U.S., Canada Qualify For World Cup



The U.S. and Canada clinched the final two spots in the World Cup as they both beat the Czech Republic twice at the World Cup Qualifying tournament in Bradenton, Fla..

The two teams advance to the International Baseball Federation World Cup in The Netherlands this September. The qualifier was added to the international baseball schedule after Canada and the U.S. opted out of attending the IBAF's qualifier in Columbia because of safety concerns.

With only three teams in the qualifier, the U.S. and Canada were heavy favorites over the Czech Republic, something that quickly was proved true. Canada beat the Czechs 11-0 on Sunday in a game shortened to seven innings because of the mercy rule and 9-1 on Monday.

The U.S. qualifying team, selected from players recently released by teams at the end of spring training and independent league stars, had a little tougher time clinching its spot, as the U.S. led only 6-5 n the eighth inning of its tournament opener against the Czech's before Bryon Jeffcoat hit a three-run inside-the-park home run to give the U.S. the 9-5 victory. Team USA beat the Czechs in the tournament's final game 9-0.

The U.S. and Canada split their two games. Canada beat Team USA 9-4 on Saturday behind Geoff McCallum's 5-for-5 and Greg Morrison's 4-for-4 performances. Team USA bounced back on Sunday, as Brant Ust hit a grand slam to lead the U.S. to an 11-8 win.