In the World Baseball Classic qualifiers in Brooklyn, NY on Friday, Jared Lakind helped Team Israel to a berth in the finals, as they defeated Brazil by a 1-0 score. In the second game, Kyle Simmons and Great Britain took out Pakistan in a one-sided contest.
Lakind came on to pitch the sixth inning with his team already leading 1-0. He walked the lead-off batter, then after a grounder that resulted in an out at second base, Lakind issued another walk. Both runners advanced on stolen bases, putting two men in scoring position with one out. Lakind settled down and picked up back-to-back strikeouts to end his only inning.
Lakind looked a little rusty after having some time off since Altoona was eliminated from the playoffs. He last pitched 15 days ago, throwing 1.1 scoreless innings against Akron. Lakind usually sits 90-92, and was hitting 94 MPH late this year. In Friday’s game, he was 88-89 MPH and leaving his pitches up. He needed 32 pitches to get through his only inning.
The WBC has pitch limits and restrictions on pitchers, but that won’t affect Lakind with a day off for Israel today. Due to throwing at least 30 pitches, he wouldn’t have been available today if Israel lost on Friday and needed to play. That pitch total only requires one day off, so he will be available on Sunday in the finals.
Kyle Simmons started at third base for the second game in a row. That’s a position he hasn’t played in two seasons as a pro with the DSL Pirates. He went 0-for-3 in the opener on Thursday, then bounced back with a strong game on Friday. He had two walks and a line drive single in three plate appearances. Simmons stole a base and scored a run. In the field, he handled both chances cleanly. With the score out of hand by the fifth inning, Great Britain emptied their bench and Simmons had the rest of the night off.
Great Britain will now play Brazil at 8:00 PM tonight, with the winner playing Israel on Sunday in the finals. That game will be shown on a slight tape delay on MLB Network.