The star-studded World Baseball Classic is delivering world-class baseball, upsets and fantastic finishes as first-round Pool Play is being held in Tokyo, Seoul, Miami and Jalisco.
The biggest surprise thus far is Team Israel, who opened its Pool Play in Seoul with a stunning 2-1 extra-inning win over South Korea. Former Kitsap BlueJackets infielder Scott Burcham, a Colorado Rockies prospect, delivered the game-winning hit.
He is Israel’s starting shorstop and is joined on Team Israel by WCL alum pitchers Gabe Cramer (Stanford/Bellingham, 2014) and Joey Wagman (Cal/Poly/Walla Walla, 2010). Burcham is 4-for-18 for the Pool A champs; who beat South Korea, Taiwan and The Netherlands. Cramer and Wagman both have made one appearance in relief for Israel.
Burcham. who starred in college at Sacramento State, played for Kitsap in 2012.
Yesterday, Team Israel beat Cuba 4-1 in a major upset at the Tokyo Dome in second-round Pool E Play.
Several other WCL alums are participating in the WBC, including Philadelphia Phillies prospect Nick Pivetta of Team Canada. Pivetta, who pitched for the Victoria HarbourCats in 2013, started yesterday versus WBC upstart Colombia. He pitched 4 solid innings in Canada’s 4-1 loss. Team Canada also features former Kelowna Falcons pitcher Jim Henderson.
Team Italy’s roster includes former WCLers Sam Gaviglio (Oregon State/Corvallis) and A.J. Morris (Kansas State/Moses Lake). Gaviglio started yesterday vs. Venezuela in a wild game won by Venezuela 11-10 in extra innings. Morris has made two relief appearances. Gaviglio is a prospect in the Seattle Mariners organization.
WCL alum Trevor Frank is on the Team Mexico roster. He has yet to make an appearance. Frank is a prospect in the San Diego Padres organization and starred at UC Riverside. He pitched for Corvallis in 2012.
ABOUT THE WEST COAST LEAGUE
The West Coast League is the premier summer collegiate baseball league west of the Mississippi. The 13-year-old, 11-team, professionally operated wood-bat league located in the beautiful Pacific Northwest features pro prospects from major conferences across the nation and an unparalleled history out west of great fan and player experiences in addition to the best summer weather in North America. In 2016, 88 players with WCL experience were selected in the MLB June draft, and more than 230 WCL alums appeared in affiliated professional baseball including 28 in the major leagues, such as 2015 home-run leader Chris Davis (Baltimore), 2015 NL Rookie of the Year runner-up Matt Duffy (Tampa Bay) and rising star pitchers Matt Andriese (Tampa Bay), Matt Boyd (Detroit) and James Paxton (Seattle). Overall member attendance was 379,611 this past season.