Fletcher, Miroglio, Stumpo reflect on World Baseball Classic experience
RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - 48.7.
That was the television rating number for the World Baseball Classic quarterfinal between Japan and Italy - the most-watched W.B.C. game in the tournament’s history, according to Forbes.
The tournament is a tradition that started in 2006. This year, Team Italy traveled from Taiwan to the Tokyo Dome in Japan.
“Places I don’t know if I’ll ever get to go back to,” said Reno Aces catcher Dominic Miroglio, who also suited up for Team Italy.
Battery mate, Mitchell Stumpo, felt similarly.
“Once in a lifetime opportunity for sure.”
Their teammate, Dominic Fletcher, also made the trip.
“I think everything about it was pretty special.”
The Aces outfielder really put on a show. Fletcher hit a home run off San Diego Padres pitcher, Yu Darvish, who plays for Team Japan and is a five-time MLB All-Star.
Fletcher also got a couple base knocks off Darvish’s teammate, and one of the game’s best talents ever, Shohei Ohtani. He hits and pitches for the Los Angeles Angels and Team Japan.
“You take it like any other at-bat but at the same time he has to throw a ball and you have to try to hit it,” Fletcher said of his experiences against the two hurlers. “At the end of the day you can hit off anybody but being able to do it off those guys was special.”
Stumpo, a Reno Aces reliever, also had success against Ohtani with a strikeout.
“I just wanted to put him away and give my best stuff in front of 50-55,000 people” he said. “It was really cool, an out of body experience. It took me a while for it to set in.”
Stumpo also sent down a couple other Japanese hitters - the W.B.C. champions. Playing in front of tens of thousands of people in the Tokyo Dome, and competing with a sense of urgency can help these Aces players dial in this season in Reno.
“Everybody on the field and in the dugout was there to just win the game,” said Miroglio. “Taking those things to just win one game basically every night and taking those aspects of it and bringing it to affiliated ball will be big.”
Through three games the sense of urgency is working. Reno is 2-1 and begins its next series Tuesday in Tacoma against the Rainiers.
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