Premier12, First Round, Pool B: Dominican Republic – Japan 2-4
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Japan blew a 2-0 lead late, but still defeated the Dominican Republic 4-2 on Thursday in first-round play at the Premier12 in Taoyuan Stadium in Taiwan. It was the third win in three games for Samurai Japan, while the Dominican squad remains winless in the competition and is in danger of missing the quarterfinals.
Team D.R. gave Japan a run for the money. After Tetsuto Yamada scored on a dropped fly ball in right in the first and a RBI single by Sho Nakata in the fourth, the Dominican Republic tied the game on one swing in the seventh. Ronny Rodriguez sent a 0-2 pitch over the wall in left field for a two-run home run. However Japan countered right away with early MVP candidate Nakata, who doubled home Yamada and Nobuhiro Matsuda in the top of the eighth.
This was all Japan needed for the win. Except for the mistake on Rodriguez’ home run, their pitching once again was nearly flawless. Shota Takeda conceded five hits and a walk in four scoreless innings. Yasuhiro Ogawa took over before Yasuaki Yamasaki and Yuki Matsui closed it out. Former Major Leaguer Daniel Cabrera started for the Dominican squad, issuing three hits, two runs (1 ER) and two walks in five innings. Danilo De Jesus got charged with the loss.
After the rest day on Friday Japan will try to defend its clean slate at Taoyuan Stadium on Saturday evening against Team USA in a meeting between the top two teams in the current Men’s Baseball World Rankings. The Dominican Republic is going to take on Venezuela in their next game on Saturday afternoon.