02/11/2019 - 17/11/2019


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II Premier12 2019 - Official Payoff

Suzuki shines again as Japan go perfect in the Premier12 opening round

Suzuki shines again as Japan go perfect in the Premier12 opening round
More than 20,000 passionate baseball fans packed Taichung Intercontinental Stadium to witness Japan finished Premier12 opening round with 3-0 record as Japan defeated Chinese Taipei with the score of 8-1.

TAICHUNG, Taiwan | In the final game of Group B opening round both teams managed to collect eleven hits each, but no. 4 Chinese Taipei was not able to produce the clutch one until the bottom of the ninth while no 1 ranked Japan’s runners crossed home plate eight times before Japan defeated Chinese Taipei, 8-1, to advance to Super Round with undefeated record.

Japan’s starting pitcher Shota Imanaga pitched three scoreless innings while giving up four hits and struck out four. Chinese Taipei batters collected two hits in the first inning but was unable to score. Leadoff hitter Chen-Wei Wang’s hit was followed by Hung-Yu Lin’s towering shot that only missed the top of the fence by inches. Chinese Taipei left runners at the corners to end the first inning. In the third inning Chinese Taipei left the bases loaded as Imanaga struck out Yu-Hsien Chu to walk away from the jam. “We know Chinese Taipei hitters are very good, but we were told not to pitch around them but to attack instead,” said Imanaga.

Chinese Taipei’s starter Yi-Ching Liao lasted only two innings as manager I-Chung Hong deployed six pitchers for the night.” Chih-Wei Hu, the third pitcher of the night who pitched three and two-thirds innings, gave up just one run. “I kept preparing myself to be ready. With the experiences I have from MLB, I want to be able to deliver whenever it is needed,” said Hu.

Japan’s offense quickly put numbers on the scoreboard in the first inning as Seiya Suzuki’s one-out triple drove in the first run of the night, and Masataka Yoshida’s single sent Suzuki home for a 2-0 lead. “Having able to score first, and also with two runs instead of one, helped to set the tone for the game,” said Japan manager Atsunori Inaba. “We know we’ll be greeted by very passionate Taiwanese fans, but it was really overwhelming.”

“Our pitchers did a good job despite maybe more or less being affected by the home team fans; however, they all were able to stay put and keep the situation contained.”

Seiya Suzuki belted a 2-run home run to increase Japan’s lead to 4-0 on the top of third.  

Chinese Taipei had another opportunity to score after a successful challenge to put the runners at corners, but Wei-Chen Wang’s fly ball to center ended the third inning for Chinese Taipei.

Japan added another run in the sixth and another three in the ninth to lead 8-0 entering the bottom half of the ninth. Chinese Taipei finally put one run on pinch-hitter Jin-De Jhang’s two-out single to avoid a shutout.

Chinese Taipei manager Hong said, “Our pitching (tonight) was less than ideal; although we had quite some hits, but we weren’t able to seize the opportunity when the occasion rises as Japan did.” Chinese Taipei had eleven left-on-bases tonight and were 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

After defeating Chinese Taipei tonight, Japan advanced to Super Round undefeated with the record of 1-0 (v. Chinese Taipei tonight) to start the Super Round. Chinese Taipei will start the Super Round with 0-1 record. The 2019 WBSC Premier12 Super Round will start on November 11th in ZOZO Marine Stadium in Chiba and Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan.