Regensburg.The World Baseball Classic Qualifiers is open. The European Baseball Highlight of the Year officially started with a celebratory ceremony on Friday. The first of the nine World Cup qualifying matches had already taken place. In a thrilling duel, tournament favorites Spain held the upper hand against South Africa with a 5:4 finish.
Justin Connell put the Iberian in front with a solo home run against South African starting pitcher Justin Erasmus, who is known from the Bundesliga. The former Heidenheimer put on a solid performance otherwise. It was only after ex-Heidekoff was replaced that the Spaniards extended their lead to 2–0. Connell circled the bases again.
Then hit the South African. Tyrone Milne and Benjamin Smith leveled 2-2 in the seventh inning. Spain, on the other hand, immediately had the correct answer. With three runs to spare, the 2013 WBC finalists took the lead in a straight return. However, South Africa still did not give up and came back again, but the Iberians kept their spirits up.
Spain meets the Czech Republic this Saturday (1 pm). For the winner of the encounter, Tuesday is the first of two places at the World Baseball Classic in March 2023. The German national team will be in on the action this Saturday evening (7pm). National coach Steve Janssen’s team has to deal with Great Britain, who won 14:4 against France late on Friday. With a win, Germany can go straight to the first final for a World Cup ticket.