Brazil’s Lukas Rojo celebrates in their 5-3 win against Panama at the Pan American Games. (Photo Courtesy of WBSC Americas)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
On the first day of the super round of the 2023 Pan American Games in Cerrillos, Chile, No. 24 Brazil beat No. 12 Panama 5-3 to remain undefeated at the tournament with a 4-0 record.
Panama is now 3-1 at the 2023 Pan American Games.
Both countries are still in contention for their first gold medal at an intercontinental senior event tournament.
Brazil got on the board first in the top of the first inning when Victor Coutinho lifted a solo home run over the left field wall.
In the bottom of the second inning, Panama tied the game up at one when shortstop Eduardo Thomas reached on a fielding error from Brazil third baseman Pedro Silva as center fielder Jhonny Santos came in to score to tie it up at 1-1.
Brazil starting pitcher Murilo Gouvea was taken out of the game after throwing 2.2 innings and allowing five hits, one earned run, one walk, and four strikeouts.
Panama starter Steven Fuentes pitched 5.1 innings allowing two hits, one earned run, one walk, and two strikeouts.
The score remained tied at one until the top of the seventh inning when Brazil designated hitter Salomon Koba led off the inning with a single through the right side of the infield. The next batter, left fielder Fabio Murakami, singled to the left side of the infield to give Brazil runners on first and second with no outs. Then Brazil second baseman Lucas Rojo dropped a bunt and Brazil leaded the bases loaded.
Panama manager Hipolito Ortiz would go to his bullpen to call upon relief pitcher Severino Gonzalez to record the final three outs of the top of the seventh inning.
The next batter, pinch hitter Osvaldo Carvalho, laced a bases-clearing double into the left center field gap as pinch runner Lucas Sakay, Murakami, and Rojo came across to score and give Brazil a 4-1 lead. A few moments later, Pedro Silva roped a RBI single to left center field and Carvalho came into score to extend the lead to 5-1.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Panama would cut the lead in half when second baseman Edgard Munoz hit a two-run home run to make it 5-3.
Brazil relief pitcher Eric Taniguchi got Santos to strikeout swinging for the final out of the game as Brazil remains undefeated at the 2023 Pan American Games.
Brazil qualified for the 2023 Pan American Games by beating Argentina 2-0 in the 2022 South American Baseball Championship in July 2022 in Lima, Peru. Brazil has won eight gold medals at the South American Baseball Championship, the most since the event began in 1957.
Brazil has not won multiple games at an intercontinental senior event since the 2005 Baseball World Cup when they beat South Africa and Sweden in Pool A of that tournament. Brazil has not appeared in the Pan American Games since they were the host nation with the event that took place in Rio de Janeiro in 2007.
This is the first time that Brazil is appearing in an intercontinental senior event tournament since appearing in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, though they did play in the 2017 and 2023 World Baseball Classic qualifiers.
Panama has not won an international senior event since the 2010 Central American Games beating Nicaragua in the gold medal game.
Panama qualified for the Pan American Qualifiers in June in Buenos Aires, Argentina, when they beat host nation Argentina in the final qualifier game 9-3.
Panama has never medaled at the Pan American Games in the history of their nation.
The last time Panama made an appearance in the Pan American Games was the 2011 baseball tournament where they did not win a single game and finished in last place at the event.
Brazil will play No. 3 Mexico at 2 p.m. EDT on Friday at Cerrillos Bicentennial Park. The winner will have a berth in the gold medal game on Saturday at 2 p.m. EDT
Panama will play No. 15 Colombia on Friday at 8:30 a.m. EDT, with the winner advancing to the gold medal game.
NOTEBOOK: If Panama medals at the 2023 Pan American Games, it could have big implications for the next World Baseball Rankings, which will be released on December 31, 2023. A top-12 ranking would qualify Panama for the Premier 12 tournament in November 2024, giving them a berth in the event for the first time.
Seventh Place Game – No. 6 (2-2) Venezuela 7, (0-4) Chile 0
World No. 6 Venezuela took seventh place at the 2023 Pan American Games in Cerrillos, Chile, beating the host nation 7-0.
Venezuela finished seventh in the 2023 Pan American Games and will await the World Baseball Rankings to release on December 31, 2023, to finalize a berth in the Premier 12 tournament in November 2024. It is unlikely that Venezuela will drop out of the top 12 in the WBR. Venezuela finished the 2023 Pan American Games with a 2-2 overall record.
Venezuela has not won gold at an international senior event since the 1959 Pan American Games in Chicago, where they beat Puerto Rico in the gold medal game.
Chile only scored two runs at the 2023 Pan American Games in the first time the nation participated in the tournament.
Chile’s starting pitcher, Sebastian Vega, threw three innings, allowing seven hits, five earned runs, one walk, and one strikeout.
Chile’s offense only managed three hits on Tuesday against Venezuela’s pitching staff.
Venezuela scored their first four runs of the game in the bottom of the first inning, starting with first baseman Edgar Bracho’s double to left center field that sent shortstop Yonathan Jimenez in to score the first run of the game. The next batter, center fielder Eduardo Diaz, launched a three-run home run over the left field wall, scoring designated hitter Osman Gonzalez and Bracho to make it 4-0.
Venezuela starting pitcher Brayan Moreno threw three innings allowing two hits, one walk, and four strikeouts during Thursday’s win.
Venezuela relief pitcher Jose Martinez recorded the win and entered the game in the fourth inning throwing two innings and striking out four batters.
Venezuela’s pitching staff combined for one hit allowed, two walks, and six strikeouts.
The Pan American Games Super Round will play a full slate of games on Friday, October 27 prior to the gold medal and bronze medal game.
The losers of the two games on October 27 will play in the bronze medal game.
The gold medal and bronze medal game will be on Saturday, October 28.
2023 Pan American Games Schedule
All Games will be played at Cerrillos Bicentennial Park
Thursday, October 26
8:30 a.m. EDT – Super Round – No. 3 Mexico vs. No. 15 Colombia
2 p.m. EDT – 5th Place Game – No. 8 Cuba vs. No. 9 Dominican Republic
Friday, October 27
8:30 a.m. EDT – Super Round – No. 15 Colombia vs. No. 12 Panama
2 p.m. EDT – Super Round – No. 3 Mexico vs. No. 24 Brazil
Saturday, October 28
8:30 a.m. EDT – Bronze Medal Game
2 p.m. EDT – Gold Medal Game