Taiwan defeats Mexico to take third place in the U-23 Baseball World Cup3 min read
Taiwan defeated Mexico 3-1 in the bronze-medal playoff at the U-23 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) in Taipei on Sunday, securing its best-ever finish at the competition.
Taiwan, competing as “Chinese Taipei,” failed to advance to the tournament’s final after falling 2-1 to the Mexican team on Friday, but it was able to exact revenge on Sunday as Lee Chen-hsun () and Chen Sheng-ping dazzled on the mound and at the plate, respectively, in the game at Taipei Tianmu Baseball Stadium.
To keep the Latin American juggernaut at bay, Lee, a 20-year-old right-hander, pitched five innings and allowed three hits and one run while striking out four hitters with his fastball that reached 151 kilometers per hour.
The only hiccup occurred in the bottom of the first inning, when Lee hit a wild pitch with runners on second and third bases, allowing Mexico to score its sole run of the game.
The visitor side launched a brief offensive rally, but Chen quickly put an end to it.
After Tseng Song-en () scored on his double in the second inning to make the score 1-1, Chen hit a clutch home run to center field with the bases loaded in the third inning to give Taiwan a 3-1 lead. Chuang Hsin-yen () then expertly closed the game to preserve the lead.
In addition to collecting all three of Taiwan’s RBIs
Chen’s two-for-three performance was crucial since it marked the end of a humiliating three-for-19 hitting streak that spanned his previous seven games in the tournament.
According to the WBSC website, Chen said after the game, “I want to thank the coaches. Even though I wasn’t in good form in the previous games, they still trusted me. There were runners on base when I stepped to the box, and I grabbed the chance. We demonstrated teamwork. This victory belongs to every one of us.”
Manager Hsieh Cheng-hsun () commented on Chen’s outstanding performance by saying that he was delighted he had decided to trust Chen’s bat after initially having second thoughts. Chen was listed for the game.
Taiwan had a solid start in the first round, winning Group A with a 5-0 record, but then unexpectedly lost three straight games in the super round.
“Every coach and player feels pressure when they play on their home field, which is understandable, but I advised them to unwind prior to each game. I advised them to savor the moment because this was the final game before the bronze-medal game “said Hsieh.
Taiwan finished third, which was the team’s best performance at the competition thanks to Hsieh’s successful strategy. The previous best result for the team was fifth place in the 2018 competition.
Tseng not only contributed to the team’s third-place finish but was also chosen as an outfield All-Star for the competition.
Japan defeated South Korea 3-0 in the tournament’s championship match, which took place on Sunday as well.
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