Lin Li’s walk-off walk with the bases loaded scored the game-winner in the bottom of the 11th as Taiwan rallied from two down with three unanswered runs to edge past South Korea 5-4 in their final second-round contest of this year’s 18U Baseball World Cup Tournament at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium yesterday afternoon.
After allowing South Korea to score twice in the 11th on a pair of singles off reliever Yang Chia-wei, Taiwan were able to regroup in a hurry by connecting on three consecutive singles off South Korea’s Lim Ji-seob to tie the game, before Lin’s tremendous discipline at the plate earned the game-winning walk.
“I’m so proud of our players for not giving up, especially after we gave up the two runs in the 11th. This is how baseball should be played,” an emotional Taiwanese manager Lan Wen-cheng said after the game.
The win not only gave Taiwan their second straight extra-inning victory over South Korea in the event in as many years, but also earned them a berth in this afternoon’s bronze medal game against Cuba, winners of their second-round match against Venezuela yesterday afternoon.
The Taiwanese and South Korean offenses got off to a great start with a run apiece in the opening frame on the strength of Kim Kyu-nam’s RBI single for the visitors and Chen Tzu-hao’s run-scoring liner to right for the hosts.
However, neither team was able to plate any more runs over the next eight innings in regulation time, with South Korean starter Han Ju-seong scattering three singles in the process and the Taiwanese resorting to three different hurlers to equal Han’s solid effort.
South Korea skidded ahead with a run in the top of the tenth off Yang with an RBI single from Kim Ha-seong before the hosts answered with the tying run off Han on Yang’s sacrifice fly to send the game into the decisive 11th.
Yang was credited with the win, despite giving up two runs in two innings, while the loss was charged against Han, who went 10 innings strong in a losing effort.
VENEZUELA 6, CUBA 8
Cuba needed four unanswered runs over the seventh and eighth to rally from a two-run deficit to beat Venezuela in Taichung yesterday afternoon to earn the right to take on Taiwan in the bronze medal game.
USA 10, JAPAN 4
Previously unbeaten Japan saw their win streak snapped by the US in Taichung last night. However, both teams had already secured a berth in this evening’s title game.