The 2017 edition of the World Baseball Classic rolls on and the United States is still alive. If you were able to stay up late on Saturday, you had the chance to witness a classic. The United States and Dominican Republic played an elimination game with a playoff-type atmosphere.
After leaving the tying run stranded on third in a loss to Puerto Rico two nights earlier, it was hard to remain confident in the U.S.’s chances. A loss would further reduce the enthusiasm towards the tournament. The Dominican Republic, defending champion with the stacked lineup, stood in the way of the States advancement.
Not the start the U.S. needed
It was an ominous start for Danny Duffy and the American team. The Dominicans scored two first inning runs and allowed their raucous crowd to dominate Petco Park. After throwing four scoreless innings against Canada, Duffy labored to get through the first inning against the Dominican team. Returning to the mound for the second inning, Duffy quickly allowed base runners to reach second and third with no outs. Working a miracle to get out of the inning untouched, Duffy flipped the momentum toward the U.S.
The United States rallied to tie the score in the third inning. Miami Marlin, Christian Yelich remained a hot bat in the classic, driving in the tying runs. Heading to the fourth inning, we were about to see some memorable baseball moments.
A classic blast from Stanton
Giancarlo Stanton normally leads the league in exit velocity. He’ll pepper the leader boards with the majority of top ten numbers. He definitely didn’t disappoint with the mammoth blast hit in San Diego. Stanton crushed a two run shot that almost brought down the buildings over the left field wall.
Adam Jones is the 2017 Captain America
With the Americans clinging to a two run lead in the seventh inning, Manny Machado tattooed a pitch from Tyler Clippard to dead center and almost a certain home run. But Adam Jones had other ideas, reaching six feet over the wall to steal the homer and send the crowd into a frenzy. Jones has continued to be the U.S.’s hottest player and emotional leader. His reaction from the play was priceless.
The U.S. added on two runs in the eighth inning on an Andrew McCutchen double. Eric Hosmer raced around from first to score without a throw with the best base running you will see on any stage. Former Cardinal, Luke Gregorson, came on in the ninth to shut down the Dominicans and send the U.S. to the semifinals to face unbeaten Japan.
Baseball at its March best
I’m a forty year old, lifelong baseball fan. I can honestly stay that the Stanton home run was the hardest ball I’ve seen hit, while the Jones catch was a top five moment for me. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the tournament doesn’t come without its flaws. But it’s definitely a widely entertaining watch and makes you wonder why the powers that be feel the need to change anything about our great game.
The United States’ run may well be finished by the Japanese team tonight. They’ll be another heavy roadblock on the way to a championship.
Prediction: The United States will advance to face an old friend from St.Louis.
That could make for a great post on Friday.
Thank you for reading,