Canada and Cuba close Day 4 of the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup 2017 with wins against Italy and Mexico. Cuba clinch a spot in the super round out of group B, while Canada stays in the race in group A.
Canada beat Italy(6-5) coming from behind at the end of a 4 hour drama.
Despite allowing 4 walks and putting runners in scoring position, Italian starter Dall'Agnese escapes both first and second Canada at bat. To end the first he strikes out designated hitter Stovman with runners at first and second and to get out of the second he gets shortstop Willow, both swinging and both after working the count full.
Italy gets on the scoreboard with the first hit of the game. In the bottom of the second with one out, first baseman Seminati takes Canada starter Abram deep over the left field fence for a solo homer.
Dall'Agnese gets into trouble also in the third and he leaves with the bases loaded (3 more walks) and one out. Left hander Oscar Tucci takes the mound and gets started striking out shortstop Bremner. Right fielder Clarke gets to Tucci with a hard grounder in the hole to left for the first hit of the hosts. First baseman Brookman scores, but third baseman Monti works on the rely from the outfield and manifactures a perfect throw home. Catcher Bertossi tags Stovman for the first out.
Italy takes the lead again in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Bertossi reaches on an error by Bremner. Second baseman Paolini follows with a line drive along the right field foul line that is called a ground rule double. Canada intentionally walk Seminati, but center fielder Flisi gets to the fourth pitch by Bremner for a 2 RBI single that scores both Bertossi and Paolini.
Canada make it a one run game. Tucci hits Brookman and Stovman back to back. On a comebacker by catcher Cerny, he loses a chance of a double play delaying the throw to second. He gets the force out, but a hard slide by Stovman into second gives Brookman the chance to score from second. Cerny is the second out caught stealing and Paolini closes the inning with a spectacular diving catch on a pop by pinch hitter Parente.
With 2 outs in the bottom of the frame Italy extend their lead. Canada need to make a call to the bull pen as shortstop Angioi walks and Bertossi singles. An error in the outfield puts runners at second and third. Left hander Gollert takes the mound to face Paolini. The second baseman works the count full and then drives a fastball off the center field wall for a 2 RBI double.
Canada don't give up and the game is hard fought. In the sixth Clarke scores another run for the hosts on a double by Willow.
In the top of the eighth Canada ties the game. With Parente (drag bunt, passed ball) at second and Clarke (walk) at first and 2 outs, Willow goes down by 2 strikes in the count and then makes the Port Arthur stadium literally explode when he drives the third pitch deep to center. Flisi can't run the ball down just by inches and Willow turns it into a 2 RBI triple.
Tucci is done for the day after he hits Stovman to open the ninth. Italy sends Paolini to the mound, while designated hitter Giarola becomes the new second baseman. Canada pinch runs for Stovman with Keyes and then bunt him over to second. Paolini walks the bases loaded. On a full count, left fielder Lebreux Beauchenin pops to shallow left field, deep enough for a sacrifice fly and an RBI that gives Canada the first lead of the night.
With 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth, Bertossi keeps Italy alive with a base hit. But Wesley Moore gets Paolini to fly out to left and wins it for Canada.
Cuba make it to the super round as they defeat (5-1) Mexico
Cuba take a strong lead in the first capitalizing on 4 walks by starter Jorge Sosa and taking advantage of 2 wild pitches by reliever Martin Rodriguez. In total, they score 4 runs without getting a hit.
Rodriguez then throws 5 scoreless innings to keep Mexico in the game.Mexico score one run in the fourth against Cuba starter Yorlian Rodriguez. First baseman Favela leads off with a double and scores on 2 consecutive ground outs.
Cuba strikes right back in the seventh, when second baseman makes the most out of a defensive error with an RBI single.
Rafael Sanchez pitches 2 perfect innings in relief to end the game.