Japan became the first semi-finalist of the WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship. Today the Asian champions defeated Venezuela, 6-0, and advanced into the top four of the tournament. Two-way player Hikaru Matsuda pitched six innings of 1-hit ball and went 2-2 with the bat to lead his team.
Japan scored twice off left-handed starter Erick Urbaneja in the bottom of the first and took an early lead. Ryoyu Une singled through the middle to lead off the game and then Matsuda tripled in the first run of the game with a line drive to right field. Today’s Japanese starter scored himself with a single by Tsukasa Oishi.
In the fourth Japan doubled its difference. With Kotaro Yasumi on first base, Seii Kuroiwa bunted and Carlos Carreño made a throwing error allowing both Yasumi and Kuroiwa to score.
One inning later Hiroto Ikeda hit an opposite field, 2-RBI triple to left field on a high pitch off reliever Carlos Ucero to plate Taiyo Kataoka and Kuroiwa.
Matsuda was brilliant from the circle. He struck out 8 in six innings. Allowing 1 hit and 1 walk. The lost was charged to Erick Urbaneja, who pitched 3 innings allowing 7 hits, 2 walks and 4 runs (3 of them earned).
With this result, Japan advances to the semifinal and tomorrow will play against New Zealand. Venezuela will continue playing for the fifth place.
Singapore tops Philippines, clinches 15th place
In an exciting game, Singapore defeated Philippines 4-3 in nine innings and clinched the 15th place in the Men’s Softball World Championship. The game was tied at 2 by the end of the seventh and was decided in the ninth.
With runners on third and second, Philippines pitcher Leo Barredo threw a wild pitch and then catcher Edmer Del made a throwing error, to allow both runners score. In the bottom of that same inning Isidro Abello singled in the runner on second, but then Jun Tan closed the door and claimed the win.
Singapore ended the World Championship 15th, while Philippines ended 16th.