On Monday night, Brazil stunned Panama with a 1-0 victory (their second win over the host country) to claim the final spot in the World Baseball Classic that begins in March.
Over the course of the WBC Qualifier, KC Royals minor leaguers shined in the event.
In both of Brazil’s victories over Panama, centerfielder Paulo Orlando had big games. He was their leadoff hitter and went 2-for-4 in both games. In Game 1, he tripled and scored their first run in the 3rd inning. Orlando scored Brazil’s lone run on Monday night.
Columbia won their only game, which was their first game of the qualifier on Friday night. Sure they received some offense, as they won 8-1 over Nicaragua, but they also received great starting pitching. Getting the ball for the first time for the Columbians was Sugar Ray Marimon. He was a strike throwing machine. Over five innings, he allowed just one run on four hits. He struck out four and did not walk a batter. 41 of his 61 pitches were thrown for strikes.
Marimon‘s lone blip on the radar was a solo homerun he allowed in the 4th inning. That homerun went to Royals teammate Cheslor Cuthbert, who hit a good pitch just over the wall in left field. He was all smiles as he rounded the bases, especially at second base when he looked back at Marimon. Spring training conversation should be fun.
Even though Nicaragua did not win a game (0-2), Cuthbert impressed. He played pretty good defense at third base (he did make an error that cost them a run). He also hit well and batted 5th in both games. In the loss to Columbia, he went 2-for-4 with the homerun. In their 6-2 loss to Panama, Cuthbert went 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Luis Piterson was the other Royal in the WBC. Like during the regular season, he was a bench player for Columbia. He did get into their 7-1 loss to Brazil on Saturday. Piterson went 0-for-1, as he struck out as a pinch-hitter in the 8th inning. He then went in to play right field.
So congrats to Brazil and Paulo Orlando in advancing to the WBC (and shocking the world).