19/10/2018 - 28/10/2018


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II U-23 Baseball World Cup 2018 - Official Payoff
27/10/2018 2 Minute Read

Kengo homers to break the tie against Venezuela, Japan makes the final

Star pitcher Atsuki Taneichi was off a rough start and Japan was trailing 3-0 in the middle of the first. Taneichi didn’t allow another run and Samurai started a come back they completed with a three run homer by Horiuchi in the eighth

Japan beat Venezuela, 6-3, and will defend the U-23 World Title in Sunday’s final. Samurai had to come back from an early deficit. Starter Atsuki Taneichi was indeed off a rough start. He needed 25 pitches to get out of a first inning in which he allowed a three-run homer to Leandro Cedeño. Japan tied it in the third and broke the score open in the bottom of the eighth with a three-run homer by catcher Horiuchi Kengo.

Taneichi used 88 pitches to complete seven against Chinese Taipei in group play, without allowing a walk. He issued one in the top of the first against Venezuela, with one out and lead off hitter Yonny Hernandez (single, stolen base) on second. It proved costly: with two outs, designated hitter Leandro Cedeño drove his fourth offering well beyond the left field fence for a three-run home run.

Japan stroke right back. Venezuela’s starter Christian Meijas got started with back to back walks and Samurai made him pay a price. After a sacrifice bunt, Meijas walked the bases loaded and designated hitter Kento Harasawa hit a two-RBI single through the right side.

Venezuela needed two relievers to get through the first couple of innings. Left hander Ivan Andueza got out of the second, but in the bottom of the third he allowed a two-out triple to Yasuhito Uchida. Kento Harasawa followed with a deep fly that fell close to the right field line and scored Uchida for the tying run.

From that point on, the game turned into a pitching duel.
Venezuela indeed had the best chances to score. With two outs in the top of the fifth, Japan’s center fielder Kairi Shimada dove to get to a line drive by Jesus Lujano, was fooled by the ball and Lujano turned it into a triple. Taneichi got a fly to center to get out of the inning and escaped another threat in the sixth, as he struck out Yoel Romero with Joel Diaz standing at third.

Both teams led off the eighth with a hit and bunted the runner to third. Taneichi (pushed to a 117-pitch count) earned the two outs that took him out of the inning, while in the bottom half of the frame Japan got to Andueza. Hisanori Yasuda dropped a sacrifice bunt and Venezuela manager Carlos Moya replied with an intentional walk to Kento Harasawa. On the third pitch by Andueza, Japan’s catcher Kengo Horiuchi pulled a moon shot to right field for a tie breaking three-run homer.

Kakeru Narita threw a perfect ninth to collect the save.