Archive for the 'Taiwan' Category

Honkball Announces Five Teams

Thursday, February 6th, 2020

Haarlem is a pretty cool city to watch baseball. You have the downtown area with a number of nice eating establishments and a little out in the suburbs you have the ball park where the Honkball tournament is held. It is also held in late June/early July where the sun stays out until 10 PM, or so it seemed. Loved the fact that bicycles seemed to outnumber automobiles as the mode of transportation.

Honkball has announced five of their teams for their tournament for June 26 to July 5 at the Pim Mulier Stadium in Haarlem. Netherlands, Cuba, Germany, Japan and Taiwan are the teams that have been added to the tournament. They are looking at adding a sixth team from the United States, but Curacao is an easy alternative if they cannot attract a team from the United States.

The Netherlands is normally their national team. You may recognize some ex-major or minor leaguers from their rosters. Roger Bernadina is a name some may recognize. Japan and Taiwan are teams whose rosters are filled with players from industrial leagues or colleges. Japan is the defending champions and Taiwan has won the tournament in the past. Cuba will probably be a mixture of veterans and youngsters depending on where Cuba wants to go. Germany will probably be a team composed of their national team players that could include Donald Lutz.

So enjoy the tulips, windmills and baseball in Haarlem. It will be a week difficult to beat for a vacation.

World Baseball Classic Officially Announces Qualifiers

Tuesday, January 28th, 2020

The World Baseball Classic has officially announced their qualifiers, both to be played in Tucson in March. The games will be played at the Kino Sports Complex.

Pool 1 (March 12-17) - Brazil, France, Germany, Nicaragua, Pakistan and South Africa

Pool II (March 20-25) - Czech Republic, Great Britain, New Zealand, Panama, Philippines and Spain.

The top two teams from each pool will qualify for the World Baseball Classic that will be held March 2021. All 16 teams who participated in the 2017 World Baseball Classic have qualified for the 2021 event. Those countries include the defending champion United States, Australia, Canada, Cuba, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Taiwan and Venezuela

Japan is Number one in Both Men’s and Women’s Baseball

Thursday, January 16th, 2020

Japan has achieved the top rating in both men’s and women’s baseball. The United States is second in men and fifth in women. For men the United States team bypasses a number of tournaments such as the World Cup Under 23, and play amateurs in the Premier 12, which prevents them from accumulating the points that Japan earns. The United States women are hampered by the culture of forcing talented players to pursue softball, where it is a high school recognized sport, abandoning baseball. This eliminates talented female baseball players from continuing with the sport.

Below is the Top 12 Ranking for each gender.

Men’s Top 12

1. Japan (6,127 points)
2. United States (4,676)
3. Korea (4,622)
4. Taiwan (4,352)
5. Mexico (3,375)
6. Australia (3,249)
7. Netherlands (2,690)
8. Cuba (2,641)
9. Venezuela (2,624)
10. Dominican Republic (2,512)
11. Puerto Rico (2,013)
12. Canada (1,873)

The top 12 is significant since a team qualifies for the Premier 12 by being ranked in the top 12 for baseball.

The women’s top 12.

1. Japan (2,505 points)
2. Canada (1,947)
3. Taiwan (1,852)
4. Venezuela (1,736)
5. United States (1,524)
6. Australia (1,182)
7. Korea (955)
8. Cuba (947)
9. Dominican Republic (717)
10. Hong Kong (520)
11. Netherlands (500)
12. Puerto Rico (371)

In women’s softball the United States is ranked number one with Japan at number two. For the men in softball Japan is ranked number one. The United States is sixth, behind Argentina, New Zealand, Canada and Australia.

Under 23 World Cup Qualifying Round

Thursday, January 16th, 2020

The Under 23 Baseball World Cup qualifying round will be held in Nicaragua and Honduras. Competing in the Nicaragua competition will be Brazil, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Venezuela and the hosts Nicaragua. In Honduras, other than the hosts the competition will be Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala and Panama. Absent from the competition are the United States and Canada. Even Puerto Rico is absent in the tournament.

The Under 23 World Cup will be held October 2-11 in Mexico. Mexico are the defending champions having defeated Japan in 2018 when it was played in Colombia. Other countries who have qualified to play are Germany and Czech Republic (European qualifier), New Zealand (Oceania - Australia dropped out), Taiwan, Japan and China (Asia Qualifier), Korea (wild card selection) and Mexico as the host.

Honduras is an interesting country to choose to be a host for a baseball qualifier since baseball is not a big sport in that country. If you want to grow the game you have to expose the countries not usually exposed to baseball. Not sure why the United States and Canada chose not to participate but the major and minor league pipeline availability probably has something to do with that.

