Sunday, September 25, 2016

World Baseball Classic Qualifier: Brazil Eliminated After Costly Base Running Gaffe

World Baseball Classic Qualifier

Brazil              3
Great Britain   4

The looks on the faces of hitting coach Steve Finley and manager Barry Larkin said it all.

Prior to the ninth inning, Brazil had spent their time stranding 11 runners on base, and going just 3 for 14 with runners in scoring position.

After taking a 2-0 lead in the top of the third, Brazil promptly surrendered it, allowing three runs in the bottom of the frame to Great Britain.

In the bottom of the seventh, Brazil allowed a key insurance run, as Kyle Simmons' RBI single put Great Britain ahead by a 4-2 margin.

Brazil picked up a run in the top of the eighth off Britain reliever Chris Reed, setting up what would become a ponderous finish.

With Brazil trailing 4-3 in the ninth, designated hitter Juan Carlos Muniz lined a two out double to center, putting the tying run in scoring position.  After a pitching change by Great Britain, and with Brazil's number six batter first baseman Reinaldo Sato at the plate, Muniz inexplicably took off for third base on an 0-2 pitch to the plate.  He was easily thrown out by Great Britain backstop Chris Berset by a wide margin.

Game over.

Juan Carlos Muniz is 39 years old, born in 1976, which is to say he's no stranger to baseball.  One can only guess as to what he was thinking.  Perhaps Barry Larkin, and coaches Steve Finley and LeTroy Hawkins may prefer not to know.  In any event, this is a devastating way for Barry Larkin's squad to go down.

With a 2-1 record, Great Britain will face Israel (2-0) Sunday evening to decide the final participant in next year's fourth ever World Baseball Classic.

In a very entertaining contest, Israel defeated Great Britain in Thursday's tourney opener by a 5-2 margin.

Thank you for the baseball, Team Brazil


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