The Spanish National Team needed four late runs to claim a 5-4 comeback victory over Ukraine and keep their medal hopes alive in Pool B action on Sunday.
After a surprising loss to Great Britain to open the tournament, Spain turned in yet another unimpressive outing in front of the hometown fans. But veteran hurler Remigio LEAL bounced back from Friday night’s debacle to silence Ukraine and set the stage for the unlikely comeback.
Spain wasted a scoring opportunity in the opening frame when Daniel FIGUEROA was picked off after hitting a leadoff double. Ukraine grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second when Yevgehiy TKACHENKO hit a bases loaded sacrifice fly after Spain starter Miguel RIZO surrendered three free passes.
The Ukraine National Team (0-2) shocked the tournament hosts with three more runs in the third to take a 4-0 lead. Ruslan DEYKUN and Yuriy SHVETS added RBI hits as Ukraine’s bid for the upset gained momentum.
The Spanish National Team (1-1) finally managed to cross home plate in the fifth when Miguel MORA led off with a bunt single and scored on an infield hit by Alejandro FREIRE to cut the lead to 4-1.
Ukraine’s pitchers wilted under the pressure and allowed the Spanish to secure a crucial win. Spain took advantage of five walks (including two hit batters) and a key RBI single by Dewis NAVARRO to score four times in the eight inning to keep alive their title hopes.
Spain will next clash with Russia on Monday in a must-win showdown while Ukraine will meet n unbeaten French squad fresh off their big upset against Italy.