Premier 12 All Tournament Team

Monday, November 18th, 2019

The United States may have finished in fourth place but they had the most players on the All Tournament team. Japan had the MVP in outfielder Seiya Suzuki and possible future major leaguer second baseman Ryosuke Kikuchi. Below is the All World team.

Starting Pitcher - Chang Yi (Taiwan)
Relief Pitcher - Brandon Dickson (United States)
Catcher - Erik Kratz (United States)
First Base - Bobby Dalbec (United States)
Second Base - Ryosuke Kikuchi (Japan)
Third Base - Wang Wei-chen (Taiwan)
Shortstop - Kim Ha-seong (Korea)
Outfield - Seiya Suzuki (Japan), Jonathan Jones (Mexico), Lee Jung-ho (Korea)
Designated Hitter - Brent Rooker (United States)

United States Makes it to Bronze Medal Game Versus Mexico

Saturday, November 16th, 2019

The winner of the bronze medal game between the United States and Mexico will qualify for the Olympics. Mexico has beaten the United States in a game earlier in the tournament. Korea has qualified because they are in the gold medal match and Japan has already qualified for being the host. Because the top two teams from the Premier 12 qualify and Japan has already qualified, the winner of the bronze medal game becomes the second team to qualify for the Olympics.

The United States has to thank Taiwan for getting them to the bronze medal game. They beat Australia yesterday. If Australia had won they would have played in the bronze medal game versus Mexico.

Taiwan 5 Australia 1

In international competition Australia has always had trouble scoring runs. That came back to haunt them again as Taiwan pitchers held their hitters to five hits. The only run Australia scored was on a solo shot in the sixth by Logan Wade that tied the game 1-1.

Taiwan put the game away in the eighth when they scored four runs. The first was driven in on a Wei-Chen Wang single. The last three scored when Che-Hsuan Lin deposited a ball into the left field bleachers for a three run homer. For Lin it was his first homer and first three runs driven in for the tournament.

Chih-Wei Hu pitched well for Taiwan, hurling five shutout innings and allowing just three hits. Stephen Kent shut down the Taiwan bats after they scored a run in the third, throwing four shutout innings and allowing just two hits. Hu did not allow a run in his two appearances, working 8.2 innings. Kent has the most innings pitched of any reliever, four appearances with 11.1 innings and a 1.59 ERA.

Australia did get opportunities to score, advancing a runner to second in four of the nine innings they batted.

Japan 10 Korea 8

This game did not really count for anything except bragging rights. Today they play again for the gold medal. Japan erupted for six in the third to win this game. Korea bounced back for five in the fifth but they never could capture the lead.

Neither team felt a need to use their starters, or if they did they were replaced after a couple innings. Seiya Suzuki did get one RBI to increase his tournament RBI lead by five (12 RBIs). Korea’s young superstar Baek-Ho Kang got his first start in the tournament and drove in three runs.

United States Survives Premier 12 Scare

Friday, November 15th, 2019

No one said this would be easy, especially with players on the major league roster prohibited from playing in the Premier 12. The United States overcame a 2-1 deficit to defeat Taiwan 3-2 to keep their hopes alive of qualifying for the last two spots in the Olympcis. Korea bounced Mexico 7-3, tacking on a second straight loss to the once undefeated team.

United States 3 Taiwan 2

The United States trailed 2-1 until Brent Rooker slugged a two run homer to give the United States a 3-2 lead and keep their slim hopes of qualifying for the Olympics. Taiwan saw all their hopes dashed with the two run bomb.

Sheng-Feng Wu had stymied the United States bats after they had scored an early run in the first inning on an Andrew Vaughn RBI single. After the single by Vaughn Wu did not allow a runner to reach second, striking out six and limiting the United States bats to one hit through the sixth inning. In the bottom of the seventh veteran Erik Kratz singled. After Wu struck out Robert Dalbec for the second out he gave Rooker too good a pitch to hit and he mashed it into the left field bleachers.

Taiwan had tied the game in the top of the third after a walk and single put runners on first and third with no outs. A ground out double play allowed a run to score to tie the game. Taiwan went ahead in the top of the sixth on a Chin-Lung Hu solo shot.

The United States bullpen of Noah Song and Brandon Dickson retired the next six hitters to nail down the victory, each pitcher working an inning each. The United States must now hope that Taiwan defeats Australia to get an opportunity at the fourth place match. If Australia wins they would win the head to head tie breaker. Taiwan has been the lone team eliminated.

Korea 7 Mexico 3

The Mexican pitching staff has been excellent throughout the Premier 12. They had a hiccup in the fifth inning when they gave up seven runs. It was all Korea needed to hold down the victory.

