26th BFA Baseball Championship - Day 5
Japan defeat China to win 2012 BFA Asian Baseball Championship
By Jason Pan, in Chinese Taipei

Team Japan in their final game defeated China 10-1 over the weekend to lift the 2012 BFA Asian Baseball Championship trophy.

Finishing up with the perfect 5-0 record, Japan has shown they are the best squad overall against all challengers, as this is their fifth straight title in this competition.

This national squad is not even the strongest Japanese line-up for an international tournament. All the players called up are amateurs, from independent league teams, amateur association sides, and some from college ranks.

It is similar to the player composition called up by Team Korea, whereas the Chinese Taipei and China squad have some professional baseballers in their line-up.

However, the caliber of the Japanese team is more than enough against their Asian rivals – Korea, Chinese Taipei, and China, as well as for beating Asia’s second-tier national squads in this tournament.

In the last contest for the Samurai Warriors, actually it was Team China who had the upper hand in the early going, at the Taichung Inter-Continental Stadium in central Taiwan.

Taking advantage of two errors by Japanese fielders, China took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, on an RBI-single by Meng Weiqiang. It was only the second run given up by Japanese pitchers through five games.

That was the wake up call for Team Japan, as they replied with 4 runs in the 2nd frame on 3 hits and 2 walks. Takuya Fujishima drove in 2 runs with a double, and Yuichi Tabata also knock in 2 runs in on a single during the rally for Japan to open up the 4-1 lead by the end of 2nd inning.

Thereafter, the Samurai Warriors piled on the score, with a pair of runs against Chinese pitchers in the 3rd, 4th, and 6th innings for the final 10-1 outcome. One highlight of the game was a 2-run blast over the left field wall by DH Toshiyuki Hayashi in the 4th frame, which was only the second home run in this tournament.

After the final out, the Japanese players rushed on to the field for a joyous celebration of their gold medal achievement, and taking the trophy home for the fifth straight time.

Team Japan manager Hirotami Kojima said after the game, “We had a good team chemistry, and also played with a strong fighting spirit. That 2-1 opener win over the host Taiwanese team was very important. Then we were able to defeat Korea, these two were they key games for us.”

He added, “Overall, I am most satisfied with our pitching staff. Our pitchers had good consistent performance throughout, keeping opposition scoring to a minimum. They did an excellent job for us to retain the title.”

In the other contests from Sunday, Philippines tasted their first victory with a 2-0 shutout of Pakistan. Host Chinese Taipei enjoyed home field advantage and crowd support to beat Korea 7-0.

Daily Report 2012/12/03 >>