Taiwan capitalized on four errors by the Czech Republic to score six runs in a 6-0 shutout victory in the opener of the 25th IBAF under-18 Baseball World Championship at the Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul, South Korea, last night.
Even though the outcome of the game might have suggested an easy path to victory for the defending champions, they were in fact outhit by their weaker opponents through the eighth inning, more than exposing an anemic offense that drove in only two runs by way of base hits over the course of the game.
Su Chih-chieh led off the top of the second with a rare triple off Czech Republic starter Lukas Ercoli and scored on an RBI groundout by Chen Yu-ming on the ensuing play to give Taiwan a quick 1-0 lead.
After a scoreless third inning, Taiwan scored again on the strength of a bases-loaded walk by Lee Tsung-hsien that made it 2-0, before Liu Chia-kai’s two-out single scored two more to give his team a 4-0 advantage.
Taiwan managed to score again in the eighth on a wild pitch by Czech Republic reliever Frantisek Vanek and they got another bases-loaded walk in the ninth to conclude the scoring, but the seven hits they mustered off mediocre Czech pitching would suggest a rocky road on their quest to repeat as champions.
Starter Seng Jung-hung was credited with the win for scattering seven singles over six innings to defeat his counterpart Ercoli, who allowed two runs on as many hits over four innings of play in a solid opening showing.
Next up for the Taiwanese is a very tough squad from Japan, who fell short to Canada by a run (6-5) in extra innings in their opener yesterday afternoon.
South Korea 2, Venezuela 1
An opportunistic South Korea offense plated two runs in the bottom of the third and let their superior pitching do the rest as the hosts edged past Venezuela 2-1 to win their opener in this year’s competition.
Yoon Hyoung-bae led a foursome of South Korean hurlers who allowed four combined hits to keep the Venezuelan offense at bay.
The ace of the staff more than backed up his No. 1 draft pick status by tossing 3-2/3 innings of no-hit ball in a rare relief appearance to pick up the win in front of the home crowd.
Yesterday’s other results:
‧ Australia 7, Colombia 4
‧ Panama 2, Italy 0
‧ Canada 6, Japan 5 (10th inning)
‧ US 17, Netherlands 0 (7th inning)