Great Britain has won its first ever game at the World Baseball Classic. On Monday at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks of Major League Baseball, Great Britain stunned Colombia by a score of 7-5. The win was remarkable when you consider the fact that this was Great Britain’s third game ever in the history of the WBC and the fact that Colombia beat Mexico in their opening game of the 2023 tournament by a score of 5-4 on Saturday. Remember Mexico gave the United States an 11-5 smackdown on Sunday.
Who had the big hit for Great Britain?
The British star was Seattle Mariners prospect catcher Harry Ford, a native of Atlanta, Georgia. Ford, who was eligible to participate for Great Britain because both of his parents were born there, hit a lead off home run in the seventh inning which gave Great Britain a 6-3 lead at the time. Ford was the only player on Great Britain to have a multi-hit game as he added a single.
The British baseball team got outstanding efforts from relievers Graham Spraker, Chavez Fernander, and Cincinnati Reds reliever Ian Gibaut. The trio combined to give up only one earned run in 5 2/3 innings. Along the way, they had four strikeouts and two walks, and only gave up five hits to a Colombian squad with seven Major Leaguers.
Great Britain has won two European Baseball Championship silver medals. The first coming in 1967 and the second coming in 2007. The 2007 British Baseball team stunned the European Baseball community with their second place finish as Brant Ust was named the tournament MVP after batting .600. The silver medal came only six years after Great Britain was clobbered 27-0 by the Netherlands to open the 2001 European Baseball Championship in Germany.
Even though Great Britain won European Championship silver in 2007 in Barcelona, sadly the British Baseball Federation did not get the necessary financial support from the British Olympic Committee to compete in a second chance Olympic qualifying tournament in Taiwan for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing that they qualified for. Let’s hope with the win over Colombia on Monday, there will be more public and private support for the British Baseball Federation.