Mon, Nov 13, 2017 - Page 10 News List

U-24s swept by Japan’s Chiba in friendly

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan’s U-24 national squad yesterday lost to Japan’s Chiba Lotte Marines 9-1 in the finale of a three-game exhibition series at Taoyuan International Stadium in another setback for the young team.

In the series opener on Friday, the visiting Japanese team thrashed Taiwan’s squad 6-1.

Chiba on Saturday followed up their win with a 6-4 victory over the hosts, as anemic hitting plagued the Taiwanese lineup.

Baseball officials and fans asked for answers after watching the Marines, managed by former Chicago White Sox player and 2005 World Series winner Tadahito Iguchi, sweep the hosts in three straight games.

The U-24 squad were touted as a strong team packed with the nation’s best young talents, but they did not fare well against the Marines, losing every game to a team that finished last this season among the six clubs in Japan’s Pacific League.

HITTING FOR THE FENCES

Yesterday, Chiba infielders Shota Ohmine and Daichi Suzuki each reached base three times and collected two RBIs, leading the visitors in a 13-hit burst.

Fans said they were disappointed at the performances of Wang Po-jung and Yoh Daikan, Taiwan’s two big hitters, who proved essentially absent in all three games.

Wang’s batting average this season was more than 0.400 and he led the Taiwanese pro league in home runs and RBIs. He has also won the league’s MVP award for two years in a row.

However, in the series with Chiba, he was 0-3 and yesterday only got on base on a walk, while Yoh also had a hitless night.

Wang had only one single in three games, while Yoh had two hits in the opener, but came up empty in the second encounter with four at-bats.

Commentators said that the result of the brief series showed the disparity between Taiwan’s and Japan’s pro leagues, while some fans said Wang’s impressive batting average was inflated, since he was facing weak Taiwanese pitchers and has now been exposed by the Japanese team.

INAUGURAL SERIES

The series was held to prepare Taiwan’s U-24 team for battles against Japan and South Korea for the first edition of the Asia Professional Baseball Championship.

Hosted by Japan and sanctioned by the World Baseball Softball Confederation, the tournament is to run from Thursday to Sunday at the Tokyo Dome.

The purpose of the series is to promote baseball exchanges and international competition between U-24 players in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, organizers said.

Each team are allowed three “wildcard” spots to bring in older players who are playing professionally.

Under the rule, Taiwan added Lamigo Monkeys closer Chen Yu-hsun, Yoh of Japan’s Yomiuri Giants and Chiba pitcher Chen Kuan-yu.

The championship is to open with the hosts facing South Korea, followed by Taiwan versus South Korea on Friday. The day after, Japan are to play Taiwan, after which the best two teams face each other on Sunday for the title.

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