By World Baseball Softball Confederation, www.wbsc.org
Burkina Faso and Nigeria advanced to the Baseball Africa Cup out of the Zone West Continental Pre Qualifier played in Accra, Ghana. Burkina Faso outscored both Nigeria and Ghana.
In the tournament opener Nigeria kept it close for a couple of innings, then Burkina Faso broke the score open against left-handed reliever Abubakar. Second baseman Sanfo hit a home run and centre fielder Sanou had a couple of doubles.
Bonkdoungou pitched three scoreless innings to seal the 13-3 win.
Burkina Faso defeated the hosts Ghana 14-4 in the second game. Ghana’s defence proved very inconsistent as only two of the runs scored by Burkina Faso were earned on losing pitcher Boafo. Left fielder Zabre and right-fielder Amed Bouunkongou both hit a home run for Burkina Faso. Kafando earned the win pitching 3.1 innings in relief after Ghana had managed to score 4 runs against starter Yameogo and Amed Bonkoungou.
Nigeria advanced to the Africa Cup
Nigeria won a close one against Ghana and qualified for the Africa Cup. Nigeria defeated Ghana, 7-6, in an elimination rubber match and advanced to the Africa Cup together with Burkina Faso. Nigeria scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh against reliever Boafo. With one out, shortstop David Yonusa reached on a fielding error and scored on another error, the eighth committed by Ghana’s defence. Left fielder Saka hit a home run in the fifth. Peter Yonusa went the distance to claim the win.
The other two regional tournaments, also qualifying two for the Africa Cup, are Zone East (to be played in Nairobi, Kenya, on 5, 6 and 7 April; the hosts will face National Teams from Tanzania and Uganda) and Zone South (to be staged in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 27, 28 and 29 April; the heavily favoured hosts will face National Teams of Lesotho and Zimbabwe).
The Africa Cup will be played in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 1 to 5 May. The winner will be the first ever Africa Baseball Champion and will advance to the Europe-Africa Olympic Qualifier, to be staged in Parma and Bologna, Italy, from 18 to 22 September.
The winner of the tournament played in Italy will qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, while the runner up will advance to the final qualifier, to be played in Chinese Taipei in early 2020.