Japan is the first finalist at the Honkbalweek Haarlem 2018. The still undefeated team beat Chinese Taipei 8-1 in a meeting of the best teams of the preliminary round on Friday afternoon. Chinese Taipei gets a second chance to reach the final, by playing the Netherlands on Saturday evening. The Dutch team downed Italy 2-1 on a walk-off RBI single. Earlier in the day Cuba won its first game in the tournament 7-1 against Germany. Germany will finish in sixth place. Cuba faces Italy on Saturday afternoon in a game for fourth place in the final standings.
Cuba 000 010 006 7 14 1 Germany 000 000 100 1 7 3
Cuba wouldn’t Germany upset them a second time during the Honkbalweek Haarlem with a 7-1 win on Friday morning. The score was tied entering the ninth inning with Cuba deciding the outcome with six runs in the last frame. Wesley Roemer had kept the record world champion to one run through eight innings but got tired in the ninth. Relievers Sascha Koch and Benjamin Thaqi couldn’t stop the bleeding. Eric Brenk had tied the game with a RBI single in the seventh.
Chinese Taipei 001 000 000 1 7 3 Japan 000 071 00X 8 10 1
Chinese Taipei was hoping to upset Japan after four innings. But Team Nippon scored seven runs in the bottom of the fifth inning en route to an 8-1 win and into the final of the Honkbalweek. Ryosuke Tatsumi highlighted the rally with a leadoff home run and a two-run single. Wataru Matsumoto pitched five solid innings for the win. Sheng Feng Wu got charged with the loss.
Italy 010 000 000 1 7 0 Netherlands 000 000 101 2 4 1
The evening matchup on Friday added a new story to the Netherlands-Italy rivalry, as the Dutch team overcome a 0-1 deficit to beat Italy 2-1. Alex Sambucci had scored in the second to give the Squadra Azzurri a 1-0 lead. But then came Yurendell De Caster. The former minor leaguer tied the game with a RBI single in the seventh and then won it for the Netherlands with a walk-off RBI single in the ninth. Kevin Kelly earned the win in relief of Orlando Yntema and Lars Huijer. Alessandro Maestri had excelled with nine strikeouts in seven innings of three-hit, one-run ball. The Netherlands had just two base runners in the first six innings. Alex Bassani took the loss.