Korea Advances to Tokyo; Cuba Still in Hunt

Cuba stayed alive for the Super Round with a 3-2 10 inning win over Australia. Korea advanced to the Super Round with their 3-1 win over Canada. Cuba must now beat Korea to have any hope of advancing to Tokyo and hope Australia beats Canada to advance on a tie breaker.

Korea relied on their starting pitching again, getting six innings of one hit shutout ball from Kwang-hyun Kim to lead them to victory. Canada responded with five innings of shutout ball from Robert Zastryzny. Both pitchers were sharp in the early going but Korea was able to get to Zastryzny in the sixth.

The rally started with a one out single from Byung-hun Kim, only the third hit off Zastryzny. A walk to Ha-Seong Kim finished the day for Zastryzny and brought in Chris Leroux. He retired the first hitter he faced for the second out, but then loaded the bases walking slugger Byung-ho Park. Jae-hwan Kim then stroked a clutch two out single into right field to score two and break the tie.

Korea went to their bullpen in the seventh. In the eighth they broke through the Korean barrier by scoring the first run off the Korean pitching staff. Dalton Pompey sliced a one out single into left field. Wesley Darvill drilled a double into right field to score Pompey and Canada had pulled to within one.

Korea replaced Deok-ju Ham with Sang-woo Cho. Cho struck out the next two hitters to finish the eighth and retired the side in order in the ninth to secure the victory for Korea and the hometown crowd. It did not matter that Korea scored an insurance run for him in the ninth on a Min-Woo Park single. Korea advances to Tokyo. Canada must beat Australia to advance.

Australia loaded the bases with no out in the first inning but failed to score. A strikeout and fly out throw out at home ended the rally and could have ended any hope for Australia advancing.

Cuba could not get a man on base in the first four innings off Australian pitcher Joshua Guyer. An Alfredo Despaigne single and walk to Frederich Cepeda ended the day for Guyer and brought on the veteran Peter Moylan. He could not put out the fire, giving up an RBI single to Yordanis Samon and the second run scoring when Australia could not turn the double play.

Australia was able to come back in the top of the sixth to tie it. Timothy Kennelly led off the inning with a homerun. A Logan Wade single drove in the second run.

Cuba had an opportunity to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth when they put runners on first and third with one out. Yurisbel Gracial failed to drive him in, striking out and Alfredo Despaigne grounded out to strand the runners. Australia put runners on second and third with one out in the top of the ninth but Allan de san Miguel struck out and Timothy Kennelly flied out.

It went to the tenth where the tie breaking rules put runners on first and second. Canada eschewed the bunt and a popout to short bit them. They failed to score. Cuba was successful with their bunt advancing the runners to second and third. Yurisbel Gracial this time did not fail Cuba by hitting one deep enough to centerfield to score the winning run on a sacrifice fly.

Cuban sluggers Gracial and Despaigne are now 1 for 16. Cuba needs their bats if they hope to advance to Tokyo.

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