Colombia Clubs Spain

In the opening round of the Panama World Baseball Classic qualifying round Colombia had an easy time over Spain, defeating them 9-2. Going into the game many felt Colombia was the favorite to win in Panama because of the number of major league affiliated players they had on the team. Spain had a roster filled with Cubans with Spanish ancestry and were the surprise winners during the last qualifier in 2012 when it was played in Jupiter, Florida, but the Colombians were clearly the better team here.

Spain did not help their cause with their pitchers walking 12 batters, a two out walk in the first inning beginning the rout. After Sergio Perez retired the two toughest hitters in the Colombian lineup, Harold Ramirez and Dilson Herrera to start the game he walked Reynaldo Rodriguez. This led to the first run after back to back singles from Jesus Valdez and Adrian Sanchez scored Rodriguez.

In the third inning a throwing error by third baseman Jesus Merchan allowed Harold Ramirez to reach second. A wild pitch advanced him to third where he scored on a sacrifice fly by Dilson Herrera. Colombia was up 2-0.

Colombia broke the game open in the fifth. Reynaldo Rodriguez buried a one out triple into centerfield to end the day for Sergio Perez. Richard Castillo came in to pitch and intentionally walked Jesus Valdez. The ploy seemed to work after Adrian Sanchez popped out. Mauricio Ramos came through hitting an infield single to score the first run, Steve Brown grounded a single up the middle to score the second run and back to back walks scored the third run. Colombia was clearly in charge 5-0.

Colombia got four innings of one hit pitching from William Cuevas. He was able to bail Colombia out in the first and second innings after errors put runners on in each inning. Kendy Batista went in to replace Cuevas in the fifth inning. Spain was able to score their first two runs off Batista in the sixth after he walked the first two hitters in the inning. That brought in Angel Vilchez to replace Bautista. He gave up a single to Jesus Utariz to load the bases. A double play ground out scored the first run and a Jesus Golindano single scored the second run. Spain had some glimmer showing in their eyes, cutting the lead to 5-2.

That all ended in the eighth when Colombia rallied for four runs to put the game out of reach. With the bases loaded and no one out Reynaldo Rodriguez hit a routine fly ball to left which appeared to be a sacrifice fly to score one. Left fielder Daniel Martinez could not catch it and all three runners scored on the error, Reynaldo advancing to third where he eventually scored on a ground out.

Reynaldo Rodriguez was the big bat for Colombia with a walk, two big hits and a sacrifice fly that resulted in three runs scoring. He also scored three times. Dilson Herrera, Carlos Vidal and Luis Martinez each walked three times. Spain got three hits from Jesus Golindano.

Colombia will play the winner of the Panama/France night cap.

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