Archive for November, 2014

Nicaragua Rallies to Play Bronze Medal Game

Saturday, November 15th, 2014

Nicaragua rallied against a tough Czech team to win 7-4, scoring four runs in the eighth inning. With South Korea beating Australia 8-7 it vaulted Nicaragua to the bronze medal match. Even though the Czechs out hit the Nicaragua team 11 to 6 Nicaragua took advantage of 8 walks and three hit batsman to score their runs.

Nicaragua loaded the bases off starter Marek Minarik in the opening frame with two walks and a hit batsman. Even though Minarik was hitting the low 90s with his fastball, topping out at 94 he had no idea where he was throwing it. Jorge Narvaez grounded into a nicely turned 6-4-3 double play to bail Minarik out of the inning.

The Czechs took advantage of a Nicaraguan error to score two in the bottom of the frame off ineffective Jesly Guillermo. Back to back doubles by Junec Tomas and Martin Cervenka scored one run each to give the Czechs an early 2-0 lead.

Nicaragua scored a run in the third, getting their first hit on a ball that bounced off the chest of the second baseman. It should have been a double play, but put runners on first and second with no out, where a bunt advanced the runners. A ground out scored the first run for the Nicaraguans. Minarik left after hitting his third batter to lead off the fifth and throwing two balls to the next batter, allowing only one hit but walking five and hitting three.

The Czech Republic scored two in the fourth on a two run single by Petr Sila. The left fielder tried to make a diving catch but the ball appeared to hit off his glove and bounced away from him. Base running errors would prevent the Czechs from scoring any more runs.

Nicaragua pulled to within one loading the bases in the fifth after a hit batsman and two walks. Felix Castillo roped a double off Jan Novak just over the glove of the third baseman and down the left field line to score two and pull Nicaragua to within one. The Czechs pulled the infield in with runners on second and third with one out and it paid off with a grounder to short. Jan Novak struck out pinch hitter David Estrada to end the threat and still keep the lead.

Working his fourth inning Novak tired issuing a one out walk and a double to Jacksell Mairena to put runners on second and third with one out in the eighth. Again the Czechs pulled the infield in and it appeared to pay off after new pitcher Daniel Vitek got Arnol Rizo to ground to first. Javier Robles hit a slow grounder between third and short to score the tying run, the off balance throw from the Czech shortstop too late to get Robles. Marvin Martinez hit a double into the right centerfield gap to give the Nicaraguans their first lead of the game and Jordan Pavan pulled a double down the left field line to add to the damage.

Jose Valdivia pitched the last two innings and retired all 6 Czech hitters to get credit for the victory.

Game Notes: There is a Nicaraguan who sits in the stands that appears to be announcing all the Nicaraguan games. At Taichung stadium you can clearly hear his chatter since the seating in that stadium is small…The Czechs have a loyal following of ten or so, parents and relatives of the players…At 202 centimeters, which is about 6′5″ Marek Minarik is rail thin but in the first two innings the scoreboard had his fastball clocked consistently in the 143 to 147 kilometer range. That is the hardest thrower myworld has seen in this tournament. His one problem is he has no idea where he is throwing the ball, bouncing balls in front of the plate or behind the backs of the hitters. He pitches for the Phillies farm system. His fastball velocity drops quite a bit after the second inning…The Czechs lost two opportunities with base runners caught off base on balls caught in the air. In the fifth inning Junec Tomas was caught off first on a line drive to the shortstop. In the next inning, on a hit and run Ivan Aubrecht lost track of a fly ball, tried to find it as he was standing on second even though his bench was yelling at him to get back, but the throw from the right fielder doubled him off at first. The Czechs had two more hits that inning but could not score…The Czechs play it the Asia way, bunting whenever there is a runner on base and less than two outs. They bunted their number three hitter with a runner on first and no out…Myworld wonders why the third base coaches still give the signs in a game that neither team speaks the others language.

Sloppy Fielding Leads to Taiwan’s Demise Against Japan

Saturday, November 15th, 2014

Coming into this game Taiwan had only committed three errors in seven games in this tournament. The boxscore identified them as committing three errors in their 6-2 loss against Japan. Myworld would have given them five errors.

Both teams jumped on their opponent’s bullpen after the starters left. Japan went with Kentaro Taira, who allowed only one hit in his three innings of work. Taiwan found Toshiki Sakurai more to their liking, scoring two runs off him when he came on in relief in the fourth. Chih Chieh Su led the inning off with a walk. Tai Chun Young advanced him to second with a single. Po Jung Wang blasted a ball to one hop the fence for an RBI double. Taiwan had second and third with no outs and one run in. The large crowd that filled most of the third base side of the lower infield were ecstatic.

