JUNIOR NATIONAL TEAM DROPS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS OPENER TO CHINESE TAIPEI
Sept. 18, 2006
CIEGO DE AVILA, CUBA – A combination of missed scoring opportunities and errors in the field proved costly for the USA Baseball Junior National Team in a 4-1 loss to Chinese Taipei Sept. 18 in the Americans’ opening game of the XXII International BAseball Federation "AAA" World Junior Championships at J.R. Cepero Stadium. The championships, featuring 12 teams of youth ages 18 and under, began Sept. 17 and continues through Sept. 27.
Team USA will look to rebound from its loss when the JNT returns to action in a 2 p.m. (Eastern time) pool play matchup Sept. 19 against Mexico at J.R. Cepero Stadium. Mexico faced Canada in its tournament opener Sept. 18.
The JNT collected nine hits against Chinese Taipei (1-0), including three by Justin Jackson (INF; Asheville, NC) and two by Christian Colon (INF; Corona, CA), but the Americans stranded nine runners on base and grounded into three double plays on the afternoon. Team USA also committed a trio of fielding errors that led to three unearned runs. All three unearned tallies for Chinese Taipei came in the sixth inning.
The Americans had taken a 1-0 lead in the home half of the fifth inning. Tommy Medica (C; San Jose, CA) led off the inning by drawing a walk off Chinese Taipei starter Chun Hsiu Chen. Victor Sanchez (OF; Norwalk, CA) moved Medica to second with a two-strike bunt. After a pitching change brought Kai Wen Cheng into the game, Jackson hit a sharp bouncer up the first base line that skipped over Chinese Taipei first baseman Hung Cheng Lai’s glove to drive in Medica with the game’s first run.
But the visitors answered in their next at bat. A leadoff single by Wei Chih Chen against Team USA starter Blake Beavan (RHP; Irving, TX) followed by a sacrifice bunt and an infield fly brought Chinese Taipei right fielder Wang Wei Lin to the plate. Lin was issued an intentional walk to put runners at first and second bases with two out. Tim Alderson (RHP; Phoenix, AZ) was then summoned in from the Team USA bullpen to replace Beavan. After falling behind in the count to Cheng 3-0, Alderson got Cheng to hit a slicing fly ball to center field. But JNT center fielder Matt Newman (OF; Glendale, AZ) mishandled the ball for a two-base error with both Chen and Lin scoring on the play. Pinchhitter Chen Yu Hung then lined a single up the middle off Alderson to plate Cheng and give Chinese Taipei a 3-1 lead.
Chinese Taipei added its only earned run in the seventh. After Alderson struck out the first two batters he faced in the inning, a two-out single by Chen was followed by a run-scoring double to right center from Yen Wen Kuo. That run gave Chinese Taipei its final three-run advantage.
Team USA had a runner on third base with just one out in both the first and sixth innings. But two infield flies ended the Americans’ threat in their first at bat and a double play grounder stymied the scoring opportunity in the sixth inning. Back-to-back one-out singles by Sanchez and Jackson gave the JNT one final opportunity in the bottom of the ninth inning. But Colon, who represented the tying run, bounced into a 6-4-3 double play to end the contest.
Chinese Taipei 000 003 100 – 4 9 2
USA 000 010 00x – 1 9 3
Hsiu, Cheng (5) and Wang. Beavan, Alderson (6), Parker (8) and Medica.
W: Cheng (1-0). L: Beavan (0-1).
Time: 2:29 Attendance: 5,500.
Sept. 17 Pool Play Results
Cuba def. Netherlands, 13-3 (8 innings)
Sept. 18 Pool Play Schedule
Chinese Taipei def. USA, 4-1
Australia def. South Africa, 9-2
Italy def. Spain, 12-2 (7 innings)
Canada vs. Mexico
Panama vs. Korea
Sept. 19 Pool Play Schedule (All times Eastern)
Italy vs. Chinese Taipei, 10 a.m.
Spain vs. Canada, 1 p.m.
South Africa vs. Panama, 1 p.m.
Australia vs. Netherlands, 2 p.m.
Mexico vs. USA, 2 p.m.
Korea vs. Cuba, 9 p.m.