Mexico had just taken a 2-0 lead in the top of the fifth on a Jonathan Jones two run homer. For Jones it is his third homerun of the tournament. He is now tied with Seiya Suzuki for the lead in runs scored with eight. If he was not batting in the leadoff spot some of those homeruns may have resulted in more runs batted in. He currently has six, five behind the leader Suzuki.

Mexico had gone to their bullpen after one out in the fourth inning. In the fifth Korea sent 11 hitters to the plate to score seven runs. Hyun-soo Kim closed out the scoring with a three run double.

Mexico was able to score another run in the sixth on a Roman Solis double. That would be the extent of their offense. The Korean bullpen shut them down for the final three innings to clinch a spot in the Olympics. Mexico will have to settle for a bronze medal game either against Australia or the United States. If they can win that game they will have qualified for the Olympics.

Japan and Korea will play a meaningless game, since both teams have clinched a spot for the gold.

The Topsy Turvey World of the Premier 12

Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

Just when there appears to be consistency in the Premier 12 they have a day where they throw you for a loop. Mexico defeated Australia to remain the lone undefeated team in the Premier 12. This should put them in the Top three and qualify for the Olympics. The other two undefeated teams lost, with the United States beating Japan and Taiwan pulling off the big upset with their win over Korea. It just goes to show you that no country can claim superiority in this game of baseball.

Mexico 3 Australia 0

The pitching for Mexico has been excellent. Another shutout, this one started by Eduardo Vera for the first five innings, with three different bullpen mates finishing the shutout. Vera gave up four hits with one walk, while his bullpen was perfect, retiring all 12 hitters they faced. In five games the Mexican pitching staff has not given up more than two runs, beating all five teams they have faced.

Mexico got all the runs they needed in the first inning on a Jonathan Jones leadoff homer. In the fourth Mexico added two more runs, one on a solo homerun from Matthew Clark. Jones doubled in the second run of the inning for his second RBI of the game.

The closest Australia got to scoring was in the third. Daryl George singled and Robert Perkins hit a double to left field. George tried to score from first but was gunned down at the plate. Once the bullpen came on in the sixth it was 12 up and 12 down. Australia no longer has a shot to finish in the top three, which will eliminate them from qualifying for an Olympic berth in the Premier 12. They have two more tournaments to accomplish that.

Taiwan 7 Korea 0

Perhaps the biggest upset of the day. The professional bats of Korea could get only four hits off Chang Li in his 6.2 innings of work. The bullpen closed out the final 2.1 innings to complete the shutout. An embarrassing day for the Korean professional hitters.

The Taiwan bats had no problem battering the KBO pitchers, lashing out 11 hits. The big hit was the Chun-Hsui Chen three run homer in the seventh that put the game out of reach, extending the lead to 6-0. Kwang-hyun Kim, who attempted to play in the major leagues but failed to get a high enough offer to leave the KBO, got the start for Korea and was not effective. He gave up three runs on 8 hits in his 3.1 innings of work.

Korea failed to get the big hits early, leaving two men on base in the first two innings. Taiwan scored two in the second and Korea failed to erase that deficit.

United States 4 Japan 3

The United States kept their slim hopes alive for finishing in the top three with a win over Japan. Jacob Cronenworth, after striking out four times yesterday and stranding eight runners on base came through on this day, driving in the first run in the second with a ground out, scoring Alec Bohm, who had led the inning off with a double. The United States never trailed after that.

Robert Dalbec continued his productive hitting with an RBI double in the third. Alec Bohm, another player who struggled yesterday, leaving a number of runners on base, drove in a run with a single in the fifth. Jordon Adell closed out the scoring for the United States with a solo shot in the seventh.

It was the Suzuki/Asamura show for Japan. The duo was good for Japan in the fourth when they scored their first run with the hot hitting Seiya Suzuki tripling and scoring on a Hideto Asamura single. Asamura drove in Suzuki again with a double in the sixth after Suzuki reached on an error. That combination proved fruitful a third time in the eighth when Asamura drove in Suzuki with a single, after Suzuki had doubled to lead off the inning.

Brandon Dickson pitched a perfect ninth to close out the victory for the United States. Japan was limited to seven hits, five of them by Suzuki and Asamura.

Upsets in the Opening of the Super Round

Monday, November 11th, 2019

Korea beating the United States would not be considered an upset since Korea has the participation of their KBO professional players while the United States team is filled with prospects, but the loss eliminates the United States aspirations for qualifying for the Olympics in the Premier 12. Now they must look to two other qualifying rounds to become eligible for the Olympics. Mexico defeating Taiwan was a bit of a surprise. Japan had a scare from Australia, but eventually pulled it out.

