Nicaragua Rallies to Play Bronze Medal Game

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.

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