(ATR) Chinese Taipei played the role of spoiler to perfection on Saturday in the WBSC Premier 12 tournament at Tokyo Dome.
Despite having no chance to advance to the final round on Sunday, Chinese Taipei made sure Australia didn’t either, defeating them 5-1 in the penultimate Super Round game of the tournament.
A win for the Aussies would have guaranteed a bronze medal game against Mexico. Instead it will be the United States playing its southern neighbor for both a bronze and an automatic qualification spot to Tokyo 2020 as the Americas representative.
Chinese Taipei rebounded from Friday’s elimination loss to the USA to score four runs in the eighth inning to break open a 1-1 game. The big blow was a three-run home run from Che-Hsuan Lin off Ryan Searle to make it 5-1.
"For all the players, it was decided it was a very important game and the players did very well, especially in the eighth inning," Chinese Taipei manager I-Chung Hong said after the game.
Australia manager David Nilsson, while disappointed with the results, told Around the Rings that high-level tournaments like the Premier 12 will help in his country’s development in the sport.
"More exposure for us as a team to that level of competitions is only going to make us better," Nilsson said after the game. "A lot of disappointment, a lot of emotions about some of the results but I think we’ve been in every game and at some stage in every game we’ve had an opportunity to win so as we continue to improve as a team our results will improve as well."
Australia finished with a record of 1-4 in the Super Round, while the USA and Chinese Taipei were 2-3.
Japan defeated South Korea 10-8 in the final Super Round match on Saturday night. The result means Japan finish with the best record in the Super Round at 4-1 with South Korea at 3-2. Both teams played many of their reserve players in a game that was a preview of the gold medal game on Sunday night.
The Koreans’ 7-3 win over Mexico on Friday night booked their place at Tokyo 2020 and also guaranteed that they would be facing Japan in the Premier 12 championship game.
Written and reported by Gerard Farek in Tokyo
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