Canada secures spot in 2013 World Baseball Classic
Canada left no doubt that it belongs in the 2013 World Baseball Classic after crushing host Germany 11-1 on Monday in the qualification pool final.
First baseman Jimmy Van Ostrand led the Canadian attack on a chilly evening at the Armin-Wolf Baseball Arena with a home run and four runs scored. Adam Loewen went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs and Chris Robinson added a two-run shot for the favoured Canadians.
"We accomplished our goal," said manager Ernie Whitt. "We came in knowing we needed to win three games. You can't say enough about this team. They are gamers who played with pride and passion. We are just happy that we are going on."
Andrew Albers went six innings for the victory. He allowed one run on two hits and recorded three strikeouts.
Canada outhit Germany 12-3 and scored 38 runs over three games. The Canadian roster was loaded with minor-leaguers since major-league players are finishing off their regular season.
"This is our team," Robinson said. "This is where we come together and play with the guys. Most of the guys on this team will not be on the team next year, but we knew how important it was for this team.
"We're a hockey country but we're turning heads in baseball as well."
The Canadians took the early lead with a four-run first inning. Robinson provided the power by blasting the first pitch he saw from German starter Andre Hughes over the wall in left field.
Tim Smith and Van Ostrand had two-out doubles in the second inning and Loewen padded the lead with a two-run shot off reliever Eugen Heilmann. Van Ostrand hit a solo homer in the fourth before Aaron Altherr finally got Germany on the board with a solo shot in the fifth inning.
"The game didn't go how we wanted it to of course," said German manager Greg Frady. "As men our job is to win the tournament. We know that. The game didn't start very well and when you give up four runs in the first and three more in the second you lose a lot of your strategic options."
Canada added three more runs in the eighth inning before the mercy rule was applied. Shawn Bowman doubled in two runs and scored the final run on a fielding error to end the game.
Canada whipped Germany 16-7 last Saturday, two days after an 11-1 rout of Great Britain. The Czech Republic was eliminated early from the group.
Spain qualified for the 2013 WBC on Sunday with a 9-7 win over Israel. The remaining qualifier pools are scheduled for mid-November when eight countries will square off for the two berths left in the main draw.
The Canadian team was relegated to the qualification round after failing to record a victory at the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
Japan won the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006 and successfully defended its title in 2009. Canada did not make it to the second round at either event despite defeating the favoured United States in opening-round action in 2006.
The U.S., Australia, China, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Puerto Rico and Venezuela locked up 2013 spots based on their performance four years ago.
First-round dates and venues have not yet been finalized for the 2013 tournament, which will be held in March.
Some second-round games will be played at Marlins Park in Miami. AT&T Park in San Francisco will host the semifinals and final.