Underdog Czech Republic Hopes To Build Upon World Baseball Classic Appearance

By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network

World Baseball Classic qualifier Czech Republic is appearing in the tournament for the first time in their nation’s history. 

The Czech Republic is one of five nations to appear in the 20-nation field tournament from the World Baseball Softball Confederation Europe (WBSC) sector, the most since the World Baseball Classic started in 2006. Israel, Italy, Netherlands, and Great Britain are the other four nations representing in the World Baseball Classic from the WBSC Europe sector.  

The Czech Republic qualified for the World Baseball Classic last September, beating Spain 3-1 in Regensburg, Germany. Manager Pavel Chadim will have a big hill to climb in this World Baseball Classic, as the Czech Republic will take on preliminary power houses Japan, Korea, Australia, and China during Pool B at the Tokyo Dome from March 8-13.  The roster will be evaluated from players in their country’s Extra Liga circuit, other European professional leagues, MLB Draft and MLB Independent partnership leagues, MLB organizational players and top prospects from American universities and high schools.  

Chadim’s ball club will play their first game of the World Baseball Classic against China on March 9 at 10 p.m. EST on Tubi.  

Major League veteran Eric Sogard will suit up for the Czech Republic during the tournament, along with Georgia Tech-bound Michal Kovala, who was named the No. 1 European prospect by Perfect Game.  Most of the Czech roster will consist of players born in the Czech Republic, along with some who have playing in the Czech Republic’s Extra Liga and age group circuits prior to making the senior national team.  

Catcher and power hitter Martin Cervenka, who was in the New York Mets organization until 2021 will provide a great bat for the middle of the Czech Republic’s lineup. Cervenka nearly became the first player that was born in the Czech Republic to make it to the Major Leagues.

The Czech Republic can possibly storm out of this tournament with two wins against Australia and China. The tough opponents from the other baseball powerhouses in Pool B, such as Japan and Korea, will be a tough task for the Czech Republic in their first appearance of the tournament.  

The Czech Republic is currently ranked 15th in the World Baseball Softball Confederation Rankings, and is the second-best team currently in the World Baseball Softball Confederation Europe sector, falling just behind of the Netherlands, which is ranked No. 7 overall.  

Czech Republic will arrive in Osaka, Japan on March 5 before playing two exhibition games against Nippon Professional Baseball organizations. The games will be played at Hinata Stadium on March 6 at 7 p.m. JST and on March 7 at 7 p.m. JST.

Czech Republic World Baseball Classic Roster 

Pitchers (Team)
Jeff Barto (Trebic Nuclears) 
Tomas Duffek (Eagles Praha) 
Lukas Ercoli (Hrosi Brno) 
Jan Novak (Sokul Hluboka)
Filip Capka (Draci Brno) 
Lukas Hlouch (Hrosi Brno) 
Michal Kovala (Arrows Ostrava)
David Mergans (Milano)
Daniel Padysak (Charleston University) 
Ondrej Satoria (Arrows Ostrava) 
Jan Tomek (Regensburg) 
Martin Schneider (Draci Brno)
Marek Minarik (Tempo Praha) 
Boris Vecerka (Arizona Diamondbacks)

Catchers (Team)
Martin Cervenka (Eagles Praha)
Daniel Vavrusa (Heidenheim) 
Martin Muzik (Sokol Hluboka)

Infielders (Team)
Willie Escala (South Dade HS) 
Jakub Hajtmar (Arrows Ostrava) 
Jakub Kubica (Arrows Ostrava) 
Milan Prokop (Draci Brno) 
Filip Smola (Tempo Praha) 
Petr Zyma (Eagles Praha) 
Marek Krejcirik (Hroši Brno)
Eric Sogard (MLB Free Agent) 
Vojtech Mensik (Hroši Brno)

Outfielders (Team)
Marek Chlup (West Virginia Black Bears)
Arnost Dubovy (Draci Brno) 
Jakub Grepl (Arrows Ostrava) 
Matej Mensik (Technika Brno) 

Coaching Staff  
Pavel Chadim – Manager 
Alex Derhak – Hitting Coach
John Hussey – Pitching Coach
Michael Griffin – First Base Coach 
David Winkler – Third Base Coach 
Dusan Randak – Bullpen Coach 
Joe Truesdale – Quality Control Coach

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