Thu, Jul 20, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Japan falls to Taiwan's late magin

SOFTBALLTrailing Japan 4-1 with time running out, Taiwan exploited a defense error in the bottom of the sixth to secure a 6-5 victory and remain undefeated

By Paul Huang  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Chueh Ming-hui of Taiwan gets set to deliver a pitch in Tuesday's 6-5 win over Team Japan at Tainan.

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CTUSF

A pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth helped cap a valiant comeback for Team Taiwan as it edged past Team Japan in a 6-5, extra-inning win at Tainan on Tuesday to remain undefeated (3-0) in the 2006 World University Softball Championship.

Clutch RBI doubles by Lu Hsueh-mei and Chen Po-lung off Japanese reliever Satsuki Uemura scored the tying run and game-winner respectively for Taiwan in the bottom of the eighth after the Japanese had gone ahead earlier in the inning to take a 5-4 lead, to deliver the emotional victory in dramatic fashion.

The opportunistic Japanese ladies took advantage of a struggling Taiwanese starter Wu Chia-yen and two costly errors by her defensive mates for three quick runs in the opening inning before tacking on another run against reliever Lai Sheng-jung for a comfortable 4-0 lead after just two innings of play.

Japan's lead stood until the bottom of the fourth, when the home team answered with a run of their own in the inning on Lee Chiu-ching's RBI single that brought home Chen Miao-yi, who led off the inning with a rare triple off Japanese starter Makiko Fujiwara to make it 4-1 in favor of Team Japan.

With time running out, Team Taiwan was on the move again in the bottom of the sixth against Fujiwara, this time with the help of a Japanese defense that committed a two-run error in the outfield to spark a three-run inning for the Taiwanese, forcing the game into a 4-4 tie heading into the seventh.

Team Japan skidded ahead in the top of the eighth, after neither club was able to score in regulation time, on the strength of failed pick-off play at third by the Taiwanese catcher that allowed the runner to safely reach home, setting the stage for Taiwan's late-game magic.

Chueh Ming-hui was credited with the win for her 3-2/3 innings of one-run relief (unearned), allowing three hits to the Japanese while fanning one and walking one.

Game-loser Fujiwara yielded three runs (two earned) on five hits over six strong innings, with five strikeouts and no walks.

Taiwan 3, Australia 0

Chueh Ming-hui and Lai Sheng-jung combined for a one-hit shutout in Monday afternoon's tournament opener as Team Taiwan topped the Australians by a 3-0 margin in Kaohsiung for its first win.

Three wild walks and a couple of balks by Australian starter Jocelyn McCallum turned a two-hit effort by the home team into a quick 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning, a lead that would stand for the duration of the contest, thanks to the stellar pitching by Chueh and Lai.

Offensively for Team Taiwan, Lee and Lai Meng-ting's combined 3-for-6 hitting was the lone spotlight in a game where neither lineup was able to come through against the opposing pitching.

Taiwan 14, South Africa 0

Tuesday afternoon's match in Tainan against Team South Africa was all Taiwan from the get go as it plated 15 runs through the first five innings to induce the no-mercy rule in a 14-0 blowout.

The five errors committed by South Africa led to six unearned runs for Taiwan in a game that was never close. Taiwan starter Wu Chia-yen picked up her first win of the tournament with 3-2/3 innings of total mastery over the South Africans, beating her counterpart Kirsty Jennings, who lasted the entire game in a bid to conserve the rest of the pitching staff for the games to come.

Today's showdown

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