PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Nov. 9, 2012) – Sophomore Rutgers infielder Andres Vazquez (Iselin, N.J.) will play for the Philippines National Team in the qualifying round for the 2013 World Baseball Classic. The team takes on Thailand in New Taipei City, Taiwan, on Nov. 15 as part of Qualifier 4.
“This is a rare opportunity that I'm fortunate enough to get,” said Vazquez. “I've worked very hard at this game and I'm just very thankful to have this opportunity present itself on such a big stage. The support from the Rutgers coaching staff and my teammates has been great. With all that said, I really can't wait to go out and get a chance to compete with some of the world's best.”
The Philippines is a member of the fourth and final qualifying group with Chinese Taipei, New Zealand and Thailand. Each qualifying group is a modified double-elimination tournament. The squad will take on either Chinese Taipei or New Zealand on Nov. 16. The winner of Qualifier 4 advances to the 2013 World Baseball Classic, which begins on March 2.
The Philippines National Team is ranked No. 31 in the world, according to the International Baseball Federation (IBAF). The country is making its first appearance in the qualifying round of the World Baseball Classic, but has competed in other international competitions.
Vazquez found that the Philippines team had posted around the Internet to fill its roster with college and minor league players. The sophomore then reached out to the directors of the squad and flew to the Philippines in May for a tryout and successfully made the team.
The Iselin, N.J., native expects to hit somewhere in the middle of the order and play at first or third base. Vazquez is eligible to compete for the squad by virtue of his mother, who was born in Cavite City, Philippines. He is one of 12 Filipino-Americans on the squad.
In 2011, Vazquez reshirted before recording one hit in four plate appearances in 2012, including an RBI.
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