The defending champions in the under 12 World Cup have been defeated. Venezuela also comes back to vanquish a still celebrating Nicaragua, who had beaten the powerful Cubans the day before. Cuba knocks Japan out of any championship hope and can still be eligible for a championship run with a victory over the United States. The events spin out in unexpected fashion in Taiwan like a mystery novel, with a number of characters coming forward to bring his team closer to victory. The only certainty is Taiwan will be in the championship. Who they will play is still a mystery.
Taiwan 11 United States 6
Pitching has been a United States strong suit. They lead all teams with a 1.06 ERA. Taiwan came into the game number one in hitting with a batting average of .439. They lead all the teams in runs scored with 67. The hitting won out in this game. Both teams bats were alive in the first two innings with the game tied 5-5. It was Taiwan who broke out at the end, scoring four runs in the top of the sixth to break the game wide open. There were 6,500 celebratory fans after the game. The blue streamers must have been flying.
Carson McKinney could not get out of the first inning. He retired the first hitter on a ground out, gave up a double to Chun Yang, then walked the next four hitters. Thomas Dilandri replaced McKinney, threw a wild pitch to score the third run, walked the next batter to load the bases again and gave up an RBI single to Chun-Yi Yeh to make it 4-0.
The United States also took advantage of the wildness of Hao-En Chen, who also could not survive past the first inning, giving up two walks, two wild pitches and a two run single to Ryan Clifford and an RBI single to Ryan Reuter to chase him from the game. Fortunately for the statisticians the offenses slowed down a bit after that (or the pitching showed a little more control). Taiwan scored a run in the top of the second and Zachary Torres hit a two run homer in the bottom frame to make it 5-5 after two.
Taiwan ran away with the game in the top of the sixth on three straight singles to send Daniel Corona to the showers. Chang-Chou Li drove in two runs with a pinch hit two run double to extend the Taiwan lead to 10-6. Taiwan is in the championship game. The United States must beat Cuba to survive or hope to get in via a tie breaker.
Cuba 5 Japan 2
Cuba got strong relief pitching from Yanquiel Fernandez to bounce back with a win over Japan. Yanquiel worked three plus innings and did not allow a run (though an inherited runner scored on his balk). He struck out seven of the 13 hitters he faced and even contributed an RBI single in the three run third that put Cuba ahead for good. Cuba needs to beat the United States in their last game to have a chance to compete for the championship.
Venezuela 9 Nicaragua 3
Venezuela may be out of a championship run but they have not quit playing. A single by Jeremy Rivas in the top of the sixth and a two base error to allow him to advance to third set up the game tying single from Luis Medina to send the game into extra innings. In the third extra inning (ninth inning) Venezuela erupted for eight runs, aided by six walks from Nicaraguan pitchers and two wild pitches. If not for the error in the sixth Lesther Medrano may have pitched a complete game shutout. He worked seven innings. Nicaragua had a runner thrown out at home in the bottom of the seventh, denying Medrano with an opportunity to pick up the win. Nicaragua needs to beat Japan to be eligible for any play off run. If Cuba beats the United States and they beat Taiwan, they are in by virtue of their win over Cuba. Taiwan really has nothing to play for but pride.
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