《TAIPEI TIMES》 Taiwan thrashes South Korea 7-0 in Premier12
Taiwan’s Kao Yu-chieh hits against South Korea in their Premier12 Super Round game at Zozo Marine Stadium in Chiba, Japan, yesterday. Photo: Lin Cheng-kung, Taipei Times
/ Staff writer, with CNA
Taiwan’s national baseball team crushed defending champions South Korea 7-0 last night, securing a crucial victory in the Premier12 championship in Japan that keeps alive the nation’s hopes of securing an automatic berth at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Taiwan drew first blood in the top of the second inning with two consecutive RBI hits by Kao Yung-chieh and Hu Chin-lung off South Korea starter Kim Kwang-hyun, bringing the score to 2-0.
The lead was extended to 3-0 in the fourth inning with an RBI single by Wang Sheng-wei, bringing back runner Lin Li, who reached first base with a single.
In the top of the seventh inning, Chen Chun-hsiu blasted a three-run homer off South Korea reliever Won Jong-hyeon, before Lin Hung-yu added another RBI single in the ninth to give Taiwan a comfortable 7-0 lead, which they held until the end of the game.
Taiwan’s starting pitcher, Chang Yi, cruised through the game with another stellar 6.2 scoreless innings and 112 pitches, before being replaced in the seventh inning.
Relief pitchers Chen Kuan-yu and Chen Hung-wen closed the door to seal the team’s first victory in the Super Round.
The victory gives Taiwan a 1-2 record in the six-team Super Round. South Korea, winners of the inaugural Premier12 in 2015, have a 2-1 record.
Taiwan face the US on Friday and Australia on Saturday.
Taiwan need to finish above South Korea and Australia in the Super Round to secure a berth in next year’s Summer Olympics.
However, even if the team fail to claim a spot in the Olympics through the Premier12 tournament, they have one more chance at the Olympic final qualifying tournament, which is to take place in March or April next year.
Sanctioned by the World Baseball Softball Confederation （WBSC）, this year’s edition of the Premier12 features the top 12 teams in the WBSC’s 2018 year-end world rankings.
Baseball is returning to next year’s Summer Olympics for the first time since 2008, and this year’s Premier12 serves as a qualifying event for the Olympics.