Sat, Nov 17, 2007 - Page 20 News List

BASEBALL WORLD CUP: Netherlands end Taiwan's medal bid

GAME OVER In a tense game that went to extra innings, the Netherlands came from behind to beat the home team 6-3 in their quarter-final game in Tianmu yesterday

By Michael Kearney  /  STAFF REPORTER

Down 2-1 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the side from the Netherlands were in desperate need of a big hit. Vince Rooi responded.

Rooi hit a solo home run off Keng Po-hsuan, bringing to life a listless Netherlands offense that had only managed to score one run over the first eight innings.

Taiwan drew first blood in the bottom of the third when Liao Ying-chieh scored off an RBI double by Lin Chih-sheng. Then on a bizarre check swing, Peng Cheng-min hit a high fly ball to right field that dropped for an RBI single.

In the top of the sixth the Netherlands scored on an RBI double by Raylinoe Legito. It was the only run starting pitcher Lin En-yu gave up.

But the Taiwanese bullpen could not hold the lead. First Rooi had his heroic home run in the ninth and then the Netherlands blew the game wide open in the top of the 11th. With the bases loaded and two outs, Gregory Halman hit a grounder to left field that was just fair. Two runs scored, then Hainley Statia followed with a single to score two more.

NOT ENOUGH

Taiwan added a run in the bottom of the 11th inning, but it wasn't enough. Keng Po-hsuan took the loss.

The win went to Michiel van Kampen. It was the Netherlands' third victory in a row, including a 2-1 upset over Cuba who had not lost a game in the Baseball World Cup since 2001.

In other action, Japan beat Australia 3-0 in the afternoon game in Sinjhuang. Tadashi Settsu improved his record to 3-0 in the tournament and Travis Jarod Blackley ended up with a loss for the Australian side.

EASY WIN

Cuba, who has won gold in every single Baseball World Cup since 1984, faced Mexico in the late game in Tianmu. Cuba jumped to an early 1-0 lead and then in the bottom of the fifth Yuliesky Gourriel Castillo and Frederich Cepeda Cruz both hit bases loaded singles, scoring three runs to give Cuba a 4-0 lead. Yoandry Urgelles Cobas added a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth and Cuba went on to win 6-0.

Adiel Palma Lopez pitched seven-and-two-thirds innings of shutout baseball for Cuba, getting his first win of the tournament.

The USA faced South Korea in the late game in Sinjhuang. In the bottom of the first, Andy LaRoche hit a two-run home run to give the USA a 2-0 lead. They added to their lead in the third when Steve Pearce hit an RBI double, and the USA ended up winning the game 3-1. Jeff Karstens got the win, and the losing pitcher was Chang Won-jun.

The USA, who along with Cuba are considered favorites to win the gold, has not won a medal in the Baseball World Cup since 2001.

In today's action, Mexico play Australia at 12pm in Sinjhuang, followed by Cuba versus Japan at 6pm. South Korea play Taiwan at 12pm in Tianmu, followed by the USA versus the Netherlands at 6pm.

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