|Stone Garrett - LF||Mookie Betts - RF|
|Ketel Marte - DH||Trea Turner - SS|
|Jake McCarthy - CF||Freddie Freeman - 1B|
|Christian Walker - 1B||Will Smith - C|
|Emmanuel Rivera - 3B||Max Muncy - 3B|
|Carson Kelly - C||Justin Turner - DH|
|Jordan Luplow - RF||Gavin Lux - 2B|
|Sergio Alcantara - 2B||Chris Taylor - LF|
|Geraldo Perdomo - SS||Cody Bellinger - CF|
|Drey Jameson - RHP||Tyler Anderson - LHP|
Great Britain will be taking part in the World Baseball Classic for the first time, after pulling off a dramatic comeback against heavily favored Spain in the WBC qualifying tournament in Germany tonight. The British team trailed by as many as five runs, going 8-3 down in the fourth inning, but clawed their way back, with Jaden Rudd tying the game up in the bottom of the ninth inning, to send it to extras. There, a sacrifice fly proved just enough for Great Britain to edge out a 10-9 victory, and guarantee qualification after going 3-0 in the tournament. Spain still should go through, as they face the Czech Republic for the other spot, having already crushed them 21-7 earlier in the tournament.
But for Britain it’s a great achievement, considering the team could only finish fifth in last year’s European Championships. It’s arguably the best result for the team since 1938, when they become the first World Amateur Champions, by winning the Baseball World Cup. Sadly, they won’t be coming to Phoenix, which will be hosting one of the four qualifying pools next year. It appears Britain will be taking part in Pool A, which will occur over in Taiwan, from March 8-13. As the 23rd-ranked in team the world, they will likely be the severe underdogs there. The other teams in the group are Chinese Taipei, Italy, Cuba and the Netherlands, who all qualified as participants in 2017.
I did almost get to see the Great Britain team play. Qualification for the WBC was originally supposed to take place at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium down in Tucson, and plans were afoot to go down and cheer them on. However, that tournament was scheduled to take place from March 20-25th, 2020 and the world had other plans for sporting events from that point on... :( The tournament was canceled - as was the 2021 WBC as a whole - but from a British baseball point of view, it was probably worth the wait of two and a half years! I’ll certainly be cheering them enthusiastically come March: who knows, maybe they can pull off some more shocks!