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2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament

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The 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament was held from March 7 through March 14, 2008 in Taichung, Taiwan. Three spots were available for the 2008 Olympics among eight competitors. South Korea, Taiwan and Canada filled the three openings with the best records in the event.

Contents

[edit] The Competing Nations

[edit] Schedule

[edit] March 7

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
South Korea 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 5 12 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
Win: Son (1-0) Loss: Verschuren (0-1)

South Africa had one hit in the first, one in the ninth and nothing in between as Min-han Son (6 IP), Sun-woo Kim (2 IP) and Kyu-min Woo (1 IP) shut down their bats. Seung-yeop Lee doubled in the winning run in the first. Two innings later, Dong-joo Kim doubled home Young-min Ko and scored on a Dae-ho Lee two-bagger. The doubles continued in the 8th when Dong-joo Kim had another and scored on a Taek-keun Lee hit. Jin-young Lee added one final run-producing double in the 9th for all the offense.


Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Canada 2 1 3 3 1 0 5 0 0 15 18 2
Mexico 0 0 8 0 0 0 2 0 0 10 18 4
Win: S. Richmond (1-0) Loss: Alvarez (0-1)

In the only day one match not expected to be one-sided, Canada outlasted Mexico in a slugfest. Six Canadians had multiple hits, led by 3B Matt Rogelstad (3 for 4, 3 R, 3 RBI) and 1B Jimmy Van Ostrand (3 for 5, 4 RBI). C Geronimo Gil led the losers in the North American duel by going 3 for 5 with two RBI. Steve Green and T.J. Burton pitched the final 2 2/3 innings for Canada without allowing a run to lock up the victory.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Spain 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 6 1
Taiwan 2 3 1 6 0 0 1 13 12 0
Win: Chiang (1-0) Loss: Olivera (0-1)

The host country started with an easy win as expected, roughing up Spanish ace Manny Olivera in a 13-3 rout called after 7 innings due to the mercy rule.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Australia 0 1 1 2 0 0 1 0 0 4 7 1
Germany 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 6 0
Win: Mildren (1-0) Loss: Henkenjohann (0-1) Save: Mitchinson (1)

Germany continued their 2007 World Cup trend of providing tough challenges against teams widely favored to beat them. They jumped ahead early when Dominik Wulf walked with two outs in the first and scored on a double by cleanup hitter Kai Gronauer. In the second, 3B Glenn Williams drew a walk from Tim Henkenjohann, who battled control problems all day. RF Tom Brice hit into a force. Henkenjohann then threw two wild pitches to send Brice to third and 1B Brendan Kingman singled home the former White Sox farmhand.

In the third inning, DH Brett Roneberg drew a one-out walk from Henkenjohann, who threw yet another wild pitch. One out later, Williams singled home Roneberg. An inning later, Kingman walked and advanced on Henkenjohann's 4th and 5th wild pitches. 2B Luke Hughes singled home Kingman for a 3-1 lead, then CF Paul Weichard doubled in Hughes. Weichard was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple.

Mildren (1 R, 4 H, 7 K in 5 IP) and Mitchinson (0 R, 2 H, 3 K in 4 IP) combined to pitch Australia to victory. Hughes was 2 for 3 and played good defense to help the team.

Henkenjohann walked five, threw five wild pitches and hit one batter as his own worst enemy. Gronauer threw out four attempted base-stealers for Germany in addition to driving in their only run.

[edit] March 8

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 1
Canada 0 0 1 2 6 0 1 10 10 0
Win: Periard (1-0) Loss: Dancer (0-1)

C Chris Robinson puts on a fine show, going 4 for 4 with a double and a walk-off home run as the mercy rule is put into play. Brett Gray, Alexandre Periard and Aaron Wideman combine on the shutout.


Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Taiwan 0 2 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 6 13 0
Mexico 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 7 0
Win: Yang (1-0) Loss: Ortega (0-1)

Mexico becomes the only team from the "top 5" tier to start off 0-2 as five Taiwanese hitters get multiple hits, led by 3 from 1B Chen-Min Peng. A day after providing productive offense against Canada, Mexico's bats go cold. Chien-Fu Yang provides a good start and amateur relievers Kai-Wen Cheng and Chia-Jen Lo each hit 94 mph on the radar gun.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Australia 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 10 0
South Korea 4 2 4 6 0 0 0 16 13 1
Win: Ryu (1-0) Loss: Wiltshire (0-1)

The Aussies get blown out of a game they were expected to be competitive in, as four South Koreans drive in 3 or more in the first four innings alone. 1B Seung-yeop Lee goes 3 for 3 with 3 runs and 4 RBI and LF Yong-kyu Lee (3 for 5, 3 RBI), backup 1B Joo-chan Kim (1 for 2, 3 RBI) and DH Dae-ho Lee (2 for 4, 3 RBI) join in the barrage. The only bright spot for Australia is Paul Weichard, who goes 3 for 4 - and also pitches two scoreless innings after the first three Australian hurlers were unable to stop South Korea.


Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Germany 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 7 0
Spain 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
Win: Márquez (1-0) Loss: Hernandez (0-1)


After losing the Bronze Medal game in the 2005 and 2007 European Championships to Spain, Germany exacts revenge in the all-Europe game. Enorbel Márquez scatters five hits in outduelding Yoel Hernandez in a match-up of Cuban natives. CF Sascha Lutz has the game's big hit with a solo home run to lead off the 8th inning.

[edit] March 9

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Taiwan 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 9 0
Germany 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 1
Win: Chang (1-0) Loss: Hughes (0-1)


Germany continues its run of close games with a tough 2-0 loss to the home team. André Hughes shuts out Taiwan for 6 innings before finally cracking in the 7th. Chih-Sheng Lin doubled, Kuo-Hui Lo hit a run-scoring two-out double and #9 hitter Chih-Kang Kao followed with a bloop single for a 2-0 lead. Chih-Chia Chang and three relievers combined on the shutout as Germany's offense has produced only 2 runs in 3 games to support its fine pitchers (6 runs allowed in 3 games). Germany challenged in the 9th. Jendrick Speer doubled with one away and Dominik Wulf singled to left to put Speer on third. Cleanup hitter Kai Gronauer and former minor leaguer Michael Franke failed to deliver in the clutch against Taiwan closer Chia-Jen Lo to end the contest.


Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Canada 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 2 0 5 8 1
Australia 0 0 4 0 4 0 0 2 - 10 14 1
Win: Kent (1-0) Loss: McNiven (0-1)


The Aussies tied Canada for third, bouncing back from their blowout loss to South Korea. Neither Brooks McNiven nor Jamie Richmond could slow down the Australian offense, which was led by 3B Daniel Berg (3 for 5, 2 R, 3 RBI) and 1B Glenn Williams (3 for 4, R, RBI). 1B Jimmy Van Ostrand opened the scoring with a second-inning home run off of Steven Kent to get Canada on the board.

In the third, Australia leapt ahead. C Matthew Kent singled, as did SS Brad Dutton. Leadoff hitter Paul Weichard grounded to SS Emmanuel Garcia, who made a run-scoring error that put men on the corners. Berg hit into a run-scoring force for a 2-1 lead. LF Ben Risinger and Williams followed with singles to make it 3-1. A wild pitch by McNiven gave Australia a 4th run.

Australia got men on the corners in the 4th but Weichard ground into a double play. In the 5th, Australia scored four times off of Richmond. Berg singled to lead off the frame and Risinger got plunked. Williams singled to center to load the bags, then DH Brett Roneberg hit a 3-run double. After 2B Luke Hughes fanned, RF Tom Brice singled and Kent hit into a run-scoring force for a strong 8-1 lead.

Canada had scored 25 runs in their first two games, though, and could not be counted out just yet. In the 7th, Van Ostrand singled and 3B Matt Rogelstad cracked a 2-run homer to make it 8-3. Brad Tippett was summoned to relieve Steven Kent on the hill. PH Emerson Frostad reached on a Dutton error. Garcia popped up but Tippett then hit both CF Adam Stern and 2B Stubby Clapp to load the bases. Up came Canada's #3 hitter, Mike Saunders, recently rated one of the top 20 prospects in the 2007 California League. Saunders grounded to short and Australia turned a double play with a close call at first base by L.K. Hsieh. Both Saunders and manager Terry Puhl protested the call.

In the 8th, PH Nick Weglarz singled and RF Ryan Radmanovich followed with a home run to close the score to 8-5. Van Ostrand walked and Adam Bright was called in to pitch; he would shut down Canada the rest of the way. Australia got some late insurance on a 2-run triple by Berg in the 9th.


Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Spain 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 5 1
South Africa 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 1
Win: Leal (1-0) Loss: Armitage (0-1)

This time Spain got the better part of a pitcher's duel, ensuring that they would get at least one win in the competition. Another of their Cubans, 44-year-old Remigio Leal, shines on the mound.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Mexico 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 7 1
South Korea 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 4 - 6 9 0
Win: Kim (1-0) Loss: W. Silva (0-1)

Miguel Ojeda provides the only Mexican offense with a home run as they are practically eliminated from hopes of advancing to the Olympics despite having as much experienced MLB talent as any other team in the competition. Seung-yeop Lee, Jong-wook Lee and Taek-keun Lee all drove in two runs for Korea. South Korea remains the top team in the tournament, having yet to face a serious challenge.

