Baker with the Bearcats, circa 2007.
Sept. 17, 2012
World Baseball Classic Qualifier Home Page
CINCINNATI — University of Cincinnati baseball head coach Brian Cleary and former Bearcats catcher Ryan Baker will reunite at Qualifier 2 of the World Baseball Classic as members of the Great Britain national team.
Cleary, the Bearcats’ all-time winningest coach, and Baker, who caught at UC from 2007-2008, join Great Britain to compete against Canada, Czech Republic and Germany in a four-team, double-elimination tournament Sept. 20-24 at Armin-Wolf Baseball Arena in Regensburg, Germany.
Cleary is slated to serve Great Britain as an assistant coach for the third time in his coaching career. This time around, he will serve primarily as the hitting coach for the Brits.
Previously, Cleary served as pitching coach for the British, helping the team capture a second-place finish at the 2007 European Championships and a second-round appearance at the 2009 Baseball World Cup.
Baker is one of two full-time catchers listed on the British roster. After signing with the New York Yankees as a non-drafted free agent on June 12, 2008, Baker has since moved up the minor-league ranks and is currently is a member of the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees.
Another former Bearcat competing in a WBC Qualifier this week is Nate Fish, who played baseball at the UC from 1999-2002. Fish coach on the Israeli national team, which will play in the WBC Qualifier 1 at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla. from Sept. 19-23 against France, South Africa and Spain.
The winners from each qualifying pool will advance into the World Baseball Classic tournament, scheduled for March 2013. Those four teams will join the 12 countries – Australia, China, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela – that received automatic invitations based on their performance in the 2009 tournament.
Coach Cleary will provide updates on his experience with a World Baseball Classic Blog on GoBEARCATS.com, as well on Twitter @CoachClearUC.