The US yesterday secured first place in Group B with a perfect 5-0 record and Taiwan picked up a victory in Group A on the final day of the round-robin opening round of the Under-12 Baseball World Cup in Tainan.
Taiwan and the US are favorites for the title, with three teams from each group advancing to the second round, which starts today, before the finale on Sunday.
It was a busy day for the hosts, beginning with an afternoon contest against Mexico.
Taiwan pitchers Han Shuo-heng and Chao Chia-cheng combined to shut out the Latin American visitors as the offense assured a 10-0 victory.
Han was equally hot at the plate, going two-for-three, including a home run, with a walk for a total of three RBIs and three runs scored against Mexico.
Taiwan then suffered their first defeat in the evening, when Japan rallied with late runs to beat the hosts 7-5 at the Tainan Municipal Baseball Stadium.
The hosts took and early lead and held it most of the way, leading 4-0 at the end of fourth inning.
However, a strong Japan fought back with three runs in the fifth to make it a one-run game.
They then tacked on a further four runs in the sixth and final inning, while Taiwan could reply with only one run.
In other Group A games yesterday, Japan clobbered South Africa 31-0 in an early match, while Mexico edged Brazil 8-7 in the afternoon.
Taiwan and Mexico advanced to the next round on 4-1 records, as did Japan in third place on 3-2.
Group B leaders the US continued their dominance by thrashing baseball minnows Germany 20-3 in the afternoon.
Pitcher Gregory Pierantoni secured the win for the US with help from two relievers, as the offense cranked out 16 hits, including three home runs and three doubles, to pile up the 20 runs.
While the US were the clear winners in Group B with five wins in five games, second and third place was to be decided by the outcome of Panama’s game against Australia.
Following a 5-1 loss to South Korea yesterday afternoon, Nicaragua and South Korea were tied for second place with 3-2 records.
However, which teams advance was to depend on the outcome of yesterday’s late game, in which Panama were to face Australia, as a Panama victory would also leave them with a 3-2 record.
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