The World Baseball Classic is in its second week and thus far has lived up to advance billing as a thoroughly entertaining, competitive, and visceral tournament. Star players whose contract values are in the hundreds of millions of dollars are showing emotions and energy that remind them, as well as the multitude of fans watching, the reason they first played the sport was purely for the love of the game.

Some teams are looking dominant while others will not make it out of pool play. Two-time defending WBC champion Japan swept through its four games in Pool B with a plus-38 run differential, led by reigning AL MVP Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels. Pool play ended last night (Wednesday) with two powerhouses, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, facing each other in a loser-go-home Pool D matchup  in Miami. Venezuela already clinched its spot in the next round out of Pool D.

Team USA needed a win over Colombia to advance to the quarterfinals out of Pool C after a shocking 11–5 loss to Mexico on Sunday night. “We’re a really good baseball team,” said Team USA reliever Brady Singer after the defeat. “I’m not too worried about it. We have to come back fighting tomorrow.”

Under manager Mark DeRosa, a native of Carlstadt, New Jersey, and former University of Pennsylvania star who played for eight teams in Major League Baseball from 1998–2013,  they bounced back on Monday, crushing Canada 12–1. The game ended with Canada up to bat in the seventh inning due to the WBC’s 10-run mercy rule in which the team with a 10-run or more lead is declared the winner.

Team USA put up nine runs in the first inning, highlighted by Mike Trout blasting a three-run homer in his second at-bat of the inning. 

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