MARYVILLE, Tenn. – Unranked New Zealand once more stunned the baseball world with a 10-6 victory over the 34th-ranked Philippines. The Diamondblacks’ relentless hitting attack scored in four different innings and the Kiwis set a World Baseball Classic record by having the win and the save earned by brothers.
The Philippines were the first side to produce a run. Leighton Pangilinan roped a line drive down the left field line for a double, his only hit of the tournament, and scored on a throwing error two batters later. Starting pitcher Andrew Marck then walked the next hitter, Fernando Laurel.
Manager Andy Skeels dipped into his bullpen after only six batters, and brought out John Holdzkom, the younger of two brothers. With runners on first and second and no outs, he dialled up his fastball into the mid-90s and struck out the side.
The Diamondblacks would take the lead for good in the third. Moko Moanaroa reached on an error by Pangilinan, one of three by the first baseman in the WBC and advanced to second on Maxwell Brown’s first hit of the tourney. Alan Schoenberger, the hero of New Zealand’s second game, laid down a sacrifice bunt to the right of the pitcher, but beat it out for a hit when the Philippines were slow to cover first base.
The next hitter, Tim Auty, hit a ball to the Philippines’ Ryan Pineda, playing shortstop for only the 10th time in four years, and he threw wildly to second to try and get Schoenberger. Moanaroa and Brown scored on the play, while Schoenberger scampered to third. Scott Campbell would immediately bring him home on a sacrifice fly before Charlie Labrador would work out of the jam.
With the early lead, Skeels took out the flame-throwing Holdzkom and entered Jamie Wilson. The right-hander would keep the Philippines off-balance for the next 4 2/3 frames, striking out four while scattering six hits and allowing only one run. Having thrown less than 30 pitches, Holdzkom and Marck will be available for the title game according to WBC rules.
Meanwhile, the New Zealand hitters were busy creating an insurmountable advantage, putting men on base in every inning from the second to the seventh. After the three-run third, they plated three more in the fifth.
Auty reached on a fielder’s choice and went to second after Campbell was plunked. The runners moved up on a wild pitch by the unlucky Labrador, and cleanup hitter Boss Moanaroa laced a single to right to score Auty and Campbell. He was erased trying to stretch the safety into a double, but the Kiwis were not yet finished.
With just the one out, Daniel Lamb-Hunt continued his slump-busting day, lining a one-base hit to left. After a fly out, Beau Bishop walked and Moko Moanaroa hit another ball that tied up Pangilinan at first. Lamb-Hunt came around to score, but Bishop was thrown out trying to take third.
Labrador exited the game after the frame and, though he gave up six runs on seven hits and a walk, only two of the runs were earned. He struck out three and was replaced by center fielder Devon Bryce Ramírez.
Ramírez got two outs with relative ease, but with Auty on first on another fielder’s choice, the Philippines allowed the Kiwi right fielder to swipe second. Campbell followed with a two-bagger to drive him in. New Zealand would load the bases, but Ramírez escaped with only one run allowed.
The southpaw would not be so lucky the following frame. With the lead already 7-2, Bishop started things off with a laser down the right field line that dropped for a two-base hit. Moko Moanaroa bounced a ball up-the-middle to score him, and Schoenberger would follow with a walk.
The speedy infielder would steal second and, when the throw from Chad Nacapoy bounced into center field, Moanaroa jogged home. The Diamondblacks would score their 10th and final run on a RBI single by Campbell.
The Philippines made things interesting in the bottom of the eighth against reliever Nick Dawson. With one out, Dawson walked Laurel, who advanced to third on a single by Andres Borromeo. Francis Candela followed him with a tailor-made double play ball for Schoenberger, who tossed to the new second baseman Regan Hoet.
Hoet could not make a snag on the throw, and Laurel and Borromeo touched home plate. An almost identical play occurred a batter later, when first baseman Boss Moanaroa fielded a ball away from the bag and threw to Dawson, who was slow to put up his glove. The ball skipped by him and the Philippines received another free out.
After a walk by new reliever Joe Boyce, Ramírez, who had returned to center, ripped a two-run single over second base to bring the blue-and-red within four. With only one out recorded and runners on first and second, Skeels brought in Lincoln Holdzkom, John’s older brother. Showing no fatigue after his game one start, Holdzkom brilliantly induced a double play from Nacapoy and the Kiwis were out of the predicament.
After a 1-2-3 inning by New Zealand in the top of the ninth, Holdzkom remained in the game. Three batters later, the last one swinging at a third strike, the Diamondblacks emerged victorious.
The elder Holdzkom would get the save, while John earned the win with 1 1/3 scoreless frames. Lamb-Hunt led the black-and-white in hits, with three, including a triple that boomed off the left center field wall. Campbell had two safeties and three RBIs, while Brown joined him with a brace of hits. Campbell’s six RBI lead the pool and are tied for fourth in the qualifying round. Seven different runners scored for New Zealand.
Ramírez had a pair of hits and RBIs for the Philippines. Ryan Pineda had a triple and a single in finishing 6-for-12 in the WBC. Six different Pinoys crossed home, though the number could have been much higher as the losers left eight men on base. Vladimir Eguia and Gino Espineli finished up the contest on the mound for the Philippines, who were eliminated from the Classic.
New Zealand, on the other hand, will get another shot at Chinese Taipei. The Taiwanese defeated them 10-0 on the mercy rule in their first contest and have had a day of rest to prepare. The winner-takes-all championship game will be at 6 a.m. GMT on Sunday, Nov. 18.
All games are televised on www.worldbaseballclassic.com.