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Japan to Face Upstart Mexico in World Baseball Classic Semifinal Showdown

Hard-throwing youngster Roki Sasaki is scheduled to start the game for Samurai Japan, which needs a win to advance to the World Baseball Classic final.



World Baseball Classic
Roki Sasaki made his World Baseball Classic debut against the Czech Republic at Tokyo Dome on March 11. (Eugene Hoshiko/AP)

Read the full story on SportsLook - Japan to Face Upstart Mexico in World Baseball Classic Semifinal Showdown

Japan will face Mexico in the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic in a showdown that few would have predicted before the start of the tournament.

While Japan was pegged by many to advance to the final round, Mexico is a bit of a surprise to make it this far.

Roki Sasaki will take to the mound for Monday's win-or-go-home semifinal (Tuesday, March 21 at 8 AM JST) at loanDepot Park in Miami.

Mexico stunned Puerto Rico 5-4 on Friday, March 17 to book its place in the semifinals.

Mexico left fielder Randy Arozarena (left) and third baseman Isaac Paredes celebrate after defeating Puerto Rico 5-4 at the World Baseball Classic on March 17 in Miami. (Marta Lavandier/AP)

Mexico's Luis Urias singles to right field during the seventh inning against Puerto Rico. (Marta Lavandier/AP)

In that game, Mexico fought back from a 4-0 deficit so nobody should be taking it lightly. 

In pool play the Mexicans went 3-1, thrashing the United States 11-5, edging Britain 2-1 and then hammering Canada 10-3. Their only loss in the first round came surprisingly against Colombia.


Mexico has big league stars such as Isaac Peredes and Randy Arozarena of the Tampa Bay Rays.

After Puerto Rico took a 4-0 lead in the first inning of the quarterfinal showdown, the 24-year-old Peredes delivered a solo blast 412 feet into left-center field off Marcus Stroman the following frame to halt Puerto Rico's momentum. 

Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.

Author: Jim Armstrong

The author is a longtime journalist who has covered sports in Japan for over 25 years. You can find his articles on SportsLook.

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