Team GB ended their World Baseball Classic adventure with a tough loss to Mexico in Pool C.
As a result of the 2-1 defeat, Britain are now eliminated from the competition.
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Taijuan Walker had a standout game for Mexico on Tuesday night. Despite only pitching in four innings, the 30-year-old put on a clinic, registering eight strikeouts. Walker also gave up zero runs during his stint on the mound, with a Harry Ford double being Britain’s sole hit in the first innings.
In contrast, Mexico got on the board at the bottom of the second. Alexis Wilson – the team’s backup catcher – hit an RBI single to put his country up 1-0.
Team GB grew into the Pool C clash, though, and levelled in the sixth inning. Chavez Young got on base thanks to a double, then stole third base to put himself in scoring position.
BJ Murray seized this opportunity, hitting a two-out RBI to get Young to home plate.
However, it did not take long for Mexico to get back in front. At the bottom of the seventh, Alexis Young earned his second RBI with another single to restore Mexico’s lead. Their strong bullpen took over from here in order to seal a tight victory over Great Britain.
Jesus Cruz struck out two batters to keep Mexico clear in the eighth inning before Giovanny Gallegos closed the game at the top of the ninth.
The win sees Mexico keep its hopes of reaching the quarterfinals alive. On the opposite side, Team GB will head home from the World Baseball Classic. There is still promise for the future, though.
Team GB still has chance to qualify for next World Baseball Classic
Despite suffering defeat in their last game, Britain is not yet consigned to the bottom of Pool C. If Colombia loses their final outing to America, then they will finish last, with GB ahead of them.
Crucially, finishing fourth would give Team GB an automatic spot in the 2026 World Baseball Classic. If Colombia wins, then Britain will end up bottom of Pool C, therefore needing to qualify for the next WBC.
Getting automatic qualification to the next tournament would be a tremendous boost for British baseball. After all, the 2023 edition was their first-ever WBC, where they also got their first-ever win.
Team GB will now hope for a favour from the USA team on Wednesday night.
Who has qualified for the quarterfinals?
Both Pools A and B have already completed their fixture schedule. Group A was very evenly matched, as all five teams had two wins and two losses. However, Cuba and Italy progressed from the group due to a tiebreaker of “runs allowed per defensive out”.
Pool B was much more clear-cut by comparison. Japan was the runaway winner of the group, taking victory in all four of their games. Australia joins them in advancing to the last eight thanks to a 3-1 record.
Pools C and D, meanwhile, are still yet to decide who will go through. Pool C has three teams vying to advance, as Canada, the US, and Mexico all have two wins and one defeat through three games. Canada and Mexico face off in a winner-takes-all game, whilst the US must beat Colombia.
Venezuela has already qualified for the next round after winning their first three games in Pool D. Behind them, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic will battle it out for the second qualification slot.
Featured image credit: Getty