhet Amador which loaded the bases. Venditte put his glove on his other hand again to face next batter Efren Navarro (Major League 2011-2015), but he walked him and that gave México a 5-4 lead. With the bases still loaded and now throwing righthanded again, Venditte gave up a 2-run double to Luis Alfonso Cruz (Major League 2008-2013) that lifted the Mexican lead to 7-4. Venditte then closed the inning lefthanded and got a flyout from Sebastian Elizalde (Double-A, Cincinnati Reds). Last year, Venditte appeared in eight Major League-games for the Toronto Blue Jays, who then traded him in August to the Seattle Mariners, where he pitched in seven more games.

In the bottom of the fifth, Italy got one run back when Drew Butera led off with a homerun. Since 2010, Butera plays in the Major League. During the 2015 season, he was traded to the Kansas City Royals with whom he won the World Series that year. Butera is the son of former Major Leaguer Sal Butera.

In the top of the seventh, México got the bases loaded with two outs, then Sebastian Elizalde delivered a 2-run single that made it a 9-5 score.

In the top of the ninth inning, Jordan Romero (Triple-A, Toronto Blue Jays) took over the Italian pitching from reliever Tommy Layne and retired the side, including two strikeouts. Last year, Layne pitched in 63 Major League-games for the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.

With a 9-5 lead in the bottom of the ninth inning, México appeared to have a comfortable lead. However, Italy staged a stunning comeback and rallied for five runs with no outs to win 10-9! And that's what makes baseball (and softball) such a beatiful and attractive sport! Anything can happen at any moment. Like the legendary Yogi Berra always stated: ,,It ain't over 'till it's over''. No game is over before the final out is recorded! That was underscored again today by Italy.

Roberto Osuna (Major League, Toronto Blue Jays) took the mound for México in the bottom of the ninth. He took over from Sergio Romo, the wellknown closer of the San Francisco Giants, who recently signed a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Osuna gave up three consecutive doubles. First, a lead-off double to Francisco Cervelli (Major League, Pittsburgh Pirates), who was then replaced by pinch-runner Sebastian Poma, the son of wellknown former Italian National Team-player Gianguido Poma. Cervelli plays in the Majors since 2008. Hereafter, Chris Colabello doubled, then Alex Liddi delivered a 2-run double that narrowed the deficit to 9-7. Liddi played in the Majors in 2011-2013 (Seattle Mariners) and last year, he played in México. The bases then got loaded when Drew Butera reached on an error and Drew Maggi walked. That all led to a pitching change, as Óliver Pérez was brought in to take over from Osuna. The 35-year old lefthanded Pérez plays in the Majors since 2002. Last year, he threw in 64 games for Washington Nationals. Pérez was greeted with a runscoring single by Brandon Nimmo, who last year made his Major Legue-debut playing for New York Mets. With the bases still loaded, John Andreoli singled through the middle. That brought in Butera to score the tying run, but Maggi also was waved home and scored the winning run sliding head-first across home plate. And that ended a very excited game!

Dominican Republic vs. Canada
At Marlins Park, the home stadium of Major League-club Miami Marlins, reigning champion Dominican Republic won 9-2 against Canada in the opening game in Pool C. In Pools A, B and D, the opening game was played by the country that hosted the Pool, being South Korea, Japan and México. The USA is the host of Pool C, but plays its first game on Friday.

...José Bautista was 3-for-4 with a homerun..
...He scored once and had 4 RBI's...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
The Dominican Republic participates with a starstudded team with a roster full of Major League-veterans, including players such as Robinson Cano (the MVP of the 2013 WBC), José Bautista and Adrian Beltre. Four years ago, the Dominicans won the Final of the third World Baseball Classic in San Francisco (USA). With that, the Dominican Republic also officially became the new World Champion, succeeding the Netherlands, which has captured the title in 2011 in Panama during the final World Championship old-style.

The Dominicans rallied for four runs in the bottom of the second inning. Nelson Cruz (Major League, Seattle Mariners) led off with a double, then scored on an one-out single by Gregory Polanco (Major League, Pittsburgh Pirates), followed by a 2-run homerun by Welington Castillo (Major League, Arizona Diamondbacks). Later in the at bat, the fourth run was scored on a single by José Bautista (Major League, Toronto Blue Jays), who was 3-for-4 and batted in four runs.

Canada scored its first run in the third inning on a balk, then added a run in the fifth on a double by Dalton Pompey (Major League, Toronto Blue Jays).

In the bottom of the fifth, José Bautista led off with a single for the Dominicans. He then was eliminated at the plate trying to score on a double by next batter Carlos Santana (Major League, Cleveland Indians), who later scored on a single by veteran Adrian Beltre (Major League, Texas Rangers), who plays in the Majors since 1998.

In the sixth, the Dominicans lifted the lead to 8-2 when Bautista hit a 3-run homerun. Another run was added in the seventh on an error to make it a 9-2 score.

The Dominican Republic collected 15 basehits, including three by Bautista and José Reyes (Major League, New York Mets).

Thank you for visiting this site.
Mail your suggestions and questions to
Copyright © 1997-2017 Marco Stoovelaar / Grand Slam * Stats & News.