Brazil was the surprise team to qualify for the World Baseball Classic, but could not continue the fairy tale into the second round. Despite going 0-3 in Pool A in Fukuoka, they did not make it easy on any of the other three teams in their pool.
They actually led 3-2 heading into the 8th inning against host Japan in Game 1, before losing 5-3. The heartbreaker may have come in their final game, as they led 2-0 heading into the bottom of the 8th inning, before losing to China, 5-2. In that 8th inning, Brazil pitchers walked five (and hit a batter). Three of those walks came with the bases loaded, while Ray Chang delivered a two-run single.
In Game 1, KC Royals minor league outfielder Paulo Orlando went 2-for-4 with two runs scored. In Game 2, he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, but he impressed the analysts with his defense and speed. In Brazil’s final game, he went 0-for-4. In all three games, he batted leadoff and played centerfield. Orlando will now head back to Arizona to join the Royals in spring training.
Japan and Cuba had already clinched spots to the second round by going 2-0 before playing each other.
*In Pool B, the Netherlands clinched a spot in the second round by beating Australia, 4-1 in their final game. It got interesting in the 9th inning when Brad Harman hit a deep fly ball to left field with two runners on base. However, the wind that was non-existent throughout the game, came back and kept the ball in the ballpark. Former Royal Justin Huber had another awful WBC (he had just one hit), as did most of his teammates not named Stefan Welch or Mike Walker.
Chinese-Taipei also clinched a spot, despite losing to Korea in their final game (and having the same 2-1 record). It all came down to tiebreakers (but thankfully not a coin toss).