It didn’t take long for an American baseball scout to see the immense potential of the Philippine team in the ongoing World Baseball Classic in Taipei.
After watching the Filipino batters score an impressive 8-2 win over Thailand Thursday, Kelly Broder, a scout for Major League Baseball team Minnesota Twins, said the PH squad is well equipped to eventually produce top-tier players.
“They’re well coached,” said Broder. “They play a disciplined game and they seem to enjoy the game very well. I’ve seen them a few times here and every time, they seem to be very well prepared and play very enthusiastically.”
Broder believes the influx of minor league players in the squad will help the team and that it may be only a matter of time before the country reclaims it lost glory in baseball.
The Filipinos, ranked 34th in the world, were to face eighth-ranked host Taiwanese for a place in the finals late yesterday.
The loser will still get a chance to claim the second finals seat in a knockout match against New Zealand today.
“Anything can happen in a short series and even in a one game matchup because in baseball you can’t assume anything,” added Broder.
Unfazed by the firepower in the roster of the highly rated Thai squad, the Filipinos, whose campaign here is powered by Fil-Americans, leaned on 12 hits with Ryan Pineda and Fernando Laurel accounting for three each.
Making the victory even more impressive was the fact that the Thais were bannered by two-time World Series champion Johnny Damon, who is playing for his mother’s country.
Thailand actually took a 1-0 lead when Joseph Daru singled on a ground ball to Pineda, the team’s shortstop, that led to Thai Nathan Lorentz scoring in the first inning.
“It was more of calming down the nerves. They wanted to smash the ball early, especially the Fil-Ams, but after the second inning, the nerves settled down,” said team manager Marty Esmendi. Story contributed by Marty Esmendi