Canada scored early and late against Germany to win the Regensburg World Baseball Classic Qualifier, 11-1, in a game that ended after eight innings by the mercy rule. Canada now advances to the main tournament in March.
Canada got off to a quick lead in the bottom of the first inning when former Iowa Cubs catcher Chris Robinson (Orioles Triple-A Norfolk) hit a home run with a man on against German starter Andre Hughes. Then Hughes walked the next two batters and moved them to second and third with a wild pitch. An RBI ground out by left fielder Adam Loewen (Mets Triple-A Buffalo) scored one run, and the fourth run scored when German first baseman Donald Lutz (Reds Double-A Pensacola) couldn't handle a ground ball off the bat of Canadian third baseman Shawn Bowman (Marlins Triple-A New Orleans).
Canada chased Hughes in the second inning when Jimmy Van Ostrand (Nationals Double-A Harrisburg) doubled home two more runs. Then Adam Loewen took the first pitch from reliever Eugen Heilman and deposited over the left field fence to make it 7-0, and the final result was no longer in doubt.
A pair of ex-Cubs, Luke Sommer and Will Ohman settled things down for Germany. Sommer pitched 3.1 innings of relief and allowed just one run on three hits. He also stranded two inherited runners in the third. Ohman threw 1.1 scoreless and hitless innings. He walked one and struck out one.
The game would end in the bottom of the eighth inning when Canada pushed three more runs across, ending the game on the ten-run mercy rule.
The one bright spot for Germany came in the fifth inning when right fielder Aaron Altherr (Phillies Low-A Lakewood) hit a deep solo home run to center field.
A big upset of Canada by Italy in the 2009 World Baseball Classic forced Canada into this qualifying round, but it turned to not be a big hindrance as Canada dominated the three games they played in. They had at least one baserunner in 23 of the 24 innings they played in and ended two of their three games by the mercy rule. Their closest game was a 16-7 thumping of Germany that actually went the full nine innings. They now advance to the main tournament in March where they will have top major leaguers like Joey Votto, Justin Morneau, Brett Lawrie, Russell Martin, Ryan Dempster and John Axford at their disposal, health permitting.
Two more World Baseball Classic Qualifier Rounds will be played in November. In New Tapei City, Taiwan, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand and host Chinese Tapei will play for one spot and in Panama City, Panama, Brazil, Colombia, Nicaragua and host Panama will play for the other spot. All of those games will also be streamed for free at worldbaseballclassic.com, just like the ones from Jupiter and Regensburg were.