2017 World Baseball Classic Report (Day 1)

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It didn’t take long for the 2017 World Baseball Classic to get interesting as the first game threw a wrench in the plans of one host.

The Koreans entered the tournament as a favourite to easily get through their pool and move into the next round where the competition was sure to heat up.

After all, they had teams like Israel and Chinese Taipei in their group that should have been easy walkovers for a country that is quickly becoming a favourite spot for MLB scouts.

Their KBO league is considered one of the best in the world and this team was loaded with all-star talent from the league.

Their first game was meant to be a good warm-up in front of the home crowd in Seoul to get the fans to start watching and following this team.

They took on Israel who were in their first World Baseball Classic ever and to many were going to finish in last place.

They were just happy to be here and starting off against a team like Korea was not the best way to just start getting into the tournament.

Yet from the start the Israelis showed that they weren’t just there to show up but rather to make some noise in the tournament.

They went ahead early as the Korean pitching struggled out of the gate with Tyler Kreiger earning a loaded-bases walk that brought Nate Freiman in for the first run of the game.

The Koreans were shocked and now had to play from behind but they had the talent that could make up the difference.

It took longer than some expected but they did eventually find their way back into the game as they scored their first run in the fifth inning off of a ground ball from Geonchang Seo.

The game remained tight but the Israelis continued to come forward loaded the bases multiple times only to see the Korean pitching staff shut them down when they needed to the most.

The job had been essentially done as they had stood toe to toe with one of the big teams in the tournament and never blinked.

Still, it seemed like Korea was going to pull it out being that they were the team with the experience and the talent.

That was until the 10th inning when Scott Burchman hit a deep ground ball to second that brought in Mike Meyers to go ahead.

The Koreans couldn’t come back in the next half-inning and all of a sudden the Israelis had captured the first win of the tournament.

It makes their path to the next round slightly easier as they can get one more win and be right in the running to take a spot.

For Korea, it makes everything more difficult as they need to win their remaining two games if they want a chance at moving on from the pool stage.

One game in and the World Baseball Classic already has some intrigue which is what makes this tournament and tournaments like it so interesting.baseball-sidebar

One game can make the difference for two teams as one of the powers can fall to being a maybe to make the next round while an underdog can take a win and immediately have an easier path.

Korea and Israel are now headed in different ways with the Israelis having a chance to surprise everyone and take a spot in the next round while the Koreans could be eliminated early at home.

It is the best way to kick off a tournament that can sometimes have difficulty pulling viewers especially these early games.

The first half of the week will feature games in Japan and Korea meaning they will be nowhere near primetime.

Early morning and late night games likely mean nobody is watching in North America but this type of upset to start the tournament might get some conversation going about the tournament.

That is after only one game two as the tournament really gets going in Day 2 where more teams are set to face-off and either prevent an upset or launch an upset of their own.

Nothing should be expected after the first game as the nature of baseball is not necessarily easily predicted.

With single games making a massive difference anything can happen that is why the MLB runs series throughout their season.

One game makes things difficult and for these teams, it makes every game and every pitch that much more important.

The first game should be a wake-up call to all of the other favourites beginning their tournament not to take any team for granted.

Nobody expected Israel to do much this year but now they stand on top of Pool A with the first win of the Classic with a chance to move into the next round.

day-1

Day 1:
Israel 2-1 Korea (10th)
– It was a terrible way for the home team to start the tournament but the best way for fans of the tournament as it kicked things off with unpredictability that has become the norm in this tournament with the Israelis taking this 10th inning win

Day 2:
Israel vs. Chinese Taipei (Monday, March 6th; 10:00 pm ET)
– After their great start to the tournament, the Israelis take on the team more people give them a chance against with a potential second round berth on the line as the Israelis can take a massive step toward sealing a spot with a win

Korea vs. Netherlands (Tuesday, March 7th; 4:30 am ET)
– The Koreans need to shake-off their opening loss and get ready for their toughest test in the pool stage as the Netherlands opens their tournament with the best infield in the Classic and hopes to take a win which will likely sink Korea’s hopes of moving on

Cuba vs. Japan (Tuesday, March 7th; 5:00 am ET)
– Japan kicks off their tournament at home against the Cubans in what will likely become a very important game as either of these teams could take the pool title but only one can win the game to take the advantage early

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