WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in South Korea – Super Round Day 2
Korea beats Japan in ten inning thriller, Chinese Taipei outscored Australia, China beat South Africa 8-0
It is not rare to hear a baseball game was “a thriller”, but the one that closed the second day of the super round in the U-18 Baseball World Cup turned out to be the epitome of the thriller. Korea defeated Japan, 5-4, reversing a two-run lead in the bottom of the tenth. The winning run, to add more thrill, went through an on-field replay review.
As home plate umpire Stephen Gomes was communicating with the replay review umpire, the atmosphere at Dream Ball Park was surreal, with fans turning their back to the field and staring at monitors in the press box. When the decision came, fans exploded and players were quick in recognising their commitment.
The tenth inning thriller began with runners at first and second, as per the international tie-break rule. Japan bunted them to second and third and Korea gave the call to Heo Yundong, so far a starting pitcher. Ryusei Takeoka tried to squeeze in a run, but his bunt went foul. He then swang at a 3-1 pitch and drove it beyond the head of right fielder Lee Jeongwoo for a two-RBI double. He then became the second out at third.
Japan gave the ball to Yuki Hayashi, the fifth pitcher of the night. Korea tried to bunt the runners to second and third, but Park Juhong sent a comebacker to the mound. Hayashi bubbled the ball, then rushed a throw to first and sent it off the bag. Korea cut the gap to one run and the inning went on with runners at second and third.
Japan made another pitching move after Hayashi walked the bases loaded. The Samurai gave the ball to Yousuke Ikeda. The reliever quickly got the first out on strikes, thanks to a sweeping breaking ball, then he walked in the tying run. Park Min worked the count to one ball and two strikes, then drove the fourth offering by Ikeda to deep centre field. Park Juhong scored from third.The thriller was not limited to the tenth inning. Korea tied the game thriving on a throwing error in the bottom of the eighth.
The hosts had lost two runners at home plate, both on-base hits by second baseman Kim Jichan.
Kim singled off Junya Nishi in the bottom of the fifth and Hiroya Miyagy nailed down the runner at home plate. He then singled off Miyagi in the bottom of the ninth and it was Nishi who got the out on a perfect throw home.
The night had started as the much-awaited debut for the superstar in the making Roki Sasaki. The righthander’s outing lasted just one inning, 19 pitches, only seven for a strike.
Chinese Taipei needed only seven innings to outscore Australia, 12-0.
Chinese Taipei starter Lin Yu Min pitched a gem. He allowed only two hits, both singles, and now walk.
Chinese Taipei broke the tie in the top of the second against Lachlan Waite on base hits by catcher Lin Chen Hsun, third baseman Wang Shun Ho and centre fielder Yue Cheng Hua.
Wang Shun Ho and Yueh Cheng Hua both doubled in the top of the fourth to make it 4-0.
Australia gave the call to the bullpen and handed the ball to Cooper Morgan.
Morgan left with one out in the top of the seventh after second baseman Lin Tzu Hao singled. Chinese Taipei got reliever Kai Wynyard and broke the score open. Catcher Lin Chen Hsun doubled, third baseman Wang Shun Ho singled and Australia’s defence and first baseman Ho Heng Yu doubled to send Wynyard to the showers. Lo Wie Chieh welcomed Conor Myles, the third pitcher by the Aussie, with a triple down the right-field line. Chinese Taipei touched the home plate eight times. Lin Tzu Wei took care of the last three outs.
China won the second game of its placement round. Yi Jian, Zhou Jie and Zhang Yifei allowed only two runs and no walks and the offence scored all the runs in the first two at-bats as China defeated South Africa, 8-0. Third baseman Kou Yongkang and designated hitter Lu Binbin both hit a double and enjoyed multi-hit games. China improved the placement round record to 2-2.
The USA defeated Canada, 10-0 in 7 innings.
The defending World Champions didn’t waste any time in getting to starter Justin Thorstein. Usual suspects Pete Crow-Armstrong and Robert Hassell manufactured the first run. Crow Armstrong led off with a triple, despite a brave diving attempt by left fielder César Valero Sanchez, and Robert Hassell sent a fly to shallow centre field, deep enough for Crow-Armstrong to score.
The Netherlands beat Spain, 3-1, and secured first place in the placement round, seventh place overall in the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup.
Panama defeated Nicaragua, 2-1, at the end of a pitching duel. Noel Suarez went 8.1 innings to earn the win. He allowed one run on six hits. Julio Gonzalez got the last two outs to earn the save.
# Team W L PCT GB
1 TPE 3 1 .750 0
1 USA 3 1 .750 0
3 AUS 2 2 .500 1
3 JPN 2 2 .500 1
3 KOR 2 2 .500 1
6 CAN 0 4 .000 3