Nicaragua's walk-off against Germany had all the twists, turns and drama you could hope for
If you were thinking that the big-name players and prospects would prove vital in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers, well, you'd be right. It's a lesson Germany learned the hard way in the bottom of the 10th inning of their game against Nicaragua on Thursday. With the Nicaraguan team considered favorites in the game thanks to the amount of affiliated talent on their roster, led by Jairo Beras, the sixth-best prospect in the Rangers system, and Alex Blandino, the eighth-best in the Reds system, Germany still found itself three outs away from a victory -- twice.
Though Blandino's smooth swing had started off the scoring in the game with an RBI double (driving in Beras, natch), Germany clung to a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the ninth. That's thanks, in part, to the Reds' infielder striking out for the third time with two on in the bottom of the eighth. But Nicaragua would tie the game at 3 in the bottom of the ninth and force extras.
Again, Germany was able to take the lead, thanks to an RBI double from Ludwig Glaser, a player with an amazing name who plays for Buchbinder Legionäre Regensburg. Also an amazing name.
Would that be enough for Germany to finish off the upset?
In a game with more twists and turns than a daytime soap opera, surely not. In the bottom half of the inning, Beras singled to put runners at first and second with one out. And this time, Blandino would not leave the runners stranded. On a 1-1 pitch, he lifted it high over the head of the center fielder, and Beras showed off his wheels as he raced around to just beat the throw at the plate.
While Nicaragua may have been the favorites on Thursday, both nations are underdogs in their group. Not only have both countries yet to make it to the World Baseball Classic proper, but competing in a group with the might of Adrian Gonzalez-led Mexico, will likely be in a battle for second place. If one of them does manage to do it, though, knocking out Mexico and moving on to the tourney, you'll have a real World Baseball Classic, umm, classic on your hands.
See it for yourself and check out all the action with every game with every game streamed on MLB.com or WorldBaseballClassic.com.