MIAMI – Team Nicaragua lost to the Dominican Republic during pool-play at the World Baseball Classic on Monday afternoon, but one of its pitchers pulled off a massive victory.
Duke Hebert, a 21-year-old right-hander who is listed at 5-foot-9, struck out MLB superstars Juan Soto, Julio Rodríguez and Rafael Devers in the ninth inning of Nicaragua’s 6-1 shutout and earned himself a contract with the Giants. Detroit Tigers in the process.
Carlos Alfaro León, press officer for the Nicaraguan Athletics Federation, said that one of the Tigers’ scouts, Luis Molina, found Hebbert leaving Londepot Park, asked him some questions, and signed him to a minor league contract. An announcement was made in the bus in front of the entire team.
Hebbert, who gave up a double to hot-hitting Manny Machado in his only inning of work, used mostly low-90s sinkers, mid-80s changeups, and low-90s sliders. Team Nicaragua’s manager Sandor Guido called it “extraordinary”.
“He showed what he’s made of,” Guido said through an interpreter. “When you have the will, when you have the heart, you can do great things.”