Taiwan proved no match for the US in their fourth game of second-round play in the 25th IBAF Under-18 Baseball World Championship, falling short to the US in a 5-1 final at the Mokdong Baseball Stadium in Seoul, South Korea, yesterday afternoon.
A total defensive collapse on the part of the Taiwanese that led to two unearned runs for the US in the fifth made all the difference as it blew an otherwise close 2-1 game wide open.
Failure to scoop up the low throw to first by first baseman Su Chih-chieh on what would have been an inning-ending double play in the fifth, coupled with a wild pitch by reliever Huang Tzu-peng, helped the US to three runs.
That was the boost that starter Stephen Gonsalves needed as he went the distance against the defending champs in an eight-hitter to score a major victory for his team.
Luck was definitely not on Taiwan’s side in the matchup between the two powerhouses in the under-18 amateur baseball world, as Taiwan hit into four inning-ending double plays, two of which were solid shots that would have surely been base hits and perhaps changed the outcome of the game.
Taking the loss for Taiwan was starter Yang Hsiang-hao, who lasted only two innings with one allowed run on four hits.
Yang never seemed comfortable on the mound as the US hitters quickly solved his pitches and pounded on the side-armer to chase him early in the game.
Canada 10, Colombia 6
Nearly blowing a 7-0 lead, Canada cooled off a fierce rally by Colombia that cut the deficit to one run before pulling away with a 10-6 victory at the Mokdong Baseball Stadium early yesterday afternoon to improve to a 3-1 record in the second round of play.
Starter Cal Quantrill stumbled to surrender four runs in the fourth after cruising through the first three frames with a 7-0 lead, but managed to last into the sixth with a slim 7-6 lead to pick up the win.
Australia 11, Italy 2
Australia made the most of an otherwise disappointing tournament by cruising past Italy in an 11-2 decision at the Guei Baseball Stadium in Seoul in the classification round yesterday afternoon to settle with a ninth-place finish in this year’s competition.
Italy led it 1-0 after 4-1/2 innings of play before Karl Koschke tripled to jumpstart what ended up being a five-run fifth that blew the game wide open.
The Aussies put the icing on the cake with a six-run eighth to close out the game, giving reliever Sam Holland the win.
Panama 5, Venezuela 4
In the battle for the seventh-place finish, it was Panama who rallied from behind twice in the same contest to edge Venezuela in a 5-4 decision at the Guei Baseball Stadium late yesterday afternoon.
Omar Guzman came out of the Panama bullpen with Venezuela threatening to make it a big inning in the top of the fifth and got the first hitter he faced to ground into an inning-ending double play that kept the deficit at a run to give his offense a chance to take the lead for good with a pair of runs in the bottom of the same inning. He tossed 3-2/3 innings of shutout ball on two hits to pick up the win.
Japan 4, South Korea 2
Japan handed South Korea their second straight defeat in as many days, humbling the hosts in a 4-2 decision at the Mokdong Baseball Stadium last night to even their record to 2-2 in the second round.