The United States rallied twice Sunday to defeat Canada, 9-4, in Phoenix and advance to the second round of the World Baseball Classic. The United States lost to Mexico Friday but recovered to beat Italy and Canada and finish 2-1 in Pool D.
Adam Jones had a two-run double and Shane Victorino had an RBI single in the eighth Sunday to put the United States in front. Eric Hosmer drove in three more runs with a double in the ninth inning.
“Words can't describe it,” Hosmer said, recalling how he felt standing on second base after his big hit. “It is hard to hold your emotions right there. It is just an unbelievable feeling and when you hear the crowd chant ‘USA’ and the other crowd chanting ‘Canada,’ it is an unbelievable experience.”
The U.S. is the top seed out of this bracket heading to Miami and will play an 8 p.m. ET game on Tuesday against Puerto Rico.
Team USA has never won the World Baseball Classic, but not making it to the second round would have been “embarrassing,” Team USA second baseman Brandon Phillips said. Japan has won the previous two World Baseball Classic tournaments, in 2006 and 2009.
“This is where baseball started and we represent our country,” Phillips said. “I just feel that if we had lost we didn't do our job. We have to go out there and try to be the first American team to win the WBC. That is our goal.”
Baseball was in the Olympic Games until 2008 and has been working in a joint bid with softball to return to the Games in 2020. The International Olympic Committee executive board will meet in May in St. Petersburg, Russia, to decide which sport or sports to propose for 2020 inclusion. The final vote will be made at the IOC general assembly, in September in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Heather Richardson’s efforts throughout the ISU Long Track Speedskating World Cup season paid off Saturday. The High Point, N.C., native claimed the overall World Cup title at 1,000 meters after finishing 11th in the event at the World Cup Finals in Heerenveen, Netherlands.
Richardson won four of the seven 1,000-meter races this season. Brittany Bowe made it a 1-2 finish for the United States, placing fourth in the race and second on the season. Shani Davis finished third in the men’s 1,500 meters Sunday.
The United States finished the long track season with 10 gold, nine silver and eight bronze medals.
“We may not have won as much hardware this weekend as we normally do, but I’m very happy with the results we achieved this season in the overall rankings,” national sprint head coach Ryan Shimabukuro said. “It’s the first time in World Cup history that our team had two U.S. women in the overall rankings in a single distance in the same season, and for Heather and Brittany to take first and second spots felt even better.”
Elsewhere, on the short track, Olympic medalist J.R. Celski had a shot at the overall title at the World Championships this weekend until he was given a yellow card in the 1,000-meter race after making a pass that led to a crash along with Canada’s Charles Hamlin.
Before falling short at the World Championships, Celski won seven World Cup medals on the season.
Ted Ligety continued a historic run of success, winning Saturday’s race at Kranjska Gora, Slovenia to clinch the fourth FIS Audi World Cup giant slalom season title of his career.
“It’s cool to go into the World Cup Finals without the stress of the giant slalom title,” said Ligety, who is third in the overall season standings and concentrating on holding that spot.
Ligety became the first to win five career giant slalom races in Kranjska Gora. He also became the first man since 1996 to reach the podium in the first seven giant slalom races of a World Cup season.
With five giant slalom titles this season, Ligety is the first with that accomplishment since Austria's Hermann Maier in 2000-01.
“It’s tough to rank this title with any other,” said, Ligety, who was 18th in the slalom Sunday. “They’re all special in different ways. Winning my first title was the most special, but this year was really good.
“It’s far and away my best season and winning every giant slalom except two and being on the podium in the other ones is doing it in the right fashion. This has been a dream season in the giant slalom.”
Read more about Ligety here.
Elsewhere, Mikaela Shiffrin finished third in the slalom Sunday at the World Cup event in Ofterschwang, Germany. Shiffrin, who reached the podium in the slalom for the fifth time this season, was in first place after the first run.
Julia Mancuso finished eighth in the giant slalom on Saturday, her 29th birthday.
Cross Country: Kikkan Randall won a photo finish Saturday in the freestyle sprint to win her second straight FIS Cross Country World Cup sprint title. Randall has a 488-280 lead over Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk with two sprints remaining. Sadie Bjornsen had a career-best, ninth-place finish.
Freestyle: Tom Wallisch won slopestyle skiing gold Saturday at the FIS Freestyle World Championships in Norway. Teammate Nick Goepper picked up bronze, behind Great Britain's James Woods. Grete Eliassen earned bronze for Team USA in the women's competition. The event concluded Sunday with skicross competition, where John Teller claimed bronze for the United States' first world championship medal in skicross. Earlier in the event, 2010 Olympic gold medalist Hannah Kearney won gold in the moguls and bronze in the dual moguls while Patrick Deneen earned bronze in both events. Halfpipe skiers David Wise and Torin Yater-Wallace earned gold and silver.
