GB Men lose final pool game to Venezuela

Fri 14 Jul 2017

By Ian Tomlin

Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada: 14 July – Venezuela looked set to be one of the hardest tests yet for the GB Men as they played their final first-round pool game Thursday at the Men’s World Championship.

And so it proved, as Venezuela posted an 11-0 mercy rule win in four innings, and the GB Team was the victim of a no-hitter for the third time in the tournament, this time at the hands of Venezuelan pitcher Maikel Pimentel.

In addition, GB’s #1 pitcher Kyle Linton had to leave the game in the third inning after aggravating an injury.

Venezuela came into the game with a 5-1 record, and their only loss was on a forfeit after they had arrived late to the party and missed their opening game with Japan.  But the first two innings of this game were close.


Quick start​

Kyle Linton gave up a home run to Venezuelan lead-off hitter Arturo Acacio in the top of the first inning, but then closed out the frame with three strikeouts.

GB then made good contact in the bottom of the first inning, but couldn’t get the ball past an organised Venezuelan infield.

Player-coach Kevin Stockford, playing third base in this game, led off and drove the ball straight to Maikel Pimentel for the first out.  Shortstop Regan O’Neill hit a low drive that was well fielded by second baseman Jorge Lima for the second out.  DP Luke Peters then hit another line drive towards third base that was held by Carlos Carreno to end the inning.


Still hope​

GB conceded two more runs in the top of the second inning on another lead-off home run, this time by Jorge Lima, and then a double to right field by Luiger Pinto and a single by Francis Rojas.

GB hitters were still making contact in the bottom of the second inning, but still couldn’t get the ball out of the infield.


No hope​

And then, in innings three and four, the game got away from GB as Venezuela scored five in the top of the third and three in the bottom of the fourth to bring the score to 11-0 and end the game on the mercy rule.

Venezuela had already scored one run in the top of the third inning and had a runner on second with one out when Kyle Linton had to leave the game through injury.  James Darby came in to pitch, with DP Luke Peters entering a shuffled outfield and Amit Aswani entering the line-up at DP.

When the game re-started, a double by Rafael Flores brought in another run to take the score to 5-0.

James Darby struck out Jorge Lima for the second out, but a walk, a base hit and some passed balls allowed more runs to score, and now the Venezuelans were out of reach against a depleted GB team, with an 8-0 lead.

In the bottom of the third inning, Morgan Ottridge became the first (and effectively the only) GB base runner in the game when he struck out but reached first base when the ball eluded the Venezuelan catcher.  Morgan was soon forced out at second base on a ground ball to the pitcher by Tom Priscott and Kevin Stockford struck out, leaving Tom on base to close the inning.

Three more Venezuelan runs in the top of the fourth inning, including a home run on an illegal pitch by Rafael Flores, took the game into mercy rule territory, and GB had no reply, going up and down in order in the bottom of the inning.


Looking ahead

The GB Men will now face a placing game against the bottom side in Pool A, India, who have a very competent pitcher in Kumar Deepak. 

A win could see GB face the Czech Republic in the second round of the placement playoffs, but a defeat to India will end the team’s participation in the tournament.

With Kyle Linton injured and Morgan Ottridge returning home, the side will be down to 10 players for the placement playoff games.


Standings

Here are standings from the last day of pool play at the WBSC Men’s Fastpitch World Championship, with a few games still to be completed as this is written.

The top four teams from each pool will go forward to Championship playoffs today and Saturday, while the bottom four teams from each pool will play off for final placings.

POOL A
Canada (7-0)
Australia (5-2)
Argentina (4-2)
USA (4-2)
Dominican Republic (3-3)
South Africa (2-4)
Hong Kong (1-6)
India (0-7)

POOL B
Venezuela (6-1)
New Zealand (6-1)
Japan (5-1)
Botswana (3-4)
Czech Republic (3-4)
Denmark (3-3)
Great Britain (1-6)
Turkey (0-7)

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