Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Mexico upsets USA 11-5 in World Baseball Classic

The Mexican national baseball team swept the United States aside in the pools stages of the 2023 World Baseball Classic, with a shock 11-5 victory in Phoenix, Arizona.

The defending champions and third-ranked U.S., boasting nearly US $2.1 billion of talent, were overcome by an aggressive display of batting, spearheaded by two home runs from Joey Meneses Ramírez.

Mexico lost to Colombia in the opening round
Mexico recovered after losing to Colombia in the opening round of the World Baseball Classic.(MLB/Twitter)

The almost 47,500-strong crowd went wild when Culiacán, Sinaloa native Meneses, who only began to play Major League Baseball with the Washington Nationals in August 2022, hammered a second home-run more than 125 meters into the heart of the Mexican-dominated crowd. “I have never played in an atmosphere like that,” said Mexico pitcher Patrick Sandoval, who tightly controlled the U.S. batters throughout the confrontation, limiting them to a single run. “I’m still fired up from it.”

The two teams, who share a long history of sporting rivalry, met on the diamond for the first time in 10 years.

The Mexican team, currently ranked fifth in the world, have their eyes on the top prize — the 2023 championship. “We have the mentality of winning,” Meneses said. “We know there are teams with more stars but we have more want. We want to show everyone there’s a lot of talent in Mexico.”

Despite slipping to a 5-4 defeat against Colombia in the opening round of the tournament, Mexico is now in an excellent position to qualify from their group, which also contains Great Britain and Canada. They sit third in Group C, with an average of .500 across their two games so far.

While Mexico has been energized by their victory, the U.S. team faces a selection headache after coach Mark DeRosa used all 8 pitchers. The pitch limits, which are designed to prioritize player health and reduce injury, mean that the United States must find 27 more outs in the group, without exceeding the 65 pitch-per-player limit.

The Mexican crushing of the U.S. is not the first big shock of the tournament, as Chinese Taipei — the world’s second-ranked side, was eliminated after a 5-way tiebreaker in Group A.

The World Baseball Classic, which is being held in the United States, Japan and Taiwan, is scheduled to move onto the quarter-finals stage on March 15.

With reports from MLB and Excelsior

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