Local players finish 4th at 18U Baseball World Cup in Taichung
CNATAIPEI -- Taiwan finished fourth at the 2013 18U Baseball World Cup after losing to Cuba 6-1 in the bronze medal game in Taichung on Sunday.
September 9, 2013, 4:14 pm TWN
Cuba took the lead with three runs in the bottom of the first off Taiwan's starter Chiang Chen-yen after two men were out.
Victor Mesa drove home Julio Martinez with a base hit, stole second and then scored Luis Robert's single to left. Robert came home on an errant throw by Taiwan's catcher.
A two-out single to right by Chen Chung-yu in the top of the second drove in Taiwan's only run of the game, and Cuba quickly negated it with a run of its own in the bottom of the inning on a double and an RBI single up the middle by Orlando Roas.
Taiwan threatened in the third when three consecutive batters walked on four straight pitches to load the bases with two outs, but Liang Chia-jung struck out swinging for the final out.
Cuba added another two runs in the bottom of the fourth and rode the pitching of reliever Vladimir Gutierrez to clinch the win.
Gutierrez, who struck out Liang, pitched the final 6 1/3 innings for the victors and allowed only one hit while striking out seven.
“Cuba has put great pressure on us. We were caught off guard after letting in three runs in the first inning,” said Taiwan manager Lan Wen-cheng, who admitted that the team's pitching and hitting were not up to par on Sunday.
Although Taiwan failed to match its third-place finish at last year's tournament, the young players learned a lot by playing against international teams, Lan said, but he felt Taiwan had to figure out how to hit with more power.
“We have to improve the way we train hitters,” Lan said.
Because of its lack of power, Taiwan is forced to play “small ball” in international competitions, Lan said, and but it means “you have to score when you have the chance.”
Taiwan's inability to get hits at key moments and take advantage of those opportunities is why it finished fourth in the Taichung tournament, the manager said.
Japan was to play the defending champion United States for the tournament title later Sunday.