Two former Culver City West Los Angeles College baseball players - Kesley Kondo and Gabriel Asakura - starred for Brazil in the World Baseball Classic Qualifier from November 15 - 19, 2012 in Panama City, Panama.
Both former Wildcats pitched in one of Brazil’s three wins at the qualifier. In game one against Panama, Kondo came into the game in the eighth inning with Brazil leading 3-2. He entered with Panama runners on first and second and one out. He then got former New York Yankee star Ruben Rivera to ground out. Next, he faced former major leaguer Jose Macias who he also got to ground out. Brazil won 3-2.
In Brazil’s second game, a winner’s bracket game against Colombia, Asakura was terrific in relief. He threw two 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing only one hit while striking out five. He entered the game with Brazil leading 2-1 and Brazil went on to win 7-1. His highlight was striking out former World Series MVP Edgar Renteria.
Kondo and Asakura are both pitchers from Sao Paulo, Brazil who had great success while playing for West Los Angeles College in Culver City. After two years at WLAC both transferred to universities where they are studying business and are accomplished pitchers.
Asakura is currently at Cal State LA where he was named Conference Co-Pitcher of the Year. Kondo enrolled at University of Utah. In two years, he had 40 appearances, striking out 68.
The World Baseball Classic is the top international baseball tournament in the world. Brazil won the qualifier and will play the next round in March 2013.