Archive for the 'World Cup' Category

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.

Australia Reaches Super Round

Saturday, November 9th, 2019

In a bit of an upset, Australia advanced to the Super Round by beating Canada 3-1 to advance to the Super Round. A Korean win over Cuba left a three way tie for second between Australia, Canada and Cuba. Australia wins the tie breaker. Logan Wade got the game winning hit with a two run triple off Scott Mathieson in the bottom of the eighth to break a 1-1 tie.

Five different pitchers got in the game for Australia. Steven Kent did the brunt of the work with 4.1 innings of shutout ball. Ryan Searle got the last out with a fly out to centerfield to earn the save.

Brock Dykxhoorn made his return to Korea a successful one allowing just two hits in six innings of work. He gave up a run in the first inning after a lead off double by Timothy Kennelly and an eventual sacrifice fly by Robert Glendinning that plated Kennelly. After that he held Australia hitless until the sixth inning when he gave up a two out single to Glendinning.

Canada came back to tie the game in the second off Australia starter Timothy Atherton. Tristan Pompey started the inning with a double and Rene Tosoni drove him in with a double.

It stayed scoreless until the eighth. A lead off walk by Mathieson to pinch hitter Luke Hughes hurt Canada in the eighth. Mathieson also walked Glendinning with two outs to set the stage for the game winning triple by Wade.

In order for Australia to advance they needed Korea to beat Cuba. They did handily 7-0 with six different Korean pitchers combining for the shutout. Despaigne and Gracial continued their struggles with the bat, going 1 for 8 in this game and finishing the three games a combined 2 for 24.

Korea got all the runs they needed after a two run single in the second by Ha Seong Kim. Korea added four more in the fifth inning to put the game away.

Cuba could score only three runs in the tournament in their win over Australia. They were shutout by Canada and Korea in the first and third games. Canada could only score five runs in the three games they played. Australia was also limited to five runs, but advanced to the Super Round as a result of the tie breaker. The tie breaker was the Total Quality Balance between the three teams, a comparison of the runs scored and innings played and the runs given up and innings played.

The standings for the final six in the Super Round (with the top two teams qualifying for the Olympics):

Japan, Korea and Mexico are 1-0. The United States, Australia and Taiwan are 0-1.

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.

Korea Advances to Tokyo; Cuba Still in Hunt

Thursday, November 7th, 2019

Cuba stayed alive for the Super Round with a 3-2 10 inning win over Australia. Korea advanced to the Super Round with their 3-1 win over Canada. Cuba must now beat Korea to have any hope of advancing to Tokyo and hope Australia beats Canada to advance on a tie breaker.

Korea relied on their starting pitching again, getting six innings of one hit shutout ball from Kwang-hyun Kim to lead them to victory. Canada responded with five innings of shutout ball from Robert Zastryzny. Both pitchers were sharp in the early going but Korea was able to get to Zastryzny in the sixth.

The rally started with a one out single from Byung-hun Kim, only the third hit off Zastryzny. A walk to Ha-Seong Kim finished the day for Zastryzny and brought in Chris Leroux. He retired the first hitter he faced for the second out, but then loaded the bases walking slugger Byung-ho Park. Jae-hwan Kim then stroked a clutch two out single into right field to score two and break the tie.

Korea went to their bullpen in the seventh. In the eighth they broke through the Korean barrier by scoring the first run off the Korean pitching staff. Dalton Pompey sliced a one out single into left field. Wesley Darvill drilled a double into right field to score Pompey and Canada had pulled to within one.

Korea replaced Deok-ju Ham with Sang-woo Cho. Cho struck out the next two hitters to finish the eighth and retired the side in order in the ninth to secure the victory for Korea and the hometown crowd. It did not matter that Korea scored an insurance run for him in the ninth on a Min-Woo Park single. Korea advances to Tokyo. Canada must beat Australia to advance.

Australia loaded the bases with no out in the first inning but failed to score. A strikeout and fly out throw out at home ended the rally and could have ended any hope for Australia advancing.

Cuba could not get a man on base in the first four innings off Australian pitcher Joshua Guyer. An Alfredo Despaigne single and walk to Frederich Cepeda ended the day for Guyer and brought on the veteran Peter Moylan. He could not put out the fire, giving up an RBI single to Yordanis Samon and the second run scoring when Australia could not turn the double play.

Australia was able to come back in the top of the sixth to tie it. Timothy Kennelly led off the inning with a homerun. A Logan Wade single drove in the second run.

Cuba had an opportunity to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth when they put runners on first and third with one out. Yurisbel Gracial failed to drive him in, striking out and Alfredo Despaigne grounded out to strand the runners. Australia put runners on second and third with one out in the top of the ninth but Allan de san Miguel struck out and Timothy Kennelly flied out.

It went to the tenth where the tie breaking rules put runners on first and second. Canada eschewed the bunt and a popout to short bit them. They failed to score. Cuba was successful with their bunt advancing the runners to second and third. Yurisbel Gracial this time did not fail Cuba by hitting one deep enough to centerfield to score the winning run on a sacrifice fly.

