World Baseball Classic 2022 Germany Qualifier recaps

Staff report


The Regensburg Qualifier in Germany at Armin-Wolf-Arena is underway, and only two will earn a chance to play in the World Baseball Classic tournament beginning this March.

The six nations in the Pool A Qualifier are Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, France, Great Britain and South Africa.

Friday, Sept. 16
Game 1: Spain 5, South Africa 4

We are in for quite an entertaining World Baseball Classic if the first game of the qualifying round was any sign of what’s to come. The 2023 WBC officially got underway Friday as Spain defeated South Africa, 5-4, at Armin-Wolf-Arena in Regensburg, Germany.

Justin Connell, a 23-year-old outfielder in the Nationals’ system, led Spain’s offense by going 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs. He opened the scoring when he got a fastball from South Africa right-hander Justin Erasmus and ripped it far beyond the left-field wall to lead off the bottom of the fourth. He added an RBI double in the seventh.

South Africa, the lowest-ranked club to take part in the Regensburg Qualifier, erased a 2-0 deficit in the top of the seventh thanks to an RBI groundout from second baseman Victor Ngoepe and a run-scoring single by third baseman Jonathan Phillips. But Spain immediately responded with three runs in the bottom of the frame.

That rally started with a one-out walk from shortstop Noelvi Marte, the No. 18 prospect in MLB, who came around to score the go-ahead run on Jesus Ustariz’s triple. Designated hitter Chris Kwitzer followed with a double to the opposite field, setting the stage for Connell’s third hit of the day.

Former Astros and Blue Jays reliever Rhiner Cruz bent, but he didn’t break in the ninth inning. After allowing a two-run double to Tyler Smith, Cruz notched the save by retiring the next two batters on an infield popout and a strikeout.

Spain will continue its run through the six-team Regensburg Qualifier when it faces the Czech Republic on Saturday at 7 a.m. ET. Meanwhile, South Africa will be competing for its tournament life in the double-elimination tourney on Sunday at 1 p.m. against either Great Britain, France or Germany, depending upon the other results on Friday and Saturday.

Game 2: Great Britain vs. France, 1 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 17
Game 3: Spain vs. Czech Republic, 7 a.m.
Game 4: Winner Game 2 vs. Germany, 1 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 18
Game 5: Loser Game 2 vs. Loser Game 3, 7 a.m.
Game 6: South Africa vs. Loser Game 4, 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 20
Game 7: Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6, 7 a.m.
Game 8: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 1 p.m.

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