Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Mercy! Italy Beats Canada Yet Again at World Baseball Classic, 14-4

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Mercy! Italy Beats Canada Yet Again at World Baseball Classic, 14-4

Article excerpt

Canada loses opening game to Italy at WBC


PHOENIX - All the humiliation and disbelief of a stunning loss to Italy four years ago was bad enough. It was unfathomable for Canada that history would repeat itself at the World Baseball Classic.

But history didn't just turn on Canada -- it crushed a team that now needs two unlikely wins and a mathematical miracle to reach the second round.

Chris Colabello hit a three-run homer as Italy beat Canada 14-4 in a game that was ended by the mercy rule in the eighth inning Friday after not one, but two walk-off victories.

The first came on what appeared to be a grand slam by Mike Costanzo. Italy, which swarmed the field to celebrate, was forced back to the dugout after replay showed the hit was a ground-rule double that scored only two runners.

But one batter later, Mario Chiarini's single scored the run that put Italy ahead by the 10-run limit and sent Canada slumping to the locker-room.

"Obviously we weren't happy coming into the clubhouse," said outfielder Michael Saunders. "Baseball's a grind, man. Baseball is so mental and we got to learn to let this go. The quicker the better. You've got to have a short memory whether good or bad. We have a lot of tournament left. No one said this was going to be easy.

"So we've got to come in ready to go tomorrow. We lost today and we've got to forget about it."

Canada (0-1) now faces must-win games against Mexico on Saturday and the United States on Sunday. If Canada wins those games, and is tied for second place in Pool D with a 2-1 record, then the tiebreaker is decided by run differential from the games between the tied teams.

Fresh off a surprise 6-5 win over Mexico on Thursday, the numbers put Italy (2-0) on the cusp of a major breakthrough. The team's previous lone highlight at the WBC was in 2009 when it eliminated Canada 6-2 at Toronto's Rogers Centre.

Marco Mazzieri, Italy's manager, said he couldn't have expected his team's results before the tournament began. Italy features few major-leaguers -- Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is the best known of the group -- and the majority of the team is made up of players born in America with Italian heritage.

"Results, I don't know, but I know what we are getting as far as people, and I love my team," he said. "I love all my players. We've got a great coaching staff and we knew we were going to do well.

"How well? We couldn't tell. But we prepared to do well, and actually these guys just executed and it couldn't be any more perfect."

It's a bad spot pitcher Scott Mathieson said Canada shouldn't be in.

"Not to take anything away from (Italy), they played unbelievable," said Mathieson. "But you look at our team and I don't personally think we should lose like that. Any time you give up that many runs it's frustrating. …

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