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Noah’s Notes: WBC Pool D, Sunday Edition

Two games, two completely different outcomes...or so we thought.

Garrett Stubbs #21 of Team Israel hits a two-RBI double in the eighth inning of Game 3 of Pool D between Team Nicaragua and Team Israel at loanDepot Park on Sunday, March 12, 2023 in Miami, Florida Photo by Rob Tringali/WBCI/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Israel pulled off a stunning, eighth-inning, come-from-behind win against Nicaragua on Sunday, while Venezuela beat the brakes off of Puerto Rico’s pitching staff early and often. But Puerto Rico made it interesting late.

Let’s start with the notes from the early game.

Nicaragua @ Israel

2023 World Baseball Classic Pool D: Game 3 Team Nicaragua v. Team Israel Photo by Rob Tringali/WBCI/MLB Photos via Getty Images


Get it? Left-On-Base? LOBster? (I’ll show myself out)

Pitching was the story throughout most of the game as both pitching staffs worked in and out of jams to keep the game scoreless heading into the fifth inning. The two teams combined to leave ten runners on base in the first four innings of play. Dean Kremer put on a stellar performance, completing four scoreless innings, allowing three hits and one walk while striking out four. He threw 49 pitches (32 strikes). Josh Wolf gave up Nicaragua’s sole run in the fifth inning, allowing a leadoff walk to come around and score on a two-out double by Steven Leyton. Nicaragua would hold that lead through the seventh inning, with Israel stranding four more runners in the fifth and sixth innings for a total of 12 runners left on base through the first seven innings.

There can be miracles if you believe.

That right there is a movie reference! Didn’t see that coming, did ya?

The oil in the Temple lasted for eight nights, so naturally, the comeback happened in the eighth inning for Team Israel. Alex Dickerson got the rally going with a one-out base hit and was replaced at second by pinch runner Jakob Goldfarb after the unofficial team captain Ryan Lavarnway, was hit by a pitch. And then the real fun began. Designated hitter Spencer Horwitz smacked a base hit into shallow left, and the throw home sailed high, allowing Jakob Goldfarb to score from second and tie the game.

The high throw also let Lavarnway and Horwitz move up into scoring position. Noah Mendlinger was intentionally walked to load the bases. Then Ty Kelly hit a ball softly in the infield that was fielded by the pitcher, who threw to the catcher for the forceout of Lavarnway at home plate. The catcher failed to vacate the plate area, which caused Lavarnway to collide with his legs and upset the entire Nicaraguan bench. They asked the umpires to convene and discuss whether Lavarnway had interfered with the catcher, and they ultimately ruled that he did not.

Garrett Stubbs doesn’t care who is on the mound.

Now would probably be a good time to note that all this was happening with Yankees reliever Jonathan Loaisiga on the mound. He is Nicaragua’s best pitcher. That didn’t faze Garrett Stubbs, though. He sent the 2-2 pitch from Loaisiga over the left field wall on a bounce for a two-run go-ahead RBI ground-rule double. Israel now had the 3-1 lead.

Hold ‘em and go home.

With Richard Bleier having pitched a 1-2-3 top of the eighth and being in line for the win, Brewers righty Robert Stock came on to pitch the ninth in a save situation for Team Israel. A groundout to shortstop and two strikeouts later, the ballgame was over, and Israel was victorious.

Israel improved to 1-0 in pool play while handing Nicaragua their second loss in as many games.

Noah’s Notes.

Noah’s Notes within an article called “Noah’s Notes?” Have you gone completely insane??

  • Well, that was fun.
  • FUN!?!?! That was really stressful if you asked me!
  • Oh, relax, the Men in Blue pulled off the W!
  • Don’t you tell me to relax!
  • You’re yelling at yourself again... do the notes... It’s already 3:30 PM on the day AFTER this game, and you still have to write about Venezuela vs. Puerto Rico game.
  • Garrett Stubbs had a two-hit game and made some slick plays at third base, a position he has never played before IN HIS LIFE.
  • Alex Dickerson—who himself is not Jewish, but his wife is—had a two-hit game of his own.
  • Four batters reached base on hit-by-pitches for Israel.
  • Nicaragua faces off against the Dominican Republic at 12 PM on Monday. (That game finished while I wrote this—I’m VERY BEHIND, OK)
  • Israel faces off against Puerto Rico at 7 PM on Monday.

Now for the other game...

Venezuela @ Puerto Rico

I’m running low on time, so this will be short...

World Baseball Classic Pool D: Venezuela v Puerto Rico Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images


Pablo López put on a masterful performance in his return to loanDepot park. Tossing four and two-thirds of an inning and only allowing one run against a feisty Puerto Rican lineup. He even got run support for the first time in his career as his teammates put up four runs in the first inning. He struck out six batters and didn’t allow a walk. He was removed from the game with two outs in the fifth inning to a rousing ovation from the crowd at his old stomping grounds. Venezuela was winning 9-1 at the time of his removal.

Puerto Rico attempts a comeback.

With Pablo out of the game, the Puerto Rican hitters finally got a chance to have some fun. They pushed four runs across in the sixth inning off of Nationals pitcher Andres Machado to make it a 9-5 game. They threatened to score more in the following innings but were ultimately only able to plate one off Jhoulys Chacin and nothing off Silvino Bracho. With a loud crowd behind them, Venezuela would take this game by the final score of 9-6.

Noah’s Notes.

  • I had serious concerns about the structural integrity of this ballpark with the number of fans and the energy they were giving off.
  • My watch gave up on alerting me to the noise level before the first inning ended.
  • The announced attendance was a sellout crowd of 35,615.
  • Pablo was very thankful for his time here in Miami and for everything this city has done for him and his family.
  • Venezuela improves to 2-0 in pool play while Puerto Rico drops to 1-1.
  • Venezuela has a day off before facing Nicaragua on Tuesday at noon.
  • Puerto Rico will face off against Israel on Monday at 7 PM.
  • They are literally taking batting practice as I write this.
  • ‘Til Tmrw (Today)