Panama defeated Argentina 9-3 to qualify for the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile (Photo: Central Caribe Sports)
By Conor Liguori
World Baseball Network
Panama, the No. 14 ranked country in the World Baseball Rankings, defeated No. 29 Argentina 9-3 in seven innings to win the final game of the Pan Am Qualifying tournament in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Panama finishes the tournament with a win-loss record of 4-1, and has booked an automatic ticket to the Pan American Games this October in Santiago, Chile. Argentina finishes the tournament with a win-loss record of 3-2.
Both teams were held scoreless until the bottom of the third when Panama scored two runs. Right fielder Luis Castillo reached first base on a fielder’s choice, and Justin Patterson scored from third on the play. One batter later, Jhadiel Santamaria hit a sacrifice fly to center field to put Panama ahead 2-0.
Argentina’s Agustin Tissera tied the game at two with a ground ball to shortstop in the top of the fourth. Exequiel Talevi scored from third on the play, and a throwing error past third base allowed Jacinto Cipriota to score all the way from second.
A pair of RBI singles from Eduardo Thomas and Jose Mordock in the bottom of the fourth gave Panama a 4-2 lead that they would never relinquish. In the bottom of the fifth, Enoc Watts hit a two-run single down the right field line to put Panama ahead 6-2, and Jose Mordock hit a huge bases clearing triple over the center fielder’s head to give Panama a comfortable 9-2 lead.
Jacinto Cipriota hit an RBI single to center field in the top of the sixth to cut Panamas’ lead to 9-3, but Argentina was unable to score additional runs.
Argentina starter Lucas Ramon was the losing pitcher in the contest, allowing four earned runs on five hits in four innings. Ramon struck out two and walked one.
Panama’ starting pitcher Manuel Campos pitched a complete game, and allowed three earned runs on seven hits. Campos struck out five and walked one.
Panama will compete in the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, alongside seven other countries. Three other countries have already qualified, including Brazil as winners of the 2022 South American Baseball Championship, Colombia as winners of the 2021 Junior Pan American Games, and the host nation, Chile. The four remaining participating countries will come from the top three teams at the 2023 Central American and Caribbean Games in San Salvador, and the No. 1 ranked country in the World Baseball Rankings.
Baseball at the 2023 Pan American Games will be held from October 21 to 27 at the Baseball and Softball Center in Cerrillos, a suburb of Santiago.