Japan top Taiwan 4-1 in 18U Baseball World Cup opener
CNATAIPEI -- Pitcher Yuki Matsui struck out 12 Taiwanese batters Sunday to give Japan the upper hand in its first outing in the 2013 18U Baseball World Cup.
September 2, 2013, 12:06 am TWN
The left-hander threw 159 pitches over eight innings and retired all the batters in the first five. Chinese Taipei, the name under which Taiwan competes in international tournaments, managed only three hits, compared with nine by its opponents.
Taiwan appeared to have come from behind in the sixth but it was not to be. Lin Li hit the home team's first base hit, and with two runners on base and one out, Yang Chia-wei drove an inside pitch over the left-field wall.
Had that been a fair ball, it would have given Taiwan a 3-2 lead but a slow-motion replay confirmed that the ball went out on the foul side of the pole. Yang eventually grounded out.
It was not until the eighth inning that Taiwan scored its first and only run on the back of two hits by Wu Kuo-hao and Yang. Three runners were stranded after that, leaving the home team with a three-run deficit for good.
Because of rain-induced changes to the schedule, Taiwan will next meet the Czech Republic and Canada in a doubleheader on Monday.
Having to play two games in one day will be a test for the home players, especially the pitchers, said team manager Lan Wen-chen.
The 10-day tournament began on Aug. 30, but all 12 games on the first two days were rescheduled because of rain. The games are being held at three venues in central Taiwan.
Twelve national teams are competing in two pools in the first round. The other countries represented are Canada, Czech Republic, Mexico, Venezuela (Pool A), Cuba, South Korea, Australia, Colombia, Italy and the United States, the defending champions (Pool B).
The 18U Baseball World Cup is an 18-and-under international tournament sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and was first held in 1981 in United States. Taiwan, a two-time champion, finished third last year.