Havana, Sept 22 Cuba had 18 hits but only a 4-3 lead going into the top of the 9th inning against Australia on Thursday in the 22nd “AAA” World Junior Baseball Championship, reports Granma daily.
Five more hits and four runs would bust the game open giving the island an 8-3 victory to remain undefeated after four games.
An excellent 3-inning relief performance by hard throwing Vladimir Garcia preserved the win for Cuba, which coupled with Chinese Taipei’s loss to Canada, left the island the only undefeated team. Lefthander Frank del Valle Arrebato used a good curve ball on the corners during six innings to get the win.
During the first eight innings, Cuba’s poor base running (3 thrown out) and 13 others left on base made the game closer than it should have been.
Besides, the defending world champions committed a rare four fielding errors.
On Friday, Cuba plays South Africa. Dayan Viciedo, normally an infielder, will start, followed by two or three relievers in what should be a day when the Cuban bench gets a lot of play against the weak opponents.
Saturday is a day off for all teams with the final round beginning on Sunday.
Taipei Loses Undefeated Status
After allowing only one run in its first three games, the Chinese Taipei pitching staff was blasted Thursday for 8 runs by Canada, which allowed only one, and lost not only its undefeated status but also the top position in Group B to Canada. Shelton McDonald pitched 8 innings of 7-hit ball, including a solo homer by Wang Wei Lin, to pick up the win. Canadian Left fielder Brett Lawrie became the tournament’s top hitter at .545 after going 5 for 6 against Taipei.
Holland won its third game in spectacular fashion on Thursday. Down 1-0 in 7 innings against Panama the Europeans were facing starter Antonio Cuan who had held thus far to one hit with seven strikeouts. After scoring one in eighth to tie, a three-run homer by Zair Koeiman in the ninth lifted Holland to a 4-1 win. Koeiman had won a previous game against Australia with three run double. Tom Stuifbergen went the entire 9 innings for Holland while striking out 11.
In other action, the slumping US batters came to life and jumped on Italy’s pitchers for 18 runs to win their second game 18-1 in a mercy rule shortened seven innings. Italy managed just one hit and committed two errors in losing. Mexico walked against Spain 15-2 in seven innings and South Korea shut out South Africa 9-0.
After the first four games of the 22nd “AAA” World Junior Baseball Championship (19 and under) Cuba leads Group A with a 4-0 record followed by Holland 3-1, Australia and South Korea 2-2 Panama 1-3 and South Africa 0-4.
In Group B, Canada and Chinese Taipei are 3-1 followed by Italy, the US and Mexico 2-2, and Spain 0-4.
(Taken from ACN)