Nordic Combined: Bryan and Taylor Fletcher finished seventh in the team sprint at the Lahti Ski Games. Bryan Fletcher was also seventh in the individual Nordic Combined.
Nate Holland reached a World Cup podium for the first time this season with a second-place finish in the snowboardcross Saturday in Arosa, Switzerland. Faye Gulini led the U.S. women with a seventh-place finish.
The United States finished 10th in the team relay Sunday as the World Cup event concluded in Sochi, Russia, site of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
Lowell Bailey, Tim Burke, Russell Currier and Leif Nordgren formed the team. Annelies Cook finished 18th in the women’s 7.5-kilometer sprint held in thick fog Saturday. Burke was 28th to lead U.S. men in the 10k sprint.
Codie Bascue and Bree Schaaf led the way as the United States earned 15 medals at Lake Placid, N.Y., in the final North American Cup stop of the season. Bascue won the season-combined points standings while also being part of the season-leading teams in the two-man and four-man bobsled. He joined Samuel Michener, Nic Taylor and Michael McCarty to sweep the two four-man bobsled races on the weekend. Schaaf was part of both winning women’s bobsled teams on the weekend. Cherrelle Garrett joined her one time and Kristi Koplin the other. After winning all seven races she entered, Schaaf, who was working her way back from hip surgery, won the season points title.
Sarah Groff won the women’s title at the ITU Sprint Triathlon Pan American Cup Saturday in Clermont, Fla. Groff, who finished fourth at the London 2012 Olympic Games, completed the 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run in 1:00:17 for her third Pan American Cup title. Kaitlin Donner was third.
Jarrod Shoemaker finished third in the men’s race in 54:20.
Lukas Verzbicas, last year’s USA Triathlon Rookie of the Year, returned from an injury suffered in a bike accident in July. He completed the swim and bike portion of the event before withdrawing during the run. The withdrawal was not due to injury.
Earlier in the day, Dan Hedgecock and Kyla Chapman won the USA Triathlon Under-25 Elite Developmental Races.
The U.S. women, who defeated China, 5-0, Friday, are 2-0 in the Algarve Cup in Portugal heading into the game Monday against Sweden. The cup championship game will be Wednesday. The U.S. women will be seeking a title without its top two goalkeepers. Hope Solo last week underwent successful surgery to repair torn cartilage in her left wrist and Jill Loyden broke a bone in her left hand. Nicole Barnhart and Ashlyn Harris are both available for Team USA.
Team USA will be facing a Swedish team coached by Pia Sundhage, who led the United States to two Olympic gold medals.
FENCING: Nzingha Prescod placed fifth, her best finish ever in a World Cup women’s foil event, Saturday in Tauberbischofsheim, Germany. Prescod, a 2012 London Olympian, was also part of a fourth-place team finish along with Nicole Ross, Margaret Lu and Sabrina Massialas. Elsewhere, the United States finished eighth in the team event in the women’s epee World Cup event in Barcelona.
FIELD HOCKEY: The United States advanced to Round 3 of the Women’s World League with two weekend wins in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The United States handed Chile its first loss with a 2-1 victory Saturday then defeated Trinidad and Tobago, 6-0, Sunday. In Round 2, the team won four games and played to a draw before losing a shootout in the other. Emily Wold and Melissa Gonzalez scored against Chile. Claire Laubach opened the scoring against Trinidad and Tobago on an early penalty corner and added another score later.
TRACK AND FIELD: Brigetta Barrett, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist in high jump, defended her collegiate high jump title Friday at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. Olympian and Oklahoma senior Tia Brooks defended her shot put championship with a collegiate record throw of 19.22 meters. … Ben True and Janet Bawcom won the USA 15K Championships Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla. … Gabrielle Wilkinson set an American record for 13-14-year-old girls by finishing the 800 meters in 2:16.98 to win by nearly 10 seconds at the USATF Youth Indoor National Championships Saturday in Landover, Md.
WATER SKIING: Jimmy Siemers won the Men’s Open Trick final early Monday morning at the Moomba Masters in Melbourne, Australia. Lauren Morgan was second in Open Women’s Jump and Chris Parrish third in Open Men’s Slalom Monday. Greg Badal finished second in the Over-35 Men’s Slalom Sunday.
SYNCHRONIZED SKATING: The Lexettes were sixth and the Skyliners seventh at the ISU World Junior Championships in Helsinki, Finland.
CURLING: Washington, skipped by Doug Kauffman, and North Dakota I, skipped by Nicole Reiser, won the USA Curling Club National Championships Saturday.
CYCLING: Luke Keough won the Old Pueblo Grand Prix, the first event on the USA Cycling National Criterium Calendar, Saturday. Demis Aleman was second and Rahsaan Bahati was third. Erica Allar was second among the women.
Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Tom Robinson is a freelance contributor for TeamUSA.org. Material from various news services and press releases from National Governing Bodies was used to compile this report. This story was not subject to the approval of any National Governing Bodies.