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BASEBALL/Japan upends Taiwan in BFA baseball tourney

12/08/2023 10:28 PM
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Japanese baseball players (in blue top) smile after they have the victory in bag, at the end of the Asian Baseball Championship at Taipei Dome on Friday. CNA photo Dec. 8, 2023
Japanese baseball players (in blue top) smile after they have the victory in bag, at the end of the Asian Baseball Championship at Taipei Dome on Friday. CNA photo Dec. 8, 2023

Taipei, Dec. 8 (CNA) Japan outlasted Taiwan in extra innings at the 2023 BFA Asia Baseball Championship in Taipei on Friday, moving a step closer to the tournament's championship game on Sunday.

After a scoreless nine innings, first baseman Masashi Maruyama knocked a two-out single through the left side of the infield in the top of the 10th to put Japan up 1-0.

Taiwan had the bases loaded with two out in the bottom of the inning, but first baseman Iyang Namoh flied out to left field to end the game.

With the win, Japan improved to 2-0 in the Super Round standings, followed by Taiwan and South Korea at 1-1 and the Philippines at 0-2.

Japan will play South Korea at 12:30 p.m. at the Taipei Dome on Saturday, while Taiwan will face the Philippines at 6:30 p.m. to determine which teams play in the finals Sunday.

Japan's starting pitcher Shuichiro Kayo for the game against Taiwan at Taipei Dome on Friday. CNA photo Dec. 8, 2023
Japan's starting pitcher Shuichiro Kayo for the game against Taiwan at Taipei Dome on Friday. CNA photo Dec. 8, 2023

Pitching dominated for most of the evening, with Japan's Shuichiro Kayo the biggest standout.

Kayo, an amateur who has pitched for the Toyota company club and was on the Japanese team at the Asian Games in Hangzhou earlier this year, scattered five hits and a walk over eight innings while striking out nine to shut down Taiwan.

Yoshiki Fuchigami held Taiwan scoreless over the final two innings to get the win.

Taiwan used four pitchers on the night, who gave up a total of eight hits and walked three while striking out nine.

Wang Cheng-hao (王政浩) was credited with the loss. With runners placed on first and second to start the 10th based on international baseball rules, Wang retired the first two batters he faced, one on a flyout, one on a force play at third.

But Maruyama came through in the clutch to put Japan ahead.

Taiwanese baseball team member take a bow after the game against Japan at Taipei Dome on Friday. CNA photo Dec. 8, 2023
Taiwanese baseball team member take a bow after the game against Japan at Taipei Dome on Friday. CNA photo Dec. 8, 2023

In the earlier game in the Super Round at the Taipei Dome, South Korea topped the Philippines 8-2. It has to defeat Japan on Saturday to have a shot at Sunday's finals.

In the placement round to determine the final rankings of the other four teams in the tournament, Pakistan moved to the top of the group after defeating Palestine 12-3, while Hong Kong topped Thailand 12-10.

Pakistan leads the group with a 2-0 record in the round, and will conclude its tournament against 1-1 Hong Kong on Saturday, while Thailand, which has yet to win a game in the tournament, will finish its campaign against 1-1 Palestine.

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)

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Second basemen of the Palestinian team Dylan Renard (in red) tags out a Pakistan player during the placement round game at Xinzhuang Baseball Stadium in New Taipei on Friday. CNA photo Dec. 8, 2023
Second basemen of the Palestinian team Dylan Renard (in red) tags out a Pakistan player during the placement round game at Xinzhuang Baseball Stadium in New Taipei on Friday. CNA photo Dec. 8, 2023
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