Taiwan earned their second straight trip into the title game of the 12U Baseball World Cup with a convincing 8-0 shutout win over previously unbeaten Venezuela at the Taipei Municipal Baseball Stadium in Tianmu yesterday afternoon.
Starter Chen Po-chun starred in a two-hit gem for the defending champs as he baffled the South American bats all game long with an assortment of pitches that kept the Venezuelan hitters off balance over 5-2/3 innings of play. He was pulled off the mound after surrendering his second hit of the game two outs into the sixth after 88 pitches in a game he could have easily completed.
The hosts wasted little time getting to starter Aaron Bracho with a solo homer off the Venezuelan ace by Chen Chih-chun to lead off the top of the first. The quick 1-0 advantage lasted into the third, when the Taiwanese offense struck again with a pair of runs off Bracho, this time on the merit of an RBI single by Chiu Chih-heng and a groundout by Chen Ching-chieh that scored the runner from third.
That was more than ample for Taiwan to claim the victory as Chen Po-chun cruised through the fifth with nine strikeouts (ten for the game) to silence the Venezuelan offense.
Held to a lone hit in the opening inning through five innings of play, Venezuela was unable to get anything going offensively, settling with the loss that will send them into the Bronze Medal game against Japan in Tianmu this morning.
US 9, JAPAN 1
The US scored nine unanswered runs after falling behind 0-1 in the top of the second to run away with a 9-1 victory over previously unbeaten Japan in Tianmu yesterday morning and earn the right to take on Taiwan in the title game.
After allowing Japan to score the first run of the match, courtesy of Hirokazu Kikuta’s RBI single off US starter Joseph Naranjo, it was all-US from that point on, as the young men in the red, white and blue teed off against the Japanese pitching with three runs on four hits in the third, before a six-run fourth that included a grand slam by Colton Olasin to seal the deal.
Picking up the win for the US was Adam Crampton, who relieved Naranjo in the third with two shutout innings of one-hit ball to beat Japanese starter Kikuta.
PANAMA 3, BRAZIL 1
Panama bounced back from a tough loss to Japan on Friday with a 3-1 win over Brazil in the classification round at the Taipei Youth Park yesterday afternoon to earn the right to face South Korea in the battle for fifth place this morning.
Starter Ariel Vega retired the first dozen batters he faced to ground a Brazil attack that had not plated a run for 10 innings, dating back to Brazil’s 2-0 loss the US on Friday. He would finish with a complete-game win on a brilliant two-hitter.
SOUTH KOREA 8, MEXICO 4
South Korea used a five-run second to break a 1-all tie and went on to defeat Mexico in an 8-4 final at the Taipei Youth Park yesterday morning to qualify for the battle for fifth-place against Panama.
Dong Wook-kwon’s two-run double highlighted the game-deciding second in which South Korea batted around the order to chase Mexican starter Luis Catellanos just one out into the second.
He was charged with the loss for serving up six runs on as many hits, while the win went to reliever Seong Min-kim.