Puerto Rico is a team to be reckoned with in the World Baseball Classic, and Yadier Molina is a big reason why.
The St. Louis Cardinals catcher has been the Puerto Ricans’ emotional leader on their run to the tournament finals, and he proved his worth yet again Monday night in one of the highlights of the WBC.
The Netherlands’ Jurickson Profar ripped a one-out single in the first inning of the teams’ semifinal matchup in Los Angeles, advancing teammate Xander Bogaerts to third base. The throw from the outfield came home, and Molina was ready to move things along — until he noticed Profar doing a little too much celebrating at first base.
Molina had the incredible awareness to fire the ball to first base, where second baseman T.J. Rivera tagged out the unsuspecting Profar as he showboated in the direction of his dugout.
Never celebrate on the basepaths when Molina has the ball, kids.
Molina’s heroics set the tone for an awesome game at Dodger Stadium that required extra innings to settle. With the score tied in the 11th inning, Eddie Rosario hit a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Carlos Correa to clinch a 4-3, walk-off win for Puerto Rico.
The Puerto Ricans will face the winner of the U.S. and Japan, who play Tuesday night, in Wednesday’s tournament final. We’d suggest that winner watch tape of Molina’s play before thinking of celebrating.
Thumbnail photo via Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY Sports Images