A shallow fly out to left and strike out seemed to temper the rally. Pin Chieh Chen came through with a bloop single to left to score one run. Wang tried to score but the throw home was a strike to the plate, the catcher blocking the entrance with his glove and knees allowing the runner no place to go but slide into the glove for the out. In the major leagues the runner may have been called safe because the catcher blocked the lane.

Yu Yen Lu pitched five shutout innings for Taiwan, allowing only three hits but also walking three. Japan loaded the bases off him in the first inning with just one out and he escaped out of that jam. They stranded runners on second and third in the second but could not score. Lu only allowed two more runners in the next three innings but they were both caught stealing by the catcher Chih Hsien Lin.

Side armer Huang Tzu Peng came on in relief in the sixth. A single, stolen base, ground out and hit batsman put runners on first and third with one out. Sho Azegami hit a slow bouncer to third and the Taiwan defense chose to decline the throw to the plate to get the out at first allowing the run to score. The gazelle like Seiya Suzuki raced from first to third on the throw. Harutomo Tsuji hit a hard shot to second base that clanked off the glove of Chih Chieh Su, allowing the tying run to score. It was ruled a hit but myworld thought it should have been the third out of the inning. Instead of getting out of the inning with a 2-1 lead the score was tied 2-2.

Kai Lun Chang came in to work the seventh. A single and a walk put runners on first and second with no out. Fumiya Hojo, hitting close to .400 with one homerun in the tournament, was asked to sacrifice for his second time in the game and failed on three attempts for the strikeout. Taisei Makihara hit a sharp ground ball to first where it bounded off the first baseman’s glove on a ball he should have caught and stepped on first for the second out. The scorer ruled it a hit to load the bases. Kensuke Kondo hit a ground ball to the pitcher who threw it home to chalk up the second out but the throw back to first to complete the double play sailed into right field for the third error of the game, allowing the go ahead run to score. In a game that should have still been 2-1 Taiwan with the inning over, Seiya Suzuki broke the fans heart by putting the game away with a triple into the right centerfield gap. Not many in the major leagues can run faster than Suzuki.

Japan scored a final run in the ninth when Hojo led the inning off with a double. He scored after two ground outs. After the throw out at the plate the last 15 Taiwan hitters were retired by the Samurai bullpen.

Game Notes: The game was changed from night to afternoon so as not to conflict with the Japanese game in the evening against the major leaguers. Attendance figures were not available but a pretty good crowd showed up for a game that didn’t really matter since both teams already qualified for the gold medal game. Ticket prices to watch these 21 year olds play are a little higher than what is charged for the CPBL (the professional league) so that may drive attendance down a bit…Before the game they really like playing the electronic dance music to energize the fans. The vibe at the stadium was more like a dance club than a sporting event, but in my opinion it is better than the rap they play before the start of basketball games…Before the game the national anthem for both teams were played. Taiwan fans do not really accept their official national anthem and prior to the Taiwan at bat all the fans stood and sang what they consider their true national anthem, not one forced upon them by China and the international community…Everyone was standing in the ninth inning to root for Taiwan to rally even though they were down by four. There was no give up in their minds…The movie star Yu Ning Tsao (who was one of the primary characters in the movie Kano) is a smooth centerfielder who glides after the ball. Local fans worry about his bat. He went 0 for 4 in the game today to drop his average to .486, tops on the team. He normally hits leadoff…Taiwan catcher Chih Hsien Lin had two rifle throws to nail attempted Samurai base stealers. He was taken out of the game after his wild throw to first. He also struck out twice in the game and is only hitting .238.

Marte Signs with Wiz

Saturday, November 15th, 2014

Andy Marte has been having a torrid winter. He has used that to get a Korean team interested in him, signing with the KT Wiz a one million dollar contract. He would have never made that much playing in the major leagues.

When he signed with the Braves he was considered one of the top third base prospects in baseball. At 31 years of age now he is just a player after a contract to keep his career going.

Samurai No Hit the Major Leaguers

Saturday, November 15th, 2014

It has to be the jet lag. Or perhaps the Japanese pitching has the major leaguers stumped. Takahiro Norimoto mesmerized the major leaguers, going a perfect five and striking out six of the 15 hitters he faced. The bullpen lost the perfect game with three walks and a hit by pitch but they kept the no hitter intact and the Samurai prevailed for the third straight game 4-0. Japanese pitchers struck out a total of 13 major league hitters. Two of their last three wins have been by shutout.

