Taiwan bounce back to beat Mexico at World Cup

By Paul Huang  /  Contributing reporter

Mon, Jul 22, 2013 - Page 18

Taiwan bounced back from a tough loss to Japan the day before with a 4-2 victory over Mexico in the 12U Baseball World Cup at the Taipei Municipal Baseball Stadium in Tianmu yesterday afternoon to improve to a 3-1 mark.

It was not an easy task for the defending champions as they had to overcome two solo homers by the visitors in the top of the first with four runs of their own in the bottom of the same inning to take a 4-2 lead, a lead that would stand to the end.

Solo blasts by Mexico leadoff hitter Omar Ballesteros and Kevin Garcia off Taiwan’s Chen Ching-chieh got things moving in the right direction for the visitor, but the lead proved short-lived as Taiwan came back strong with four runs on the strength of three hits, a wild pitch by starter Victor Perez and an error by the defense.

That was all the runs that either offense could produce, with Chen tossing three-hit ball the rest of the way and Perez and Martin Olivas combining for four scoreless innings, despite giving up at least a hit in each.

JAPAN 4, ITALY 3

Japan needed to go to the extra innings before skidding past Italy by a narrow 4-3 margin in Tianmu yesterday morning.

Shota Sawamura’s walk-off liner to left with the bases loaded scored the game-winner in the bottom of the eighth to keep Japan’s unbeaten streak alive after they had allowed Italy back into the game with two runs in the top of the sixth.

RBI singles by Taiyo Ueda and Tomoharu Moriya capped a three-run third that broke a scoreless affair as Japan took a seemingly comfortable 3-0 lead, but Italy fought back with a run in the top of the fourth off reliever Mutsuya Suzuki before plating two more in the top of the sixth off a wild pitch and a passed ball.

VENEZUELA 3, US 2

Venezuela surprised the previously unbeaten US in a thriller in Tianmu last night to remain the only undefeated team in Group B.

Trailing 0-3 in the top of the sixth, the US moved to within a run of Venezuela when Jakob Hines homered off Humberto Merentes.

That was as close as the US got as Merentes calmly struck out the next two hitters he faced.

Yesterday’s other results:

‧ Czech Republic 9, Philippines 4

‧ S Korea 20, Hong Kong 0 (4th)

‧ Russia 27, Pakistan 6 (5th)