Under 23 World Cup - Japan to Face Mexico in Finals

Japan will enter the finals undefeated after disposing of the Dominican Republic. They will face second place Mexico, who lost two games in the championship game. Korea will play Venezuela for the bronze.

Korea 3 Mexico 2

Mexico had nothing to play for since they had qualified for the finals. Korea needed this win to get to the bronze medal game. Saul Castellanos had shutout Korea for the first five innings. Mexico scored two in the third to jump out to an early 2-0 lead.

Korea’s bats woke up in the sixth. Kim Min-Hyeok started the inning with a double. A single and one out walk loaded the bases. Hwang Kyeong-Tae drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly, the other runners also advancing. Pinch hitter Choe Tae-Seong slapped a crucial two run single to give Korea a 3-2 lead.

Mexico had two runners thrown out at the bases in the bottom of the sixth, one on a caught stealing and the other on a single where the runner was gunned down trying to advance to third. Mexico stranded runners on first and third with one out in the seventh. They had the tying run at second with one out in the ninth but Yi Jung-Yong struck out the last two hitters to preserve the win. Despite all those wasted opportunities, Mexico still advances to the championship game.

Venezuela 4 Taiwan 3

Venezuela also needed a rally to beat Taiwan and advance to the bronze medal game. Taiwan had jumped to an early 3-0 lead with three runs in the third. Venezuela got 5.1 shutout innings from Yosmer Solórzano that allowed them to come back. Carlos Machado got a clutch two run pinch hit single in the seventh to tie the game. Yoel Romero banged an RBI double in the eighth to give Venezuela a 4-3 lead.

Luis Garcia was called on to finish up the eighth and close out the ninth to secure the Venezuelan victory.

Japan 4 Dominican Republic 0

Japan got seven innings of shutout ball from Kosuke Sakaguchi to lead Japan to the shutout victory. The bullpen worked the remaining two but preserved the shutout. Kenji Nishimaki collected three hits, driving in two runs to lead the offense. Kento Harasawa also added three hits with a RBI and a run scored.

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