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Diamondbacks reporting from the WBC: day 4 and 5

With all the different time zones I have no idea whether it was day 4 or 5 of the tournament, but anyhow: more game were played.

World Baseball Classic Pool A: Italy v Chinese Taipei Photo by Gene Wang/Getty Images

Look back:

Diamondbacks reporting

Dominic Fletcher, Dominic Miroglio (Italy/Reno Aces)

  • Day 4, Italy @ Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) 7-11: Fletcher: 4 AB, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 R.
  • Day 5, Panama @ Italy 2-0: Fletcher: 2 AB, 0 H, 2 BB, 0 R. Miroglio: 2 AB, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 R.

Italy overcame twice a deficit and took a 6-5 lead in the 5th inning, but eventually took a surprising loss against the Chinese Taipei. One of very few Italians on Italy’s roster, Claudio Scotti, was the only pitcher to put up a 0 on the scoreboard for the Azzuri.

Not much to complain about the offence from Italy, especially not Dominic Fletcher. Batting 4th again, Fletcher had a hit and a walk and both times he was brought home by his team mates. Wasn’t enough though.

Within 12 hours Fletcher was back out on the field, this time together with Dominic Miroglio. Italy got blanked by the Panamese pitchers and took a second loss. Save a sac bunt, moving a batter over to 3rd, Miroglio didn’t do much. Fletcher took two walks and was close to coming home in the 9th inning, reaching 3B with no outs, which could have started a terrific comeback story but the Italian offence failed to take advantage of that.

Some good defensive plays by Italy, here is some work from the Snakes:

Will Sherriff (Australia/Rookie leagues)

  • Day 5, China @ Australia 2-12: didn’t play.

No appearance for Will Sherriff in an easy victory of the kangaroos over China. The Aussies ran away early and completed the win in 7 innings with the Chinese becoming victim of the first time the mercy rule was activated at this year’s WBC.

Boris Večerka (Czech Republic/Rookie leagues)

I will just make an honourable mention here about Boris Večerka, the young Czech who signed with the Diamondbacks in December 2022.

Just a few days after the press release announcing Večerka as one of the players on the Czech Republic squad, the Diamondbacks removed the hurler from the WBC for undisclosed reasons. So: no Diamondback on the Czech squad.

Former Diamondbacks reporting

Randall Delgado, Humberto Mejía (Panama)

  • Day 4, Cuba @ Panama 13-4: Delgado: 0.2 IP (30 P - 19 S), 3 H, 1 BB, 0 SO, 3 R.
  • Day 5, Panama @ Italy 2-0: Mejía: 2 IP (27 P - 17 S), 1 H, 1 BB, 1 SO, 0 R.

Panama was another team to blow a lead. Cuba was on their way to a third defeat until they turned around a 4-2 deficit in innings 6 to 8. He couldn’t prevent an inherited runner from scoring in the 6th inning but did get the final out there before running into trouble in the 7th inning and leaving the bases loaded with his next teammate letting them all cross home can be a bitch.

Humberto Mejía took the 5th and 6th inning for Panama against Italy. He started a bit shaky with a walk and a double but after the above mentioned sac bunt from Miroglio got 5 consecutive outs.

Didi Gregorius (The Netherlands)

  • Day 5, Netherlands @ Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) 5-9: 4 AB, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 R, 2 RBI.

Surely The Kingdom of The Netherlands had expected a better result against Taiwan than the blowout loss they suffered. It all started well with a 1-0 lead in the top 1st, but after the starter ran into trouble and replacement reliever Derek West (Astros minors) served up a grandslam the game was pretty much over after the 2nd inning, with Taiwan leading 5-1.

Gregorius knocked in the first run and another came in on a groundout. He had a walk and crossed the plate a bit later, but also grounded into a double play with runners on 1st and 3rd.

This game was actually live available in the MLB Film Room, so if you were able to watch some of it, you will probably have enjoyed the experience because there were basically people dancing and cheering and music for 9 innings long, with the crowd going nuts when Taiwan was hitting. Tomahawk chop to celebrate the victory after 9 innings, really funny. Great to see baseball can be like that.

I will share the grand slam as an example:

No Diamondbacks reporting

Korea @ Japan was a calculated loss for the Koreans, who went down big time 13-4. Korea actually got early to Darvish and took a 3-0 lead, but half an inning later would already trail the Samurai and never got back into the game again. Big offensive game from Ohtani again, who is currently batting .571, but also notable efforts from Nootbaar and Yoshida. The Koreans will look to win their remaining games against China, Australia and Czech Republic and hope Australia defaults. Japan can start to warm up for the next round.

The Czechs took a 4-1 lead into the 7th inning in the game Czech Republic @ China before Michal “Europe’s number 1 prospect” (according to Perfect Game) Kovala got the yips and let 3 guys cross the plate, with another inherited runner coming in later as well. China blew their 5-4 lead in the top 9th, eventually losing 8-5.

No upset at the Czech Republic @ Japan a day later neither. The Europeans took a 1-0 lead in the top 1st, but saw Japan take over in the 3rd inning. Once again the usual suspects Nootbaar, Ohtani and Yoshida propelled Japan to a 10-2 win, but we should mention Kensuke Kondoh’s terrific performance thus far as well: the 30 year old outfielder, a lifetime .302 batter in the NPB, knocked in two and is currently batting .455 in the WBC.