Sun, Oct 09, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Taiwan’s bats disappoint again in 3-1 loss to Japan

By Paul Huang  /  Contributing Reporter

Taiwan’s Chen Chun-hsiu hits a home run against Japan during their Baseball World Cup Group A game in Panama City on Friday.

Photo courtesy of Chinese Taipei Baseball Association

Hitters continued to struggle at the plate for Taiwan as they dropped a 3-1 decision to Japan at the Rod Carew National Stadium in Panama City, Panama, in Group A play of this year’s IBAF Baseball World Cup on Friday to remain winless at 0-5.

The loss sent Taiwan to an all-time low in their worst outing in years.

With winless Greece and a potent Puerto Rico squad remaining on the schedule, Taiwan will likely close out this tournament with an unprecedented 1-6 record.

Having won their first ever title at the World Port Baseball Tournament and a second-place finish at the World Baseball Challenge earlier this year, Taiwan came into Panama City with high expectations. However, Taiwan simply did not play to their potential against teams that have boosted their roster with minor league players who had not been available earlier, which made all the difference.

Other than an eight-run outburst against Panama in their second game, Taiwan’s offense has scored only three runs in four games, well short of the lineup that averaged more than six runs per game in both the aforementioned tournaments.

“Facing tougher pitchers definitely has something to do with [poor hitting], but that does not explain how badly we’ve played lately; no discipline at the plate has really been the problem,” Taiwan skipper Chen Wei-cheng said after the game.

His troops have been fanned 21 times, while drawing only two walks in their last two games.

The lone bright spot of the game for Taiwan came in the top of the second when Chen Chun-hsiu (minor leaguer for the Cleveland Indians) led off the inning with a towering blast to left off Japan starter Naobumi Mitsuhashi to give his team a rare 1-0 lead. The run nipped a 14-inning scoreless streak for Taiwan, whose last run came in the third inning against the US on Wednesday.

The lead proved short-lived for Taiwan as Japan answered with a pair of runs off starter Wang Yao-lin in the bottom of the third when Takato Kobayashi came through with a clutch two-out, bases-loaded single to give Japan a 2-1 lead.

Lin Han’s erroneous throw on a would-be groundout to second that advanced the runner all the way to third led to Japan’s third run of the game on a perfectly executed suicide squeeze in the fourth and that was more than enough for Mitsuhashi, who went the distance in a three-hit gem to pick up the impressive victory.

Next up for Taiwan is Greece in a battle between two winless teams. It is Taiwan’s best and perhaps only chance to break into the win column before they face Puerto Rico to close out the preliminaries.

Opening pitch was scheduled for 2pm local time at the Remon Cantera Stadium in Aguadulce, Panama.

In other games, it was:

‧ Puerto Rico 10, Greece 1

‧ Panama 12, Canada 3

‧ Netherlands 7, US 5

‧ Australia 11,

Dominican Republic 9 (10)

‧ Venezuela 10, Germany 5

‧ Cuba 5, Italy 1

‧ South Korea 6, Nicaragua 4

This story has been viewed 1557 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top