Falling victims to a superb pitching effort by Japan starter Yuki Matsui, Taiwan dropped their opener by a 4-1 margin in the IBAF 18U Baseball World Cup at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Greater Taichung yesterday afternoon to begin the tournament on a down note.
Following two days of wet weather that rained out the first six scheduled games of the tournament, the hosts finally took the field against their neighbors from the north, but the outcome of the game was anything but desirable for Taiwan as Matsui spoiled their opener.
Matsui silenced the Taiwan bats with five innings of no-hit ball, before surrendering a chopper to Lin Li that shot through the right side of the infield in the top of the sixth to lose his no-hit bid.
The single by Lin did not rattle the left-hander at all, though, as he calmly worked out of the jam by getting two quick outs, before fanning the fifth hitter of the inning on a high fastball to strand a runner on third and end the inning.
That was as close to scoring a run as Taiwan got against Matsui through the seventh, before they finally broke through in the eighth after falling behind 0-3 with a two-out double by Yang Chia-wei breaking up the shutout.
After a fourth-inning run that got Japan on the board against Taiwan starter Lin Tzu-wei, the visitors managed to double their lead in the top of the sixth when Yasuhito Uchida doubled off Lin Tzu-wei and scored on an RBI single by Nobuyuki Okumura.
Trailing 0-2 with runners on first and second, Taiwan’s Yang drove an offering from Matsui over the left-field wall for what appeared to be a game-turning three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth, but the ball was ruled a foul by the home plate umpire in a controversial call as it seemingly just missed the fair territory by inches.
Japan upped their lead to 3-0 with a perfectly executed suicide squeeze in the top of the seventh to take the game out of Taiwan’s reach, making a winner out of Matsui, while tagging Lin Tzu-wei with the bitter loss.
Matsui was charged with a run on three hits over eight spectacular innings with a dozen strikeouts.
Australia 9, Colombia 4
Scoring early and often, Australia teed off against the Colombia pitching with a dozen hits to demolish the South Americans in Greater Taichung yesterday afternoon.
Four quick runs in the opening frame by Australia set the tone for the victors as they roughed up Colombia starter Argemiro Estremor with three hits to spot Australia starter Nicholas Hutchings a four-run lead.
That was more than ample for Hutchings, who allowed three runs on two hits to help his team win their first game of the tournament.
Yesterday’s other results:
‧ Canada 16, Czech Republic 3
‧ US 8, Italy 0
‧ Venezuela 6, Mexico 5
‧ Cuba 2, South Korea 1