Nicaragua was the first team to get knocked out their qualifying group for the 2013 World Baseball Classic after losing to be Colombia and Panama this weekend in Panama City.
Despite heading into the tournament with high hopes of qualifying for next year’s tournament, several costly errors, some iffy pitching and a total lack of clutch hitting resulted in a disappointing tournament for Nicaragua.
Nicaragua dropped its first game to Colombia 8-1, after stranding 10 runners on base. The only highlight of the game for Nicaragua was the performance of third base prospect Cheslor Cuthbert, who made a dazzling defensive play in the second inning and then hit a solo homerun to give himself a nice birthday present as he turned 20 years old on the field.
Saturday’s game against Panama was equally disappointing, as Nicaragua lost 6-2 despite outslugging the Panamanian team 12 hits to 9. Cuthbert picked up another two hits in the second game, to maintain a .500 batting average for the tournament. But he grounded out with two runners on base to end what could have been Nicaragua’s only rally of the tournament. Team captain Everth Cabrera also picked up two hits and scored a run, but was caught stealing.
It will never be known if Nicaragua would have fared better with Major League pitchers Vicente Padilla and Wilton López, both of whom declined to play for the national team.
Following Saturday’s loss to Panama, Nicaragua’s team manager Denis Martínez said he hopes to remain as the team’s skipper and said he has “no remorse” about the tournament.
“I just feel happy for them because that was a great experience for them to be able to compete at this level. This is the first opportunity that Nicaragua’s involved with this type of tournament,” Martínez told MLB.com. “I hope that this is a lesson for our country, for our sport in Nicaragua, for baseball to be able to get better; to be able to get a better perspective to see what we need to do and hopefully the next time we participate we can do better.”