Taipei-Taiwan had opportunities but could not come up with the clutch hit as its team of young professionals lost to South Korea 1-0 in the Asia Professional Baseball Championship at the Tokyo Dome on Friday.
The only run came in the bottom of the sixth in a game in which both teams could only muster four hits apiece.
Taiwanese starter Chen Kuan-yu (???), who pitches professionally for the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan, gave up a two-out walk to Kim Ha-seong and a run-scoring triple to right on a hanging breaking ball to Lee Jung-hoo.
Lee's deep fly ball just eluded the outstretched glove of Taiwanese right-fielder Chen Tzu-hao (???) and bounced off the right-field wall away from Chen, who fell to the ground. By the time Chen retrieved the ball, it was too late to prevent Kim from scoring.
"He (Lee) got hold of a bad breaking ball on the inside of the plate. It's too bad it went for an RBI triple," he said.
Despite his one bad pitch to Lee, Chen sparkled, striking out six and walked four in his 5 2/3 innings of work.
Taiwan had a chance to turn the game around in the eighth, putting runners on second and third with two outs. But South Korean reliever Jang Pill-joon struck out Chen Tzu-hao (???) on a 3-2 inside fastball that may have been slightly off the plate.
The Koreans were coming off a deflating 8-7 loss the night before to Japan after blowing a three-run lead in the 10th inning, and could have been vulnerable, but their starter Im Gi-yeong allowed just two hits over seven innings to keep Taiwan in check.
Friday's game was the second of three preliminary games in the tournament featuring mostly younger professional players representing Taiwan, Japan and South Korea.
To have any chance of advancing to the final between the first place and second place team in the preliminary round, Taiwan will have to beat Japan on Saturday night.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel