23 and Under World Cup - Japan and Mexico clinch Spot in Finals

They still have another day to play but Mexico and Japan will appear in the Gold Medal Round. Mexico beat Venezuela earlier in pool play so even if they lose tomorrow they will be tied with Venezuela for second place. The tie breaker is head to head so Mexico advances.

Japan 6 Venezuela 3

Venezuela had to win this game to have any hope of appearing in the final. Both teams scored early. Leandro Cedeno hit a three run shot in the first to give Venezuela an early 3-0 lead. Japan battled back for two more with Kento Harasawa ripping a two run single to make it 3-2.

Atsuki Taneichi shut out the Venezuelan bats for the next seven innings. Harasawa doubled in the third to tie the game at 3-3. It was virtually ended in the bottom of the eighth when Kengo Horiuchi mashed a three run homerun, his first of the tournament to give Japan a 6-3 lead. Kakeru Narita relieved Taneichi and retired the Venezuelans in order in the ninth to clinch Japan’s appearance in the finals.

Mexico 3 Dominican Republic 1

The Dominicans scored first after an error by the right fielder allowed Dariel Gomez to score. Gomez had gotten on base via an error. Wilber Perez pitched three shutout innings for the Dominicans but was a little wild, walking four batters.

Orlando Pina hit a two run single for Mexico in the sixth to stake them to a 2-1 lead. Francisco Haro went nine innings to get the win. He only allowed three hits, striking out nine. Mexico scored an insurance run in the seventh on a strikeout/wild pitch and an error by the catcher that allowed the third run to score.

Korea 5 Taiwan 2

It was a game for Asian pride. Korea won. Kim Min-Hyeok blasted a two run homer in the first and Kim Chan-Hyung slugged a two run homer in the third to give Korea an early 5-0 lead.

For Taiwan Chang Wen-Hsien got his first three hits of the tournament going 3 for 4 and driving in both runs. He hit a solo shot in the fourth and drove in the second run in the eighth with a single. Another single put they tying run to the plate but Taiwan could not take advantage. Two walks in the ninth again put the tying run to the plate but a ground out double play ended the game.

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