It got late early in the final Pool 1 game as the Netherlands and Japan played to determine the top seed heading into the World Baseball Classic. The Abesed God Shinnosuke Abe hit two home runs in the second inning alone – a frame in which the Japanese pounded out eight runs to put this game out of reach early. Despite chipping away late in the game, Japan held on to win 10-6, heading to San Francisco as the top seed from the Far East pool.

Nobody likes to lose but the Dutch are still crashing the WBC semifinal party. Honkbal rolls on unbowed!

The Netherlands got on the board quickly when Andrelton Simmons led off the game with a home run, only to come out early as the game got out of hand in the second. Of note for the Dutch, young Xander Bogaerts made the start at third place, a shortstop by trade. Cue more Jurickson Profar speculation…

Despite lacking do-or-die stakes, more than 30000 filled the Tokyo Dome to cheer on the two-time defending World Baseball Classic champions. They head to the semis in a good position, holding the top seed and potentially missing out on the powerhouse Dominican team until the final. Assuming, of course, the DR emerges from the Miami bracket ahead of team USA, Italy, and Puerto Rico.

Other than home field advantage, there isn’t much to gain as the first seed compared to the second. As this edition of the WBC shows, any team can win a single game – no matter how much of a mismatch it appears. Getting to bat last is about as much as you can ask for.