World Baseball Classic Roundup: Czech Republic Rallies Past China To Continue Cinderella Run

Image credit: Matej Mensik (Photo by Kazuhiro Nogi/Getty Images)

Czech Republic 8, China 5

What Happened: Martin Muzik hit the go-ahead three-run homer in the top of the ninth inning and the Czech Republic outlasted China in the first WBC game in the country’s history. The Czechs held China hitless through the first five innings to jump out to a 4-1 lead, but China rallied for four runs in the seventh to swing the momentum and take a 5-4 lead. That’s where the score stayed until the ninth, when Muzik hammered a first-pitch changeup off China closer Kwon Ju into the left-field seats for a go-ahead three-run homer. Filip Smola added an RBI single for insurance, and former Phillies and Pirates prospect Marek Minarek finished it off in the ninth.



Stars of the Game: Muzik had a sacrifice fly in addition to his game-winning blast and finished 1 for 3 with four RBIs. His home run added to his legacy of big hits for the Czech Republic—he also hit the decisive two-run home run in the Czech Republic’s 3-1 win over Spain in the qualifiers that sent it to the WBC. Matej Mensik went 2-for-3 with a homer and Minarek closed out the game with 2.2 scoreless innings of relief for the win.

Prospect of Note: Czech Republic righthander Daniel Padysak, who pitched four seasons at Charleston Southern, got the start and pitched four no-hit innings. The 22-year-old righthander sat 90-94 mph and got nine swings and misses, most of any pitcher in the game. China RHP Alan Carter, an Angels prospect, allowed only one hit and an unearned run in three innings of relief. He walked one, struck out four and touched 96 mph with his fastball.

What It Means: The Czech Republic, a team mostly comprised of working professionals who play on the weekends in the Czech Extraliga, continued its Cinderella run with a thrilling win in its WBC debut. The road only gets tougher from here—China was the weakest team in the WBC field—but even winning one game represents a huge accomplishment for the Czech Republic in its growth as a baseball nation. China, meanwhile, dropped to 0-2 and missed out on its best chance to record a win in the WBC.

Cuba 13, Panama 4

What Happened: After losing its first two games of the tournament, Cuba feasted on Panama’s bullpen, rallying from a two-run deficit with 11 runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. Yadir Drake, Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert Jr. all has RBI singles to give Cuba the lead in the sixth. Moncada added a two-run RBI single in the seventh and then walked to drive in a run in the eighth. Matt Hardy, Randall Delgado, James Gonzalez and Wilfredo Pereira allowed 11 runs combined in just three innings of relief.

Stars of the Game: For Cuba, Drake went 4-for-4 with with a double and three runs scored. Moncada went 3-for-5 with a double and four RBIs. Roel Santos went 3-for-5 with three runs scored. For Panama, Ruben Tejeda homered. 

Prospect of Note: A’s minor leaguer Miguel Romero struck out four of the 10 batters he faced in three scoreless innings of relief work for Cuba. 

What It Means: This win both keeps Cuba’s hopes of advancing alive but also helps its chances of staying out of the basement. win for Cuba, as it gives the team a solid chance to avoid finishing at the bottom of the pool. The top four finishers in each pool advance to the 2026 World Baseball Classic while the fifth-place finisher is relegated to the qualifiers. For Panama, the situation is now much of the same as Cuba. Both teams are now 1-2. Cuba faces Taiwan and Panama faces Italy in their pool play finales.

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