American Association represented at World Baseball Classic
With the World Baseball Classic final between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico taking place tonight, current and former players in independent baseball have made an impact throughout the tournament. American Association alumni have been featured on four different squads.
Australia, appearing in its third WBC, went 0-3 in Pool B.
- Steve Kent (Kansas City '12) pitched two shutout innings of relief in the Australians' 6-0 loss to Korea on Monday, March 4.
Italy, one of the tournament's biggest surprises, advanced past Round 1 with victories over Canada and Mexico.
- RHP Alex Maestri (Lincoln '11) started and got the win in Italy's 14-4 win over Canada on Friday, March 8, giving up a run on three hits and striking out three in three innings of work. He also had a superb start against Puerto Rico on Wednesday, March 13, throwing four and one-third shutout innings while fanning three.
The Netherlands reached the semifinals of the tournament, going 2-1 in Round 1 before defeating Cuba twice in Round 2 to advance.
- 1B Curt Smith (Lincoln '11) appeared in all eight of the team's games, hitting .321 with four RBI and four runs scored. Smith went 2-for-5 with a solo home run in the Netherland's 6-2 win over Cuba on Friday, March 8, then went 3-for-5 with an RBI in the team's 7-6 victory over the Cubans on Monday, March 11.
- 3B Yurendell de Caster (Winnipeg '12) went 1-for-2 in the Dutch team's loss to Japan on Sunday, March 10, and 1-for-3 in the Monday, March 11 win over Cuba.
In its first WBC, Spain had a respectable showing, remaining competitive in all three games before ultimately falling to powerhouses Puerto Rico, 3-0, (Friday, March 8), the Dominican Republic, 6-3, (Saturday, March 9) and Venezuela, 11-6 (Sunday, March 10).
- DH Rafael Alvarez (Pensacola '08-'09, Lincoln '09-'11) started at DH in the first two games, but did not reach base.
- 1B Barbaro Canizares (Winnipeg '12) blasted a two-run first inning home run Sunday, and went 1-for-4 with an RBI against the Dominican Republic.
- OF Danny Figueroa (Grand Prairie '11) went 1-for-5 with a run scored against Venezuela.
- C Salomon Manriquez (Lincoln/Wichita '12) was 1-for-4 with two RBI against Venezuela, and 2-for-2 with a run scored against the D.R.
- LHP Richard Salazar (Wichita '08-'09, Shreveport '09-'11, Sioux City '12) had a splendid outing Friday, throwing five shutout innings, striking out two while giving up just two hits.
- SS Yunesky Sanchez (Laredo '12) paced the Spanish hitting attack, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a double on Sunday; 3-for-4 Saturday; and 2-for-3 Friday.
- RHP Nick Schumacher (Sioux City '11-'12) pitched a scoreless 1.2 innings against the Dominican Republic.
- INF Gabe Suarez (Kansas City '11) appeared as a pinch-hitter in Sunday's game.
The 13-team American Association begins its 100-game 2013 regular-season slate on Thursday, May 16.