Lin Tzu-wei’s walk-off sacrifice fly with the bases-loaded scored the game-winner in the bottom of the ninth as Taiwan edged past Panama in a narrow 4-3 win to take their fourth game in the 25th IBAF under-18 Baseball World Championship at the Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul, South Korea, yesterday afternoon.
It was the second game-winning play this year from the versatile shortstop out of Greater Kaohsiung’s Kao Yuan Senior High School, who signed a US$2.05 million contract with the Boston Red Sox earlier this year, showing his value to the team.
The win not only upped Taiwan’s record 3-1 in Group B play, but also kept the defending champs’ title hunt alive as they continue to win games without the support of a potent attack by relying on bend-but-don’t-break pitching to get out of jams on more than one occasion.
As in two of their previous three games, Taiwan fell behind early again in yesterday’s contest with starter Seng Jung-hung, giving up a run in each of the first two innings in a 2-1 score. However, they took advantage of a pair of deadly errors by Panama to plate two runs of their own in the third, which turned the deficit into a 3-2 lead.
Panama tied the game at three-all in the top of the eighth after neither team failed to score again when Edmundo Sosa led off the inning with a triple off reliever Yang Hsiang-hao and scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly to right-center by Jean Carlos Ho. Yang was fresh off a lucky seventh when he pitched out of a jam that saw Panama threaten to score with runners on first and second, with one out, before he got out of trouble unharmed by stranding two in scoring position.
Reliever Hung Hsin-chi was credited with the win for retiring two of the three Panamanians he faced, while the loss went to Omar Guzman, who kept his team in the game until near the end.
Canada 3, Czech Republic 2
Canada bounced back from a tough one-run loss to Taiwan on Sunday with a surprisingly narrow 3-2 win over a weaker Czech Republic squad to improve to 3-1 in Group B play.
It was the fourth straight one-run game in which the Canadians were involved as they lived on the edge once more. What should have been an easy win for the North Americans against the winless Czechs turned into a pitching duel between starters Myles Vincent of Canada and Tomas Ondra for the Czech Republic.
Even though Canada struck first in the opening frame to grab a quick 1-0 lead, that was all the runs they could muster through the sixth, until a two-run seventh put them ahead for good.
In other IBAF play, it was:
‧ Australia 8, Netherlands 1
‧ Japan 7, Italy1
‧ Colombia 3, South Korea 1
‧ US 3, Venezuela 2