The Netherlands beat Chinese Taipei, 10-9 in ten innings, to earn the first win in the U-23 Baseball World Cup. With a 1-3 record, the Dutch have still a chance to qualify for the super round.
The Netherlands put together an impressive show at bat. The line up combined 15 hits and five players enjoyed a multi hit game. Shertel Apostel, 3 for 5, a home run and 4 RBIs, and Stephan Vidal, 3 for 4 with 2 doubles and 2 RBIs, led the offense.
“I don’t think you should credit only the offense” said Shèrtel Apostel after the game “The whole team came here to play, performed well. This was a great win.”
Apostel set the tone with a first inning three run home run off Chinese Taipei starter Liao Yi Chung. The Netherlands added two (double by Aldrich De Jongh, sacrifice fly by Francinel Martina) in the second against reliever Lan Kai Ching to extend the lead to 5-0.
It was not going to be an easy win. Chinese Taipei also showed muscles at bat. At the end, they will match the 15-hit mark.
Chinese Taipei tied the game between the seventh (a two-run home run by Wang Cheng Shun) and the eighth (a sacrifice fly by Li Kai Wei).
The top of the second marked a key episode in the game. On a sharp grounder to the right by pinch hitter Lin An Ko, Dutch second baseman Lind bobbled the ball at first bounce. Li Cheng En tried to score from second and became the third out at home plate on a perfect throw. The call stood after replay review.
The Netherlands won it in the bottom of the tenth. Trailing 9-8, they bunted the tie-break rule runners to second and third. After Chinese Taipei intentionally loaded the bases, Martina tied it with a sacrifice fly. Chinese Taipei again loaded the bases walking Apostel intentionally. Reliever Wu Chen Yu hit Tjimen Takke to force in the winning run for the Dutch.
Angelo Wicklert pitched 1.2 innings in relief and earned the win.
“I think we can play much better than what we have shown so far” commented Dutch manager Sydney De Jong “But I am happy to see that my players don’t give up. We still have a chance to make the super round? Good to know, we will come here to win also tomorrow.”