Cuban sluggers Gracial and Despaigne are now 1 for 16. Cuba needs their bats if they hope to advance to Tokyo.

Taipei and Japan Clinch Superround playoff spot

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

Not much to play for in Taiwan on the third day as both Asian teams won their second games, shutting out both Puerto Rico and Venezuela to clinch a Super round playoff spot in Tokyo.

Rei Takahashi pitched six innings of one hit ball to stymie the Puerto Rican bats in their 4-0 victory. Japan scored all their runs in the third, three of them on a Seiya Suzuki three run homer. Giovanni Soto gave up all four runs in his five innings of pitching, Japan scoring all the runs after the first two hitters were retired. Considering they have a lineup of professional hitters, the Japan offense has been pretty disappointing.

Chang Yi blanked the Venezuelan bats for 7 innings, limiting them to just four hits. No team scored until the seventh inning. Taipei put two runs across on back to back doubles from pinch hitter Yu-Hsien Chu and leadoff hitter Wei-Chen Wang. That made a winner of Yi, who only pitched one more inning.

Canada and Korea Get Opening Day Win

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

Two shutouts to begin pool play in Korea. The hosts blanked Australia 5-0 and Canada did the same to the punchless Cuban offense 3-0.

Hyeon-Jeong Yang was masterful for 6 innings, giving up just one hit and striking out 10. Three different relievers completed the one hit shutout. The Korean pitchers did not walk one hitter. Robert Glendinning got the lone hit for Australia, chopping an infield hit to the shortstop in the fourth.

The Korean bats lashed out seven hits and elicited eight base on balls. Jung-Hoo Lee, Kyoung-min Hur and Hyun-soo Kim each contributed two hits and one RBI to lead the offense.

Phillipe Aumont completed eight innings of two hit shutout ball to lead Canada over Cuba 3-0. Scott Mathieson finished the shutout by striking out the side in the ninth. The Cuban sluggers Alfredo Despaigne and Yurisbel Gracial, who play for the champion Hawks in the NPB, combined to go 0 for 8 and 6 strikeouts.

Eric Wood scored twice on two hits to lead the offense. The game inched along at 1-0 through seven. Cuba brought in their ace reliever Livan Moinelo for the 8th. He hit the leadoff batter, gave up a single to Wood and after a sacrifice, intentionally walked Charles LeBlanc. Moinelo got the second out on a popup to short left, but then back to back walks forced in a couple to increase the score to 3-0.

The best Cuba could do is get a runner to second. Not once did the Cubans get a runner to visit their third base coach.

Asia defeats Americas in the Taiwan Premier 12 Pool

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

The Asian countries reigned supreme with Japan beating Venezuela 8-4 and Taiwan downing Puerto Rico 6-1 in the opening round of the Taiwan pool.

Venezuela was ahead for much of their game, but Japan exploded for six runs in the eighth to turn a 4-2 Venezuela lead into an 8-6 deficit. Venezuela pitchers walked 12 hitters, with seven of those walks occurring in the eighth. Four of the first five hitters in the inning walked. Ryosuke Kikuchi tied the game with an RBI single. A fifth walk in the inning gave Japan the lead.

Felix Doubront got the start for Venezuela and pitched well, limiting Japan to just one hit in four innings. Finding the strike zone was also a problem for him with three walks, but he did not allow a runner to cross the plate. Japan started Shun Yamaguchi and he gave up one run in his four innings of work.

Venezuela put a scare to the Japanese professionals with a three run sixth that gave them a 4-2 lead. They out hit Japan 10-8 but the pitchers had trouble finding the plate, walking 12 to the two walks Japanese pitchers issued. Jeff Gosney from the United States was behind the plate.

Shao-Ching Chiang threw six innings of one run ball to lead Taiwan. He gave up just three hits. A bullpen of three Chens each worked one inning of shutout ball to close out the victory, none of the Chens allowing a hit or run to score.

Taiwan got all the runs they needed in the first inning on a two run homer from Lin Lee. Puerto Rico gave Taiwan most of their runs with sloppy fielding. They opened the game by booting the first ball turning Lin’s homerun into a two run shot rather than a solo blast. They also made an error in the fifth that allowed two more unearned runs to score. Two errors in the sixth brought in a fourth unearned run.

United States Prevails Over Dominican Republic to Advance to Super Round

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

It appears the secret to success for this United States team is to out slug their opponents. They hit four homeruns yesterday to defeat the Dominican Republic 10-8 and advance to the Super Round in Tokyo. Leadoff batter Mark Payton started the game off with a homerun and Alec Bohm bombed a three run homer in the third to lead the offense.

Charlie Valerio hit a three run homer for the Dominican Republic in the bottom of the fifth to close the gap to 9-7. The United States turned to its bullpen to shut out the Dominicans for the next three innings. In the 9th Brandon Dickerson retired the first two hitters, but two singles put the tying run Carlos Peguero at the plate. Dickerson was able to strike him out to secure the save.

