Taipei, Nov. 7 (CNA) Taiwan's national baseball team on Thursday finished in second place in Premier12 baseball championship Group B after losing to Japan 8-1 at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium.
The first loss for Team Taiwan, competing under the name Chinese Taipei, in the opening round of the international tournament, means it will take a 0-1 record into the next round which will be held in Japan next week.
Meanwhile, Japan finished top of the group undefeated with their third win and head into the Super Round with a 1-0 record.
Earlier Thursday, Venezuela defeated Puerto Rico 7-1 to finish third in Group B.
Japan took an early 2-nothing lead in the opening frame on a walk and two RBI hits. The visitors then widened the gap to 4-0 in the top of the third with a two-run homerun to the left field by Seiya Suzuki.
Japan added another run three innings later in the sixth, before extending the lead to 8-0 with a three-run ninth inning.
The only run Taiwan scored came late in the bottom of the ninth, thanks to Jhang Jin-de (張進德), avoiding the embarrassment of a shutout.
Taiwan opens its Super Round matches in Chiba City on Nov. 11.
In the Super Round, the top two teams from each of the three groups (A, B and C) compete in a round robin format, for a total of four more games per team.
Following the conclusion of the Super Round, the top four teams advance to the finals before the bronze medal game and a championship game are held at the Tokyo Dome on Nov. 17.
Sanctioned by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), the 2019 edition of the Premier12 features the top 12 teams in the WBSC's 2018 year-end world rankings.
With baseball returning to the Summer Olympics next year for the first time since 2008, the quadrennial Premier12, first launched in 2015, has added importance this year as a 2020 Tokyo Olympic qualifying event.
Taiwan needs to finish above South Korea and Australia in the tournament to secure a berth in the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Taiwan finished in ninth place in the inaugural Premier12, failing to advance to the quarterfinals after finishing with a 2-3 record in Group A. South Korea won the 2015 Premier12 championship.