Colombia Qualifies for Classic

For the first time in their history Colombia qualified for the World Baseball Classic with a 2-1 win over Panama. Both teams had a hard time scoring runs with both managers using their bullpens. No pitcher pitched more than four innings. Dilson Herrera was the hero when he powered a 3-1 offering from Manny Corpas in the eighth inning over the left field fence for a 2-1 lead. Dilson could be the starting second baseman for the Mets in 2017 after Neil Walker becomes a free agent.

Colombian starter Nabil Crismatt pitched the longest going one out past the third inning. In the second inning with runners on first and third with one out he got a critical strikeout against Isaias Velasquez to prevent a run from scoring. He was pulled in the fourth inning after giving up a run. Carlos Ruiz started the rally with a one out double to left. An intentional walk to Javier Guerra backfired after a single by Carlos Quiroz plated Ruiz. Guerra advanced to third. Yesid Salazar replaced Crismatt retiring Velasquez, who again failed to score the runner from third when he bunted to the pitcher but Guerra stayed anchored to third. Anthony Amaya grounded out to limit the damage for Colombia to one run.

Colombia got the run back in the sixth when two hit batsmen put two runners on. Humberto Meija hit Reynaldo Rodriguez to put the first runner on. With two outs Alberto Acosta hit Mauricio Ramos to put two runners on. Adrian Sanchez lined a clutch two out single to center to score Rodriguez to tie the game at 1-1.

After the Herrera homer in the eighth Carlos Diaz came on to pitch for Colombia to start the ninth, retiring Padres top prospect Javier Guerra on a ground out. Horacio Acosta came on to retire the final two hitters on ground outs to allow Colombia the opportunity to appear in their first World Baseball Classic.

There were 6,204 in attendance for the game, half of what showed up for the opener. Myworld bets the opener included a lot of musicians and singers that attracted a crowd for the music and not so much for the baseball. It is what we saw happen in the World Cup back in 2011 when the opener was sold out but the other games were not as well attended. If you want to get the crowds to show up in Central or Latin America you have to provide the entertainment. Baseball by itself is just not enough.

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