Sat, Sep 11, 2004 - Page 18 News List

US gets help from rain to overcome Taiwan in HS play

By Paul Huang  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Team Taiwan's rally in Wednesday night's showdown against the US fell one run short as a downpour during the bottom of the sixth forced the game official to end the contest after just five completed innings of play.

The 2-1 loss gave Team Taiwan a 3-2 record for a third-place finish in Group A's preliminary round action at the 2004 XXI AAA World Junior Baseball Championship in Taipei.

A costly error on a relay throw to third by Taiwanese right fielder Chu Yuan-ching (朱元勤), after American pitcher Ike Davis' had singled to bring home the runner on third would score the runner all the way from first in the opening inning to give Team USA an early 2-0 lead.

The two-run play in the top of the first turned out to be the difference in game.

Starter Lin Po-yo (林柏佑) did not live up to his ace-of-the-staff status as he struggled early, yielding three singles on a wet field to an American squad that took advantage of his slow start.

Even though he managed to regain his composure and limited the damage to just two runs in the first, the 2-0 deficit proved to be too much for his fellow hitters to overcome.

Davis retired the first eight batters, displaying phenomenal location and change of speed to keep the Taiwanese hitters off balanced throughout the game.

"I went into the game wanting to throw strikes and let them get themselves out," Davis said.

Offensively for Team Taiwan, the hitters finally came around in the fifth inning when designated hitter Tsai Jing-hao (蔡璟豪) connected for a single to short and scored on third baseman Tseng Yu-jeh's (增鈺傑) liner up the middle to reduce the American lead to 2-1.

With the momentum beginning to swing its way, Team Taiwan started off the sixth inning with a long, leadoff double by left-fielder Shen Yueh-tseh (沈岳澤) before a sudden downpour forced the game to be cut short.

Next up for Team Taiwan will be the squad from South Korea that earned the second-seed berth with a 4-1 mark in Group B's preliminary round.

The double-elimination, final round will kick off this afternoon with Team USA taking on Itay, and the undefeated Japanese facing off Panama in Hsinchuang and Tienmu, respectively.

Taiwan and South Korea are scheduled to do battle tonight in Hsinchuang at 6:30pm while the heavily favored Cuban squad face the Dutch team Tienmu.

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