Erik Kratz had a solo homerun and three hits in the game. He batted .625 for the tournament with two homeruns. Alec Bohm also had three hits in the game. Robert Dalbec drove in a run for the third consecutive game and tied for the lead in RBIs with six. Charlie Valerio was a perfect 3 for 3, falling a triple short of the cycle. Edwin Espinal drove in three runs for the Dominicans with his two singles and finished the tournament with 6 RBIs.

On the pitching front Wyatt Mills was a savior with his two shutout innings. Noah Song struck out three hitters in the eighth, giving up a single.

Mexico Upsets United States to Advance to Premier 12 Super Round

Monday, November 4th, 2019

Mexico continues to be a thorn in the United States side by upsetting them yesterday and advancing to the Super Round in Tokyo in a couple weeks. Roman Solis slugged a three run homer to end a five run fifth and the Mexican bullpen shut down the United States bats for the final six innings to finish off an 8-2 win.

Mexico got off to a fast start in the first inning on a two run single by Christian Villanueva off Tanner Houck. The United States bounced back in the third and fourth innings on solo homeruns from Erik Kratz and Robert Dalbec. For Dalbec it was his second homerun of the series.

Kratz allowed the go ahead run to score in the fifth inning on a passed ball. Noah Perio and Jonathan Jones had started the inning with singles to put runners on first and third and no out. Houck struck out one and Daniel Tillo struck out both hitters he faced, but with two out Kratz let a pitch slip by him to score Perio, which proved to be the winning run.

Mexico put the game away in the 8th with five runs. Efren Navarro drove in two with a single and Solis put the dagger in the heart with a three run homerun.

The Mexican bullpen did not allow a runner to second after the Dalbec homerun. Jesus Cruz and Carlos Bustamante each pitched two perfect innings, striking out five of the six hitters they faced.

In the other game the Dominican Republic blasted Netherlands 14-4. The Dominican Republic did not score in the first inning, but scored in the next six to put the game away. Ex-major leaguer Jair Jurrjens gave up five hits and three runs for the Netherlands.

The Dominicans turned to Ervin Santana. He also gave up five hits in just 2.1 innings of work, serving up a leadoff homer to Roger Bernadina and a two run homer to Chadwick Tromp in the first inning to give the Netherlands an early 3-0 lead.

A six run sixth inning by the Dominicans put the game out of reach. Alfredo Marte’s three run double was the big hit of the inning. Marte finished the game with four RBIs. Gilberto Cestino drove in the go ahead run with a double in the fourth. He also made a game saving catch in centerfield in the bottom of the fourth to prevent the tying run from scoring and possibly shifting the momentum in the game.

The United States will face the Dominican today to determine the second team to advance to Tokyo for the Super Round. The winner advances to Tokyo and the loser goes home.

United States and Mexico Win Premier 12 Openers

Sunday, November 3rd, 2019

The long ball was popular yesterday in the openers of the first round of the Premier 12s. The United States used it in their 9-0 win over Netherlands. Veteran changeup artist Rob Cordemans got the start for the Netherlands but he did not fool enough people with his changeup. He lasted just three innings and gave up two long balls to put the Netherlands in an early a hole.

Drew Waters sent his first pitch over the right field wall to give the United States an early lead. The United States scored another run on a sacrifice fly infield popup in the second inning. Juremi Profar caught a popup with his back to the plate and Jacob Cronenworth had the speed to tag up from third and score. Jo Adell took Cordemans deep in the third inning to make it 3-0.

Lars Huijer tried his luck in the fourth. He held the United States scoreless in that inning but in the fifth the Netherlands walked Daulton Varsho to load the bases to face slugger Bobby Dalbec. Dalbec blasted a pitch deep over the centerfield wall for a grand slam homer and a 7-0 United States lead. Brent Rooker finished the homerun derby with his two run shot in the eighth off Jim Ploeger.

The Netherlands could not solve Cody Ponce, who pitched five shutout innings, allowing just two hits and striking out five. Four different relievers followed Ponce, each working one inning without giving up a hit.

Mexico got a grand slam from Esteban Quiroz in the third inning to beat the Dominican Republic 6-1. Efren Navarro and Matt Clark punctuated the win with back to back jacks in the sixth. The game lasted only six innings with Humberto Castellanos throwing the last two innings and getting the win.

The Dominican Republic got their only run in the first inning on an RBI single from Carlos Peguero. Ex-major league reliever Enny Romero got the start for the Dominican Republic and faltered in the third inning after pitching two solid innings. Other than the third inning when he gave up three of his five hits Romero was strong. He struck out 10 hitters in just 4.1 innings. Luis Perez gave up the back to back homers in the sixth.

Mexico will play the United States today with the winner guaranteed of advancing to Japan for the second round. Mexico has always been a thorn in the United States side. They eliminated them from appearing in an Olympic in the past. The Dominican Republic plays the Netherlands with the loser being virtually eliminated from advancing to Japan for the second round. The Netherlands has been a thorn in the side of the Dominican Republic in World Baseball Classic events.