The Czech Republic defeated the defending champion and host Mexico, 5-1 (box score), while the Netherlands was unable to respond to an early Venezuela offensive outburst as it lost, 9-4 (box score), on Day One of the WBSC U23 World Cup in northern Mexico.
The Czech success moves the team to the top of Group A. Earlier in the day, Germany lost its opening game in the group, 7-0, to Chinese Taipei.
The Czechs secured their opening day victory after scoring five runs on just two hits, with the bulk of the offense coming in the third inning when two walks helped to load the bases for Vojtech Mensik, who signed a professional contract with the Los Angeles Angels in July. Mensik singled to bring in the first Czech run, and the second hit of the inning, and ultimately the game for the Czech Republic, was delivered by Marek Chlup, who was among the top sluggers in NCAA Division 2 this season for North Greenville University. His double down the left-field line cleared the bases and gave the Czech Republic a 4-0 lead.
The Czechs would add a fifth running in the following inning, and Czech starter Ondrej Satoria silenced the Mexican bats in 5.2 dominant innings, scattering six hits while allowing just one run. He struck out five.
In Group B play, Venezuela scored three runs in the first frame and tacked on another four in the second to jump out to an early 7-2 lead over the Netherlands after just two innings. The game settled down after the early offensive outburst, with Venezuela’s pitchers allowing just two more Dutch hits on the way to the opening day victory.
On Day Two of play in Mexico, the Czech Republic is scheduled to play Chinese Taipei in a battle of undefeated teams, while the Netherlands, in Group B, take on a South Korea squad that lost its opening game 6-4 (box score) after a late-inning rally and timely pitching by Nicaragua.
For European readers eager to watch the live action from Mexico, tune into ESPN Player, which will be streaming all of the WBSC U23 World Cup action. Sign up using the link https://bit.ly/ESPNMisterbaseball. New subscriptions include a 7-day free trial.