MAIN PHOTO: Centrefielder Anfernee Seymour, shown here training prior to playing for Great Britain, collected two hits and stole two bases in the victory. Photo: Great Britain Baseball
INSET: Tahnaj Thomas (left) and D’Shawn Knowles.
By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
Tahnaj Thomas got the win in relief on the mound and D’Shawn Knowles and Anfernee Seymour provided a 1-2 offensive attack for Great Britain as they sealed a come-from-behind 10-9 win over Spain yesterday to book their ticket to the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
Great Britain, with Albert Cartwright as the first base coach and five players on the team representing the Bahamas, remained undefeated in the three games played so far in the Regensburg Qualifier in Germany at the Armin-Wolf-Arena.
Trailing 9-8 going into the bottom of the ninth inning, Jaden Rudd cracked a game-tying home run to right field off Spain’s Rhiner Cruz to send the game to extra innings.
Thomas came in relief for Donovan Benoit in the top of the 10th inning and held Spain at bay to earn the win on the mound after Alex Crosby lifted a walk-off sacrifice fly to left field in the bottom of the frame to send Great Britain to the World Baseball Classic.
Knowles, playing left field, was 3-for-5 with three runs batted in (RBI) and two runs scored, including a two-run home run in the seventh inning that scored Alex Crosby to cut Great Britain’s deficit to one, 9-10.
Seymour, playing next to Knowles in centre field, was 2-for-3 with a base on balls (walk) and a hit by pitch. He also stole a pair of bases and came home twice.
The other players from the Bahamas on the team are pitcher Chavez Fernander and catcher Ural Forbes.
Great Britain routed France 14-4 in their first game of the tournament on Friday. They came back and got their second win on Saturday with a 9-1 decision over Germany.
This is the third time that the Bahamian players have teamed up to play with Great Britain.
Cartwright and Antoan Richardson were the first to do so in 2013.
The two, along with Jasrado “Jazz” Chisholm, Kyle Simmons, Ali Knowles, Todd Isaacs, Champ Stuart, Chavez Young and Reshard Munroe, played again in 2016.
The tournament was to be played in 2020, but was called off due to COVID-19. With the return of the tournament this year, it marked the first time that Great Britain has qualified for the World Baseball Classic.
The Bahamas was unable to field a team for the classic because it has not participated in any World Baseball/Softball Confederation in quite a while and therefore the ranking is not up to par to play on its own.
Bahamas Baseball Association secretary general Teddy Sweeting said they will begin making progress to fielding a team from the Bahamas by hosting its first major international tournament in December to christen the new baseball stadium, which is expected to be completed by the end of November.
Despite losing to Great Britain, Spain will still have a chance.
Spain plays the Czech Republic today, with the winner of that game earning the final spot in World Baseball Classic 2023 from Pool A.
Spain beat the Czech Republic 21-7 in their first meeting of the tournament.
Germany and Panama serve as the two respective sites of the qualifiers this fall.
Each location will host a six-team pool, with the top two teams from each qualifier advancing to the main event in March 2023.
The Pool B Qualifier is scheduled for September 30 to October 5 in Panama City and includes no. 13 Panama, no. 15 Nicaragua, no. 25 Brazil, no. 27 Argentina, no. 31 Pakistan, and no. 46 New Zealand.
The newly expanded 20-team, top-tier global tournament serves as the World Baseball Softball Confederation’s official pro-level National Team World Championship.