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U.S. wins its first WBC championship

Matt Polek, Staff Writer

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The World Baseball Classic is an international baseball tournament that began in 2006. It was held again in 2009, and then continued to happen every 4 years after that. This was the first tournament that allowed current MLB players to participate, as it is held in March, before the MLB season begins.

As many would imagine, the USA, Japan, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico are baseball countries, and they have good players, the only problem is getting some of those talents to want to participate.

March is when the MLB players are getting ready for the regular season, and many of them want to get ready for the season, instead of risking injury in a tournament for their country. This was a problem in all countries with MLB players, but especially the US.

In the inaugural tournament of 2006 Japan beat Cuba in the finals, then in 2009 Japan defeated South Korea in the championship. The United States was always expected to go far, but always came up short.

In 2009 the Dominican Republic defeated Puerto Rico to take the title from 2-time champs Japan. The Americans once again saw a 2nd round exit and after that loss, many American players were upset. Some players came out and said right away they would participate in 2017, and the USA was finally going to get the turnout that these other countries were getting.

The 2017 WBC was probably the most entertaining tournament throughout its history. According to CBSSports, setting records for attendance, having over 1 million fans go to a game, a 23% increase from the 2013 record, this event really brought countries together.

Heading into the event, Japan, the Dominican Republic, and the US were heavy favorites. Many people also thought Puerto Rico would make a good run. This year there were many MLB stars who decided to represent the USA, including Nolan Arenado of the Rockies, Marcus Stroman of the Blue Jays, Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins, Buster Posey of the Giants, and Daniel Murphy of the Nationals. They were on a mission to bring the United States their first WBC title.

In the first round of the 2017 tournament there was many surprises. In pool A Israel went a perfect 3-0 to advance, while the Kingdom of the Netherlands went 2-1 to advance. Pool B saw Japan and Cuba advance, out of pool C came the Dominican Republic and the United States, and lastly in pool D, Venezuela and a 3-0 Puerto Rico team moved on.

Round 2 saw the Japanese go 3-0 to advance to the semi finals, with the Netherlands going too from pool E. From pool F the US and a still perfect Puerto Rican team moved on.

The first semi final game was a matchup between the Netherlands and Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico won by one run, remaining perfect heading into the championship. The second semi final saw 2 time champion Japan take on the red hot USA team who was determined to get to their first ever WBC title game.

The United States and Japan played on a rainy night in Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The US sent Tanner Roark to the mound in hopes that he can lead his country to the title game. This game was all about the pitching as it was a 1-1 game heading into the top of the 8th inning, with USA coming to bat. With men on 2nd and 3rd, Adam Jones came to bat for the Americans, and he delivered. He hit a weak ground ball to 3rd and the fielder bobbled it, threw to first to get the out but meanwhile Brandon Crawford came across to score the eventual winning run, to send the USA to their first ever WBC title game.

The stage was set. March 22nd at Dodger Stadium. Puerto Rico vs the United States for the 2017 WBC title. Jim Leyland sent Marcus Stroman to the hill for the big game, and he did not disappoint.

The Puerto Ricans came in at 7-0 and wanted to spoil the USA’s championship hopes. Unfortunately for them, Marcus Stroman had other ideas. Stroman came out with a stellar performance. For the first 6 innings, he hadn’t allowed a hit. The first batter in the 7th broke up the no hitter, but in a 7-0 game, the Puerto Ricans just were deflated.

Stroman left to a thunderous ovation from the crowd in Dodger Stadium and he handed the game over to his bullpen. They picked up where he left off, holding them to just 2 more hits and shutting them out for all nine innings. When it was all said and done, the USA was celebrating an 8-0 victory, and their first WBC title.

Stroman was named the MVP of the tournament, making 3 starts, pitching to a 2.35 ERA in 15 ⅓ total innings. The USA finally took the title they’ve long waited for, and it was well worth the wait.

 

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1 Comment

One Response to “U.S. wins its first WBC championship”

  1. Robert Warner on March 29th, 2017 12:02 pm

    I think it’s time you sent your credentials to sports illustrated !!

    [Reply]

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U.S. wins its first WBC championship