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BASEBALL/Palestine, Japan, Philippines win openers; Taipei Dome springs a leak

12/04/2023 09:25 PM
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Palestinian baseball players hug each other after winning their game against Hong Kong in the Asian Baseball Championship at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium on Monday. Photo courtesy of Chinese Taipei Baseball Association Dec. 4, 2023
Palestinian baseball players hug each other after winning their game against Hong Kong in the Asian Baseball Championship at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium on Monday. Photo courtesy of Chinese Taipei Baseball Association Dec. 4, 2023

Taipei, Dec. 4 (CNA) Japan eased past Pakistan, while Palestine scored a historic win over Hong Kong and the Philippines romped passed Thailand on the second day of the BFA Asian Baseball Championship being hosted in Taiwan.

Fielding its first ever team in the tournament with players from the United States, Palestine rode the hot hand of right-hander Steve Mufareh to upend Hong Kong 3-1 for its first win ever in the Asian Baseball Championship.

The 19-year-old Mufareh, who attends Southern Wesleyan University, allowed only one unearned run on five hits in seven innings and struck out four without issuing a walk.

His teammates scored a run each in the top of the eighth and ninth to secure victory in a rain-delayed game played in Taichung.

Japanese players interact during the Asian Baseball Championship game against Pakistan at Taipei Dome on Monday. Photo courtesy of Chinese Taipei Baseball Association Dec. 4, 2023
Japanese players interact during the Asian Baseball Championship game against Pakistan at Taipei Dome on Monday. Photo courtesy of Chinese Taipei Baseball Association Dec. 4, 2023

The Japanese had no problem with Pakistan at the Taipei Dome, allowing only three hits in a 14-0 win that was called after 6 1/2 innings because Japan was leading by at least 10 runs.

Japanese starter Mizuki Kato pitched five nearly perfect innings, no-hitting Pakistan while striking out seven.

The only Pakistan batter to get on base against Kato was left-fielder Fazal Ur Rehman, who reached on an error in the third.

Japan put the game away in the fifth with an eight-run rally on five doubles, two singles and three walks, extending their lead to 14-0.

The Philippines topped Thailand 14-4 in a game that also ended after seven innings because of the 10-run rule.

Philippine players (right) and Thai players shake hands after their game at Taipei Dome Monday afternoon. Photo courtesy of Chinese Taipei Baseball Association Dec. 4, 2023
Philippine players (right) and Thai players shake hands after their game at Taipei Dome Monday afternoon. Photo courtesy of Chinese Taipei Baseball Association Dec. 4, 2023
Source: @chuckgo919

The two teams had to overcome a water leak and sounds of alarms in the newly opened Taipei Dome.

Water began to leak down the left field line not far from third base around an hour into the game, which the Taipei Dome builder and operator Farglory Group later attributed to poorly connected water pipes.

The alarms, it said, went off because of ongoing work and testing in an unfinished basement of the facility.

Taiwan opened the tournament on Sunday with a 4-0 win over South Korea and is tied for the Group A lead with Palestine, while Japan and the Philippines lead Group B.

Taiwan will play the surprising Palestinians on Tuesday night in Taichung at 6:30 p.m., while South Korea and Hong Kong will face off in a game there earlier in the day.

Thailand will face Japan in the night game at the Taipei Dome on Tuesday while the Philippines and Pakistan will play there in the day game starting at 12:30 p.m.

The top two teams in each group will advance to a Super Round of the final four teams, with the top two teams in the Super Round playing for the title on Dec. 10.

The eight-day championship is being played mostly by amateurs, except for Taiwan, which has fielded a team consisting primarily of players from Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League.

(By Luke Sabatier and Kay Liu)

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