Unable to protect a third-inning lead, Taiwan fell to a 2-4 loss against Japan in their third game of the 12U Baseball World Cup Tournament at the Taipei Municipal Baseball Stadium in Tianmu last night.
Tomoharu Moriya’s bases-clearing three-run triple off Taiwan starter Chen Po-chun sparked a four-run fourth that turned a 0-1 deficit into a 4-1 advantage, as the visitors held on to hand the hosts their first loss of the tournament.
Even though the loss will likely put Japan ahead of Taiwan in the chase for the top spot in Group A, it should not affect Taiwan’s chances of defending their title, with the hosts still very much in contention.
The showdown between the two previously unbeaten squads saw Taiwan draw first blood, with Guo Ding-hong singling off Japanese starter Hirokazu Kikuta and scoring two batters later on a double by Chen Chih-chun for a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third.
However, the lead proved short-lived as Japan came back with four runs in the top of the fourth to claim a 4-1 advantage.
Taiwan managed to plate another run in the fourth that made it 4-2, but that was as close as they got as Kikuta tossed a scoreless fifth before his successor Kyosuke Yanagida struck out a pair in a futile sixth to preserve the victory for the Japan pitcher.
Tagged with the loss was Chen Po-chun, who cruised through the third unharmed before running into trouble in the fourth, allowing four runs on as many hits over four innings of play.
BRAZIL 3, CZECH REPUBLIC 0
Brazil improved to 2-1 in Group A play with a shutout win over the Czech Republic yesterday morning.
Lucas Massukado made the most of being hit by a pitch by taking second and third on a clean steal and a base hit respectively before scoring on a wild pitch by Czech starter Anezka Bartonova that made it 1-0 in the top of the third.
The run rattled Bartonova, who was charged with a pair of balks in what ended up being a three-run third to lose by the same score.
VENEZUELA 7, SOUTH KOREA 3
Venezuela surprised previously unbeaten South Korea by crushing them in Tianmu last night to ascend to the top of Group B with a 3-0 record.
Humberto Merentes’ RBI single off South Korean starter Jae Min-seo got things moving in the right direction for Venezuela as they erupted for four runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth to build a 7-0 cushion before surrendering three in the bottom of the sixth to lose the shutout bid.
In other games it was:
‧ Italy 12, Philippines 2 (5th)
‧ Panama 15, Russia 0 (4th)
‧ Hong Kong 11, Pakistan 9