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Nov '14 11

21U BWC in Taichung: Czech Republic advances following Heartbreak Ending of First Round

The first round at the inaugural 21U Baseball World Cup in Taichung, Taiwan saw a heartbreak ending on Tuesday. New Zealand was three outs away from a huge upset against Korea and a berth in the second round. But Korea scored four runs in the top of the ninth to send the Diamondblacks to the consolation round. A two-run triple by Seungho Kang highlighted the crucial rally in the ninth. New Zealand had led 1-0 since the bottom of the second and a run by Dewald De Klerk. James Boyce had issued just one hit and two walks in eight stellar innings. But the bullpen with MacKenzie Quarterman and Beau Bishop couldn’t keep up. Donghyun Choi picked up the win.

The Czech Republic took advantage of the New Zealand loss. They had defeated Mexico 12-9 earlier on the day, improving to 2-3. In a wild game the Czech squad scored seven runs in the top of the ninth to run away with the victory. Mexico finished the first round with a 0-5 record. The Czech Republic then won the tie-breaker over New Zealand and Italy, which all were 2-3. It is a huge success for the reigning European champion to make the second round, guaranteeing at least a sixth-place finish.

Italy also had a chance to qualify for the so-called Super Round Robin. But after their loss against the Czech Republic (1-3) on Monday, they lost 0-6 to the undefeated Chinese Taipei one day later. After falling behind in the first, the Squadra Azzurri kept things close until the host scored four runs in the seventh to blow the score open. Tzu Wei Lin struck out eight in 5 2/3 scoreless two-hit innings. Andrea Pizziconi got charged with the loss.

The Netherlands closed out the first round with a 0-4 record. In their last preliminary round matchup Venezuela prevailed 6-3. Three runs in the top of the ninth gave the South Americans the win, their first in the tournament. Earlier in the contest the Dutch had erased a 0-3 deficit. Miguel Caigua picked up the win in relief. Maickel Rietel took the loss.

Japan is also entering the second round undefeated. They crushed Nicaragua 14-1 in seven innings. Five runs in the first two frames and seven in the fourth turned the game into a blowout. Aoi Enomoto and Fumiya Hojo scored three runs apiece. Yuya Yokoyama struck out eight in five innings for the win. Marlon Altamirano received the loss.

Final Standings First Round:
Group A:

  1. Chinese Taipei 5-0
  2. Korea 4-1
  3. Czech Republic 2-3
  4. Italy 2-3
  5. New Zealand 2-3
  6. Mexico 0-5

Group B:

  1. Japan 4-0
  2. Nicaragua 3-1
  3. Australia 2-2
  4. Venezuela 1-3
  5. Netherlands 0-4

Complete Schedule 21U Baseball World Cup

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