Taiwan national team arrives in Tokyo
By Joseph Yeh, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan --Taiwan's national baseball team arrived in Tokyo yesterday afternoon in preparation for the 2013 World Baseball Classic's (WBC) second round matchup that is slated to kick off in Tokyo Friday.
March 7, 2013, 12:00 am TWN
Having rested only a few hours since Tuesday's game ended around midnight, team members of Chinese Taipei, the name Taiwan uses in the WBC, departed from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 10 a.m. yesterday.
The team arrived in Tokyo around 1 p.m. and was welcomed by around 20 Taiwanese fans who congratulated the team for finishing No. 1 in first round WBC Pool B matches held in Taichung from March 2- 5.
Team Taiwan was scheduled to practice for the first time at 7:30 p.m. local time in the Tokyo Dome where the second round will be held.
“Victory in Japan is the only goal on our mind,” said Chinese Taipei team manager Hsieh Chang-heng (謝長亨) prior to the team's departure from Taiwan yesterday.
Hsieh said he remained confident in his players despite Tuesday's loss to the Koreans.
In the battle between archrivals on Tuesday night in Taichung, Taiwan held Team South Korea scoreless and enjoyed a two-nothing lead until the bottom of the eighth.
But the Koreans rallied for three runs, including a two-run homer, off former Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander setup man Kuo Hong-chih (郭泓志) to take the lead.
South Korea ultimately clinched the victory with a score of 3-2 but the margin was not big enough to keep Taiwan from clinching a berth in the next round.
Commenting on Kuo's somewhat sluggish performance Tuesday, Hsieh stressed that there is nothing wrong with Kuo's condition and he is still confident about the lefty.
Kuo said at the airport that he felt sorry for failing to help his team beat the Koreans but said he was fine emotionally.
Wang to Start Tomorrow
Meanwhile, Hsieh also announced that former New York Yankees ace Chien-Ming Wang (王建民) is slated to start the team's second round opener against Japan.
The 32-year-old righty had a perfect outing in Taiwan's 4-1 victory against Australia in the WBC opener last Saturday, pitching six scoreless innings.
“I'm not yet in regular season form, but I'm in good shape now and will do my best in Japan,” Wang told reporters at the airport.
This is the first time Taiwan has advanced to the second round of the WBC, the highest-level international baseball competition.
Taiwan earned only one win in the previous two versions of WBC in 2006 and 2009.