Chinese Taipei beat Colombia, 6-5, and qualified for the super round of the U-23 Baseball World Cup.
It was a ten-inning drama that featured almost everything that baseball has to offer: a pitching duel, power hitting, good defensive plays and a lot of emotions. From the point of view of Colombia, the most felt emotion will be regret. But Chinese Taipei will be celebrating this win. Expecially outfielder Tai Yun Chen, who tied the game with a solo home run, and second baseman Li Kai Wei, who provided a bases clearing double in the top of the tenth.
“For Colombia it’s been a honor to host a tournament of this level. I’m very sorry for our fans” said Colombia manager Jair Fernandez “We tried our best, but this is baseball. Only one team can win”.
The tenth inning was a game on its own. Chinese Taipei tried to advance the tie break runners with a bunt and got much more, as third baseman Derwin Pomare threw off the bag. Reliever Jhon Romero then walked Hong Wei Han and put Chinese Taipei ahead for the first time in the afternoon. Li Kai Wei followed with a bases clearing deep fly in the gap to left center. At the end of the frame, and after the benches cleared on some controversy about inside pitches and a wild bat out of the hands of a visiting hitter, Chinese Taipei sat on a 6-1 lead.
It could have been comfortable, but Colombia was not ready to give up. Reliever Shuo Cheng Wei hit Leandro Emiliani and Juan Zabala followed with a line drive in the gap to right center that cleared the bases and made it a two-run game. Chinese Taipei gave the call to Chun Chang Su in the bull pen and the reliever got started striking out Jhon Torres. Milton Ramos singled to score Zabala and became the potential tying run. Chun Chang Su wouldn’t let it happen: he struck out Jesus Posso and got pinch hitter Jordan Diaz on a grounder to second.
Playing behind star left hander Reiver Sanmartin, Colombia had taken the lead in the bottom of the third on a base hit by Carlos Vidal. The inning ended as Colombia grounded into a double play. It had already happened in the bottom of the first and will happen again in the bottom of the fourth and in the bottom of the eighth.
By the eighth, Chinese Taipei had already tied the game on a solo homer by left fielder Tai Yun Chen off freliever Elkin Alcalà.
HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOME RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!! 🇹🇼 Yun-Chen Tai
— WBSC ⚾ #U23WorldCup (@WBSC) 24 ottobre 2018
Colombia biggest chance to score had yet to come. In the bottom of the ninth the hosts loaded the bases against starter Chen Liang Chih, who had survived a 112-pitch and 7-walk outing that far. Chinese Taipei gave the call to left hander Shuo Cheng Wei. On his fourth pitch, the reliever got a ground ball to second by Carlos Vidal. Instead on going for what could have been the fifth double play for Chinese Taipei, Li Kai Wei got the out at home. Shuo Cheng Wei got Pomare on a fly to right and escaped the jam, forcing extra innings.
Chinese Taipei will now join Japan and Mexico in the super round. Here you have the FULL SCHEDULE.