Mexico 2 Taiwan 0

Mexico started Arturo Reyes for five innings and he shut down the Taiwanese bats to just two hits and two walks. Five different pitchers came in from the bullpen and finished the shutout, limiting Taiwan to just one additional hit. Carlos Bustamante closed the game out with a perfect ninth to pick up the save and put Mexico in the driver’s seat with a record of 2-0. Taiwan saw their hopes drop to qualify for an Olympic berth in this series, falling to 0-2.

Roman Solis broke up the scoreless game with a two out solo homerun in the fifth. Mexico added an insurance run in the sixth when Jonathan Jones and Noah Perio started the inning off with singles. Esteban Quiroz drove in Jones with a sacrifice fly to right center.

Taiwan’s best chance for scoring was in the third when a single and walk put two runners on. They had runners on first and third with two out but a ground out ended the threat. They also put runners on first and second with one out in the seventh, but that is where they died after a strikeout and fly out ended the inning.

Japan 3 Australia 2

Australia scored the first two runs in the game to put the scare in Japan. A Daryl George double off Shun Yamaguchi to lead off the third and a Timothy Kennelly two out single gave Australia their first run. In the fourth they tacked on another run with a two out Aaron Whitfield single and a Mitchell Nilsson double to up the score to 2-0.

Edgy Japanese fans got a little bit of relief in the bottom of the fourth when Seiya Suzuki launched a solo blast into left field after starter Dushan Ruzic had retired the first two hitters of the inning.

It stayed at 2-1 until the seventh when Japan used the legs of Ukyo Shuto to steal a run. Masataka Yoshida started the inning with a single. Shuto pinch ran for Yoshida. Shuto proceeded to steal second and third and scored on a squeeze bunt to tie the score at 2-2.

In the eighth the lack of control by the Australian pitching staff gave Japan their game winning run. Kensuke Kondo roped a two out double into left center. Australia chose to walk Seiya Suzuki intentionally. Jon Kennedy then had trouble finding the plate, walking pinch hitter Tetsuto Yamada to load the bases and walking Hideto Asamura to force in the go ahead run.

Yasuaki Yamasaki retired the Australians in order in the ninth to seal up the victory for Japan. Australia dropped to 0-2, making it difficult to finish in the top two or three spots to qualify for the Olympics. Japan improved to 2-0 and have already secured a spot for the Olympics as the host country.

Korea 5 United States 1

The United States had their opportunities to beat Korea in this game, stringing together 13 hits, but they stranded 16 runners and Korea went on to win 5-1. Korean starter Hyeon-jong Yang walked the tight rope for 5.2 innings giving up 10 hits and walking two, but only one of those runners crossed the plate.

Korea pounced on Cody Ponce in the first inning for three runs. Jae-hwan Kim smashed a ball over the right field fence with two runners on to give Korea an early 3-0 lead.

The United States had squandered a bases loaded one out situation in the top of the first when the next two hitters struck out. They also failed to get a clutch two out hit in the second inning when Alec Bohm grounded out with runners on second and third with two out. In the fifth Jacob Cronenworth struck out with runners on first and third and two out. He had also struck out with the bases loaded in the first.

In the sixth the United States broke out for their first run on a Brent Rooker solo shot. They actually put runners on second and third with two out in the inning after the solo shot, but Alec Bohm struck out to end the threat.

Korea put the game away in the seventh, rallying after their first two hitters in the inning were retired. Ha-Seong Kim doubled in one run. After the United States changed pitchers Jung-Hoo Lee drove in the second run with a double, increasing the Korean lead to 5-1.

The United States had a runner thrown out at home in the top of the eighth to end that inning. In the ninth they stranded two more runners to drop their record to 0-2. Korea improved to 2-0. Cronenworth stranded 8 runners in an 0 for 5 day with four strikeouts.

Japan Crushes Taiwan

Thursday, November 7th, 2019

While both teams were advancing to the Super Round, the game had meaning because the loser of this game would advance with one loss. Japan put the hurting on Taiwan, crushing them 8-1.

Japan opened the scoring in the first after the issuance of a two out walk. Seiya Suzuki tripled him in and Yoshida Masataka drove in Suzuki with a single. Suzuki then blasted a two run homer in the third to up the Japanese lead to 4-0.

Taiwan had opportunities, stranding two runners in the first and loading the bases with one out in the third, but the lack of a clutch hit proved to be their undoing. They stranded two more in the fourth and fifth and then had to watch Yoshihiro Maru blast an RBI double in the top of the sixth to advance the Japanese lead to 5-0.

The rallies ended for Taiwan after the fifth. Sosuke Genda hit a two run triple in the top of the ninth to extend the Japanese lead to 8-0. In the bottom of the ninth Taiwan was able to score their first run on a Jin-de Jhang single, but it was too little too late.

Venezuela lashed out 16 hits off Puerto Rican pitching in their 7-1 win. The game did not mean anything since both teams were eliminated from advancing to Tokyo.