Great Britain to Face “Battle;” Colombia Not Taking Them Lightly

Great Britain manager Drew Spencer. His team faces Colombia Monday.
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Great Britain Expecting “A Battle;” Colombia Not Taking Them Lightly

PHOENIX, Mar. 13 — Monday’s Pool C matchup between Colombia and Great Britain in Pool C of the World Baseball Classic pairs a team trying to maintain momentum and a team playing for their tournament lives. Colombia, victors in an emotional 5–4 extra-inning classic against Mexico, would put themselves in the driver’s seat with a victory over Great Britain. Great Britain needs a victory to avoid elimination with one game left. But they aren’t giving up on advancing to the quarterfinals in Miami March 17–18.

Manager Drew Spencer said advancing is the whole point. “It’s a tournament. And if you’re playing tournament baseball, these kinds of swings happen. Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down. What defines a winning tournament team is that relentless ability to punch back. We talk a lot about being the kind of team that’s fearless, that’s selfless and relentless. It’s being relentless that’s defined us. That’s what got us here.”

Spencer noted their victory over Spain in the qualifiers, where his team rallied from deficits of 4–0, 5–1, and 8–3 to win, 10–9, in 10 innings. “In that Spain game,” he recounted, “it was relentless effort, and we know that’s what we’re going to need to get to Miami.”

But Spencer knows the road will be tough. He’s expecting “a battle” with Colombia. He continued, “We know that’s a very talented team. We know they’re good on both sides of the ball. So we’re expecting a battle. We’re expecting them to play great defense. We’re expecting them to be able to hit the ball. And we know that, at least the kind of starters and the top end of their bullpen, they can move the ball around. So we’re just prepared for whatever they’re going to throw at us.”

“Worry about What We Have in Front of Us”

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Colombia, thanks to their victory over Mexico Saturday and Mexico’s victory over USA Sunday night, is the only team left in Pool C without a loss. With baseball being a sport about rhythm and routine, a day off after an emotional win can be disruptive. But Colombia manager Jolbert Cabrera is telling his team to not let that happen. “Worry about what we have in front of us,” he said. “That’s Great Britain right now. I’m trying to get them to bring the same kind of energy, even though I expect the stadium to have a lot of empty seats. So just don’t get caught up in that. That’s the message that I’m sending to them.”

From Great Britain, Cabrera has seen that “they’re going to run.” He continued, “They get on base, they’re going to run. They’re going to stick to their plan. I feel like that’s only — they have a few weapons and speed is one of them. And they’re going to continue to deploy their runners. We’re going to be ready for them today. Hopefully we can keep them off base. That’s the best way to contain their running game.”

First pitch is at 12:07 pm Arizona Time/3:07 pm Eastern Time. Right-hander William Cuevas will start pitching for Colombia, facing Great Britain right-hander Tyler Viza.

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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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