A pair of two run homers in the second and third provided all of the Samurai offense. Hayato Sakamoto blasted his two run homer in the second while Sho Nakata dittoed his in the third. Both of the homeruns were off Jeremy Guthrie. After the two homeruns were hit the Japanese could only muster two more hits

The boxscore for the game can be found here:

boxscore

Australia Wins First Game of Second Round

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Australia won their first game of the second round, beating the Czechs 9-4. They must beat South Korea today to be able to play for the bronze game, or hope Nicaragua loses to the Czechs.

Guy Edmonds hit a solo homerun and drove in the first run with an RBI single in the first to lead the offense. Robbie Perkins also drove in two runs. Lachlan Wells threw the first four innings, not allowing a runner to cross the plate to set the stage. The Czechs rallied for three runs in the seventh to make the score respectable.

In a 7th to 11th place determination Italy beat Venezuela 9-5 and Netherlands beat New Zealand by the same score.

boxscores

Taiwan Secures Championship Match with Shutout

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Taiwan shut out Nicaragua 2-0 to secure a date with Japan for the gold medal on Sunday. They first must play Japan in a game for bragging rights on Saturday. Ming Hsuan Chen threw six innings of five hit ball to pick up the win.

Chen allowed a baserunner in every inning except the first, putting the leadoff runner on in four innings including the seventh. He was able to wiggle out of each inning, not allowing a runner to reach third. After a leadoff walk to Johnny Trewin in the seventh the manager went to the pen. Shih Ying Peng retired all six hitters he faced and Yi Hao Lin, who pitches for the EDA Rhinos retired all three batters he faced to pick up the save.

Horace Rigby pitched well for Nicaragua. Taiwan ran themselves out of a couple innings. On a hit and run in the third inning Chih Chieh Su found himself rounding past second when a fly ball was caught by Arnol Rizo. Rizo trotted to first to step on the bag to complete the double play, recording all three outs in the inning. Kuo Lin Lo blasted a ball off the left field wall and raced it into a lead off triple. The throw skipped past the third baseman, Lo raced for home and was caught in no man’s land when Nicaragua recovered the ball and tagged Lo out as he tried to return to third.

In the sixth Tai Chun Yang gave the Taiwan team all the runs they needed, blasting a long drive over the left field fence, ending the shutout for Rigby, who would have liked to have that 0-2 pitch back. Rigby worked until the end of the inning before calling it a night.

Taiwan loaded the bases in the seventh with just one out but Tai Chun Yang hit a hard liner to first. Su, who was caught in the double play in the third inning, found himself too far off the base and the first baseman stepped on first to complete the double play.

Taiwan would get an insurance run in the eighth. Po Jung Wang led off the inning with a double. A ground out to second moved Wang to third where a fly ball to right hit by Chih Hsien Lin scored him.

Game Notes: There was admission for this game. Attendance was listed at 608. They were a very loud 608 led in part by American Uncle R.J. and his LaMiga Monkey son. It will be interesting to see the turnout for the game today…Three women cheerleaders began the game with a dance routine but the loudspeakers shut off before the last 30 seconds of their routine could be finished. They completed the last moves of their dance without the music playing and returned for an encore in the fifth inning when Asia has a rest while the grounds crew re-lines the fields…The four man umpiring crew included an umpire from China Bing Xu, even though China did not have a team in this event. There was also an umpire from Taiwan, which seemed to break the neutrality code…Centerfielder Yu Ning Tsao starred in the movie “Kano” about an under dog high school Taiwan team participating in Koshien and finishing in second place. If his baseball career does not pan out he always has the movies to fall back on. He finished the game with two hits batting from the leadoff spot…When Taiwan called in a pinch runner they swapped helmets with the pinch runner using the same helmet as the runner on first. Myworld would have second thoughts about putting on someone else’s sweaty helmet.

boxscore

Uwasawa Shutout Puts Japan in Gold Medal Round; World’s Top Spot

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Japan will now replace the United States as the number one baseball country in the world, surpassing them after their performance in the 21 and under World Cup. Their two wins over the major leaguers, which is composed of players of different nationalities seems to cement that position, even though those games are exhibitions. The United States chose not to enter a team in this event.

Japan shutout Korea yesterday 1-0 behind two excellent pitching performances, one by Naoyuki Uwasawa of the Nippon Ham Fighters, who is showing the world Shohei Otani is not the only young pitching prospect on the team. Korea had an excellent pitching performance from lefty Kim-Jun Lim.

Uwasawa worked seven innings, allowing only five hits while striking out 12. He was sitting in the high 80s to low 90s with his fastball, allowing Korea to advance just one runner past first base in the seven innings he worked. In the second inning Juh-Yun Kim led off with a single, stole second and advanced to third on a bunt. With one out Uwasawa struck out Ye-Il Seo and got Jeong-Yeol An to ground to short to end the threat. Uwasawa struck out at least one hitter in every inning, striking out the side in the third.

