Taiwan rode the right arm of starter Sen Jung-hung in the final game of second-round action, topping Colombia in a 3-1 affair at the Mokdong Baseball Stadium in Seoul, South Korea, yesterday afternoon to earn a berth in the bronze-medal game at the 25th IBAF Under-18 Baseball World Championship.
The fireballer out of Taoyuan County’s Ping-chen Senior High School, who led the defending champs to a solid win over the Czech Republic in the Islanders’ opener a week ago, tossed eight innings of one-run ball on three hits to tame the Colombian bats for a good part of the game, despite allowing a one-run in the opening frame on a pair of singles to Colombia’s Yair Morelos and Cristian Cano.
Reliever Tseng Jen-ho entered in the top of the ninth and survived a leadoff single by Morelos by retiring the next three batters in order to preserve the win that propelled his team into this afternoon’s bronze-medal game against Colombia.
Offensively for the Taiwanese, Lin Tzu-wei’s valiant 2-for-4 effort with an RBI led an attack that got to Colombian starter Edgardo Hernandez early, with three quick runs on four hits over the first two innings of play to give the defending champions an early 3-1 advantage.
Fortunately for Taiwan, the three runs proved sufficient, as Hernandez promptly regained his poise by the bottom of the third inning and combined with fellow lefty Dewin Perez for six innings of shutout ball the rest of the way to keep the Taiwanese on their toes.
Sen was credited with the win, while Hernandez fell victim to an anemic attack that managed just a lone run off the Taiwanese pitching in a losing cause.
South Korea 9, Canada 3
Canada won the right to take on the US in tonight’s title game, despite dropping a 9-3 decision to South Korea at Mokdong yesterday afternoon.
Even though Taiwan, Canada, and the US all ended up with an identical 3-2 record in the second round, the Canadians and the Americans got the nod over the defending champs in an all-North American title game.
Taiwan found themselves the odd team out because of a set of tiebreaker rules that involve the net-run differential.
After Canada grabbed a 2-0 lead in the fourth on the strength of Christopher Shaw’s two-run single off South Korean starter Lee Su-min, the tide quickly turned the hosts’ way as they erupted for nine unanswered runs with a four-run fifth and a five-run seventh, thanks to a generous Canadian pitching staff that issued nine walks and hit four batsman over the course of the game.
Trailing 9-2, Canada was able to plate one more run in the seventh against Lee, but it was too little, too late, as South Korea sent Jang Hyun-sik to the mound to bail out Lee in the seventh, before Jang pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth to make the home crowd proud.
Japan 5, US 10
A total collapses by the Japanese defense led to four unearned runs for the US that turned a 4-5 deficit into an 8-5 lead in the decisive seventh and the Americans went on to defeat Japan 10-5 at the Mokdong Stadium last night.
Errors by shortstop Fumiya Hojo on consecutive plays put runners on first and second with no outs, instead of two outs with the bases empty.
That set up an RBI single by Cavan Biggio that would spark what ended up being a four-run spree for the US.
The win sent the Americans into the title game against Canada, while Japan was forced to settle for a date with South Korea in the battle for fifth place.