World Port Tournament 2017: Taiwan beats Japan in extra innings

In a typical small ball and low scoring game, Taiwan bested Japan in extra innings.  For a long time, Taiwan had the lead in this game but Japan managed to tie the game in the ninth inning. 

In a battle of two Asian giants, Japan took the lead in the first inning. Hiroto Kobukata doubled to right center field, advanced to third on a sac bunt laid down by Masaki Otani and scored on Takuya Okura’s single to left center field.
In the bottom of the second inning Taiwan’s Chen Yi singled through the left side and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Liao Chun. Chen Yi eventually scored on a single down the right field line hit by H. Wang

Two innings later, the Taiwanese extended their lead. Chen Yi got on base on a single through the left side. On another sacrifice bunt, Yi advanced to second and moved to third on a single to left field. H. Wang drove him in with a single through the right side.

In the top of the fifth inning, Japan had a golden opportunity to score when the team loaded the bases with no outs, but relief pitcher Huang Chien retired the next three batters with a little help from his defense as first baseman Lin Chia Yu fired the ball to home plate, where Masaki Otani was tagged out for the first out of the inning, after it was hit to him by Naoyuki Wakiya. In the seventh, there was a similar situation with the bases loaded and one out, but again Japan failed to cash in.

But just in the nick of time, Japan tied the game in the ninth inning. Takuya Okura drew a leadoff walk, followed by a sac bunt on which he advanced to second base. Okura advanced to third on a 6-4 groundout. Ryoto Maeda drove in the game-tying run on a single to left center field.
Taiwan came close to score the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth when Ko Ching Han doubled with two outs and tried to score on H. Lin’s single to right center field but was thrown out at home plate on a perfect throw from right fielder Kazuya Suzuki.

So extra innings were needed. Japan did not score despite having a runner in scoring position. Taiwan, on the other hand, managed to score. Huang Chia singled to left field and was replaced by pinch runner Huang Wei. Huang Wei advanced to second base on another sac bunt. With two outs, Taiwan loaded the bases thanks to a dropped fly ball in left field, a crucial error that would cost Japan dearly as Wang Hsin Chuan singled home the winning run with a hit to center field.

As written in the introduction, this game was a typical Asian small ball affair. Only two extra base hits were hit, a double by either team.

Wang Chen Hao earned the win after 3.1 innings in relief. He gave up one run on four hits and a walk and struck out one. Takahiro Yamamoto took the loss after 1.1 innings in relief. He gave up one run on five hits and struck out one.

Best hitter for the Taiwanese was Wang Hsin Chuan, who went 3 for 4 with three RBI.


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