Ki-Jun Lim deserved a better fate. He matched Uwasawa pitch for pitch, not allowing a hit until the fifth inning. He put himself in trouble by walking Aoi Enomoto with one out. Kenya Wakatsuki swung at a high pitch on a hit and run, slapping a liner into right for a base hit to move Enomoto to third. Kenjo Takeda swung at the first pitch and roped a one hopper at the shortstop. It was a tailor made double play if he could have played the hop, but the ball sizzled past him allowing the only run to score. Lim allowed only five hits in his seven innings of work, but one of his five walks came back to haunt him.

Japan had an opportunity to score some insurance runs in the seventh, a Takeda single putting runners on first and third with just one out. Takeda got picked off at first by Lim. A walk and hit batsman loaded the bases but Taisei Makihara flied out to right to end the threat.

Japan relied on Kazuto Taguchi and Nomura Ryosuke to pitch the last two innings to secure the win. Ryosuke allowed a leadoff single by Doh-Yun Kim that was hit off the end of the bat into left field. Ryosuke retired the next three hitters, the last two on strikeouts to secure the save.

Game Notes: Uwasawa wears the number 18 which signifies he is the ace of this staff. This win was more important than tomorrow’s game against Taiwan since it secured a place in the gold medal championship match. Win or lose against Taiwan today will still put them in the gold medal match…There was a larger Japanese crowd for the game today than against the Czechs. No admission for this game…Seiya Suzuki can fly. He hit a two out triple into the gap that had the third base coach debating whether to send him home since there were two outs…Korea had two caught stealings. One was a batter’s interference call when in the umpires discretion the hitter interfered with the catcher trying to make the throw for a strike out throw him out double play. The Korean manager argued but failed to change the Dutch umpire’s mind…Seung-ho Kang almost tied the game up, sending the ball deep to the warning track in right field in the seventh inning…The Korean manager likes to wait until the hitter approaches the plate before he announces a pinch hitter for him. There is probably a strategy to that approach, but it would seem to me an embarrassment to the hitter.

Netherlands All Stars

Friday, November 14th, 2014

The Honkball site has named their All Stars for the Netherlands professional league. They are identified below:

MVP: Vince Rooi (Vaessen Pioneers)
Left-handed pitcher: Diegomar Well (DOOR Neptunus)
Right-handed pitcher: Kevin Heijstek (L & D Amsterdam)
Catcher: Gianison Boekhoudt (DOOR Neptunus)
First baseman: Kenny Berkenbosch (L & D Amsterdam)
Second baseman: Benjamin Dille ( DOOR Neptunus)
Third baseman: Vince Rooi (Vaessen Pioneers)
Short stop: Michael Duursma (L & D Amsterdam)
Left Fielder: Roeland Henrique Jr. (L & D Amsterdam)
Centerfielder: Shaldimar Daantji (DOOR Neptunus)
Rightfielder: Bas de Jong (L & D Amsterdam)
Designated hitter: Dè Flanegin (Vaessen Pioneers)
Best coach: Evert-Jan ‘t Hoen (DOOR Neptunus)

The website can be reviewed here:

honkball

Samurai Japan Batter Iwakuma and Wada in Win

Friday, November 14th, 2014

The Samurai Japan team beat the major league team for the second time, assaulting the two Japanese pitchers Hisashi Iwakuma and Tsyoshi Wada for seven of their 8 runs in their 8-4 win. Yuki Yanagita was a homer shy of the cycle, driving in four runs. The Samurai flooded the boxscore with 14 hits, Yanagita, Ryosuke Kikuchi and Nobuhiro Matsuda each collecting three hits.

Chihiro Kaneko got the start for Team Samurai, giving up three runs in his five innings of work. He gave up a two run homerun to Justin Morneau in the second inning.

Yanagita drove in runs in the first, fourth and eighth, three of the four innings Team Samurai scored runs to be voted the hero of the game. The boxscore for the game can be found here:

boxscore

Rafters and Javelinas to Play in AFL Championships

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

The Salt River Rafters won the East Division to advance to the championship of the Arizona Fall League (AFL). They will face the Peoria Javelinas, who tied with the Surprise Saguaros for first place in the West division, but the Javelinas advance because of a higher winning percentage, i.e. one less loss and two more tie games.

Peoria beat Surprise on the last day 5-2 to win the division. Surprise was the defending champions while Peoria won the 2012 championship. Salt River won in 2011. In the last four years the AFL has had four different teams win championships. This streak will end this year.