Thursday, March 16, 2023
By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
THE Bahamian-led Great Britain team gave it all they had, but their 2-1 loss to Mexico on Tuesday night eliminated them from further competition in the World Baseball Softball Confederation 2023 World Baseball Classic in Phoenix, Arizona.
Playing in the late game, Great Britain needed to win to stay alive, but fell short in a 2-1 decision. In the top of the sixth inning, BJ Murray singled with two out to score Chavez Young to tie the score at 1-1 before Mexico came up with the game-winning run in the bottom of the frame. Tahnaj Thomas came in relief and was tagged with the loss.
“It’s a bitter sweet moment because we’re glad we made it to the tournament, but we also thought that we were in every game for the most part and we let a few get away that we could have won,” said Albert Cartwright, who served as the first base coach for Great Britain.
“But it was a great experience for the boys and it gives us more pride to be better for the next tournament in 2026, whether it’s a Bahamian team or continuing to join forces with Great Britain Baseball.”
Great Britain finished with a 1-3 win-loss record in Pool C before they were eliminated. The players coming directly from the Bahamas who participated are now expected to head back to their minor league organisations. They include Tahnaj Thomas and Chavez Young of the Pittsburgh Pirates organisation, Chavez Fernander of the Detroit Tigers, D’Shawn Knowles of the Los Angeles Angels and BJ Murray of the Chicago Cubs.
It was the first time that Great Britain qualified to participate in the WBC, but since 2013, both Cartwright and Antoan Richardson have been a part of the team that played in the qualifying tournament.
Since then, more players were added to the team and there could have been a few more on this year’s team. But Richardson said they are pleased with the players who participated on the team.
“We’re really proud of the group of guys who came together in such a short period of time to get an historic win, the first ever for GB in the World Baseball Classic, which has given GB the opportunity to potentially automatically qualify to participate in the next WBC,” said Richardson, who was the bench coach for GB.
“And this was the first time that Bahamians participated in the World Baseball Classic and coach. I think that is something to be excited and proud about. It’s a lot of firsts for us as a country, the Bahamas, as individuals and we did some firsts collectively as a team for GB, so it’s something more for us to be proud of.”
With GB making its exit, the Bahamian players will be returning to their minor league teams in their quest to continue their journey of one day playing in the Major League like Richardson did. But Richardson said the goal is to get the Bahamas Baseball Association to assemble its own team to eventually play in the WBC and be successful.
“I think we just have too many people in the sport, it’s not just baseball, who have a wealth of knowledge who are just being under utilised time and time again,” said Richardson, who is calling on the powers that be to have the conversation with all involved in baseball to achieve the ultimate goal.
“It’s important that we utilise the resources that we have so we can accelerate this process because we are being left behind. If we are playing catch up, why not take advantage of the people who have these resources to help us accelerate these developmental processes.”
Richardson, who has since retired and is now a first base coach with the San Francisco Giants, the club that first drafted him, said he is always open and available to work along with the programme if the BBA or the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture is willing to entertain him.