Colombia earned a berth in the gold medal game at the 2023 Pan American Games in Cerrillos, Chile. (Photo Courtesy of WBSC Americas)
World Baseball Network
A run in the top of the sixth and a run in the top of the seventh was all Colombia needed to earn a berth in Saturday’s gold medal game at the 2023 Pan American Games in Cerrillos, Chile, Friday morning.
Carlos Martinez’ RBI single in the sixth tied Friday’s semifinal game against Panama at 1 apiece, and Fabian Pertuz’ RBI single in the top of the seventh sent Francisco Acuna home with the go-ahead run that held up as Colombia defeated Panama 2-1.
Colombia last won gold at an intercontinental senior event in the 1965 Baseball World Cup. The country won a bronze medal at the Pan American Games during the 1971 tournament, their only Pan American Games medal in baseball. They’ll face Brazil for the gold medal on Saturday at 2 p.m. EDT.
Panama took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second when Edgard Munoz’ two-out single up the middle sent Enoc Watts across the plate with the game’s first run.
Harold Arauz scattered four hits across four scoreless innings for Panama, striking out two and walking none. Relievers Manuel Campos and Severino Gonzalez combined to allow two runs on five hits over the final three innings, with Severino also issuing three walks and taking the loss after giving up the go-ahead run in the seventh.
In the other dugout, Colombia manager Jose Mosquera used a bullpen approach to the game, lifting starter Randy Consuegra after 1.2 innings, having allowed one run on four hits, a walk and three strikeouts.
Four Colombian pitchers – Jorge Martinez, Carlos Diaz, Jhon Peluffo and Ruben Galindo – threw 5.1 scoreless innings, shutting down the Panama offense, allowing just three hits and two walks over the remainder of the game. Galindo earned the win, going the final two innings, allowing one hit and walking two.
A win in the gold medal game on Saturday would give Colombia a significant boost in the World Baseball Rankings. Currently ranked No. 15, Colombia could potentially leap into the top 12 of the WBR, which would give the country a berth in the World Baseball Softball Confederation’s 2024 Premier 12 Tournament. Ahead of Colombia are No. 14 Czech Republic, No. 13 Italy, and No. 12 Panama, so by advancing to the gold medal game in Chile, Colombia will gain ground on all three of those teams.
The field for that event will be the top 12 nations in the World Baseball Rankings as of Dec. 31, 2023.