Britain Conquers France
France opened their first World Baseball Classic qualifier appearance strong. In the bottom of 2nd catcher Ivan Acuna put the first digits on the board with a solo shot deep to right.
Mariner’s prospect, 19-year old Harry Ford answered back for Great Britain with a 2-run homer in the top of the 3rd to put GBR ahead 2-1 after teammate Anfernee Seymour reached on a throwing error by France’s corner man Ariel Soriano, a call upheld following a challenge from his coach.
In the top of the fourth, after walking them full, France gave up a third run on a double-play ball. A pitching change did little to help the French team recover. The very next batter, Anfernee Seymour, singled to drive in D’Shawn Knowles who had been walked aboard.
Down 5-1 in the bottom of 5th Ariel Soriano singled on a grounder to left. As Leo Jiminian, who had reached on a walk and advanced to second on another walk, rounded 3rd with plenty of time to head home, he fell midway between the bag and home, then scrambled back to the bag before realizing that an error on the throw from left gave him time to head back toward the plate. He crossed safely to bring France within 3 with runners on 2nd and 3rd, 1 out and plenty of game left. France would score another in the bottom of the inning to come within 2.
That would be the closest they got for the remainder of the game. Great Britain pulled ahead by another run in the 6th and 4 more to start the 7th. France added a run in the bottom of the inning on a sacrifice fly but it did little to aid their comeback attempt.
Still, the Frenchmen kept it exciting. There was a highlight-worthy end to the top of the 7th by France’s 2B Alfredo Angarita. He made a diving grab at a line drive, and a lob to the bag for the double play and sides change.
Speaking of changes, France had so many pitchers that, by their first change in the 8th, more than three hours into the game, a few of the 900 fans on-hand were booing the move. A rare outburst from a German crowd indeed. In total the French had more pitchers than innings with ten. To their credit, they planned ahead giving 15 roster spots to the pen. It wasn’t just France testing their rotation. Great Britain made six changes of their own throughout the night.
GBR advances to next round and plays Germany in their first appearance of the tournament tomorrow night. France will play the loser of the afternoon game tomorrow when the Czech Republic and Spain face one another.