WBC: Great Britain Confident, Canada Not Taking Them Lightly

Team Canada coaches look on as their team takes batting practice before facing Team Great Britain in the World Baseball Classic.
(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

Great Britain Confident, Canada Not Taking Them Lightly

PHOENIX, Mar. 12 — Despite the 6–2 loss to Team USA Saturday night, Team Great Britain feels confident heading into their Sunday afternoon game against Team Canada. Left fielder Jaden Rudd said they played a good game. Manager Drew Spencer said after Saturday’s game, “…my pitchers executed, and I’m proud of them. They did a fantastic job, and every one of them deserves to go home and hold their head up high.” The team even took a 1–0 lead over heavily favored Team USA, something Spencer called “a great moment for us.”

Team Canada manager Ernie Whitt said of Team Great Britain, “They’re a scrappy team. They battled at every at-bat, didn’t give any at-bats away, and showed that they should be in this tournament.”

Great Britain Starting a Righty, but Canada Expecting to See Lefties

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Despite Canada having such a lefty-heavy batting lineup, Spencer has tapped righty Akeel Morris as the starting pitcher. Spencer said, “We’re really confident in how Morris matches up against their hitters. It just felt like a good matchup for us.”

This move “shocked” the Team Canada coaching staff, in the words of hitting coach Larry Walker. “We’re used to lefties being thrown against us.” But Walker also pointed out that Team Great Britain “held some of their lefties back” against Team USA, so it’s a safe bet that his team will see some lefties.

Another part of Great Britain’s game Saturday that Walker pointed out is their use of Colorado Rockies prospect Michael Petersen in the eighth inning. He said, “I’m hoping one thing that won’t give us trouble is that they threw the guy throwing 102 miles an hour last night in the Rockies organization. Maybe he’s a little tired and won’t come in the game today,” adding a chuckle. But he said the approach is the same as he took during his Hall-of-Fame career, which largely was with the Rockies. “There are pitchers that are gonna be throwing a baseball, and you got to try to hit a strike. It’s the same in every level in every country, and it’s just the way it is. Don’t think anything is different than what you’ve done your whole career getting up to this point.”

Any Team Can Beat Any Team

The bottom line, according to Whitt, is “any team can beat any team at any time in a one-game set.” Consequently, Team Canada will not take Team Great Britain lightly, despite being heavily favored. “If it’s a seven-game set,” Whitt said, “it might be a little different. One day you might have everything going for you and the other team doesn’t. It’s just the way it is, and that’s the beauty of it.”

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

Evan lives in Gilbert, Arizona and loves history, especially of sports. He is the treasurer for the Hemond Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and also is a USSF and AIA soccer referee. He released his first book, Volume I of A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, in October of 2021.

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