Czech Republic Wins its First-Ever World Baseball Game

Martin Muzik hit a three-run homer in the top of the ninth inning and the Czech Republic beat China 8-5 on Friday in the World Baseball Classic.

The Czech Republic overcame a 5-4 deficit in the ninth, with Filip Smola adding an RBI single in the team’s first game in Group A.

Matej Mensik also homered for the Czechs, connecting in the third. Marek Minarik was the winner, closing with 2 2/3 scoreless innings.

Hai Cheng Gong took the loss as China dropped to 0-2. It lost to Japan 8-1 on Thursday.

The all-amateur Czech team has had fun in Japan. A few of the players even went surfing in the run-up to the tournament during games in Miyazaki in southwestern Japan.

“We’re enjoying the Japanese stay,” Czech player Marek Chlup said. “At Miyazaki, some players swam.”

The Czechs will next face Japan at 7 p.m. Saturday, while China will play Australia at noon Saturday, both at the dome.


The Czech team features full-time firemen and teachers — but they are “not scared one bit” about facing superstar Shohei Ohtani and Japan.

Czech captain Petr Zyma, a full-time financial trader, says it will not faze a team desperate to show the “beauty” of baseball to people back home.

“We wanted to play against Japan because I believe they’re the best team in the world,” said the 33-year-old, who works 40 hours a week and practises in his spare time.

“They won it two times and we want to face them, enjoy it, be relaxed. It’s going to be extremely difficult but we came here to either win or learn.”

Zyma says baseball is “maybe the 25th sport in terms of popularity” in the Czech Republic, and games in the domestic Extraliga take place in front of tiny crowds.

There are around 7,000 registered baseball players in the country.

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