[edit] March 10

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
South Africa 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 3 0
Germany 0 0 1 0 0 2 1 0 - 4 10 1
Win: Fries (1-0) Loss: Terry (0-1)

South Africa's best remaining hope for a win came to an end when Germany rallied for a win. South Africa went ahead early against Manuel Moller, who had a rough game (4 BB, 3 H in 2 2/3 IP); they led 2-0 after one. In the third, Germany got on the board when Sascha Lutz doubled and scored on a single by Kai Gronauer. Poor control again hurt the German staff in the 4th when Martin Almstetter fired a wild pitch with a man on third to make it 3-1. The African team held the lead until the bottom of the sixth.

In the 6th, Germany got to Jared Elario, loading the bags with no one out. Michael Franke hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Donald Lutz to make it 3-2. #9 hitter Andy Janzen then laid down a squeeze bunt to score Simon Gühring with the tying run.

With Garth Terry in for South Africa, #3 hitter Dominik Wulf reached on a single in the bottom of the 7th. Terry threw a wild pitch and Wulf went to second. Gronauer then bunted him over to third, bringing up Donald Lutz. The Cincinnati Reds signee delivered a single to drive in Wulf and give Germany a 4-3 lead.

In the meantime, Dirk Fries was proving to be far more successful than Moller or Almstetter, allowing no hits and one walk in 3 1/3 innings. South Africa did get a runner to second with two outs in the 9th thanks to an error but Fries struck out the last batter for the win. It was Fries' second big win for Germany in the past several months, following their first Baseball World Cup win ever, back in November of 2007. Germany now appeared to have an excellent shot at finishing 6th.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
South Korea 1 0 1 5 1 2 1 3 0 14 16 1
Spain 0 0 0 0 4 1 0 0 0 5 10 1
Win: Kim (1-0) Loss: Olivera (0-2)

Former major leaguer Sun-woo Kim had surprising trouble with Spain, allowing four runs in five innings, but the South Korean offense insured that the team would remain unbeaten. Joo-chan Kim (4 for 4, 3 R) and Young-min Ko (3 for 4, 2 R, 4 RBI) led the Korean offense this time, while Seung-yeop Lee delivered a long home run in his only at-bat.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E
Canada 0 2 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 6 16 2
Taiwan 2 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 5 9 1
Win: Green (1-0) Loss: Chiang (1-1) Save: Kusiewicz (1)

Canada got a huge win, moving into a tie for second with Taiwan, with an extra-inning victory.

Taiwan jumped ahead early with two first-inning runs off of Jon Lockwood, but Team Canada tied it the next inning when Mike Saunders and Ryan Radmanovich drove in Emmanuel Garcia and Adam Stern respectively. In the 5th, Canada again struck against Fu-Te Ni. Radmanovich hit a potential double play grounder, but Saunders broke up the play at second, allowing Stubby Clapp to score.

In the sixth, Canada made it 4-2 when Nick Weglarz went deep. Taiwan came back in the bottom of the inning. Mariners minor leaguer Kuo-Hui Lo smacked a 3-run homer to give the host nation the lead for the second time.

Canada challenged in the 8th. With two out and Jimmy Van Ostrand on second, PH Emerson Frostad singled. Van Ostrand tried to score but the throw home beat him there and catcher Chun-Chang Yeh withstood a charge at the plate. Yeh flipped the ball at Van Ostrand, who responded with anger. The fans began to throw items onto the playing field, requiring police intervention and delaying the game for a period.

In the 9th, closer Chia-Jen Lo retired the first two Canadians. Clapp managed to beat an infield single, sliding head-first into first base. Saunders singled home Clapp to tie the score. Steve Green pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the 9th, whiffing two.

The 10th began with a Matt Rogelstad single off of Chien-Ming Chiang. Van Ostrand then continued his fine performance with a run-scoring double to put Canada in the lead, 6-5.

Green ran into problems in the bottom of the 10th when Taiwan got two on with one out. Mike Kusiewicz relieved and induced a double-play grounder from Yi-Chuan Lin to put the game away.


Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Mexico 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 3 1 7 11 1
Australia 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 1 0 4 11 1
Win: J. Silva (1-0) Loss: Bright (0-1) Save: Diaz (1)

Mexico got its first win, probably too late to get back into the tournament, as Australia fell to 4th place with a loss. The previously winless Mexicans jumped on the board early when LF Cristhian Presichi opened with a single and SS Heber Gomez singled. RF Luis A. Garcia hit a one-out sacrifice fly for a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the 4th, Australia bounced back on three straight singles from LF Ben Risinger, 1B Glenn Williams and DH Andrew Utting, the 3-5 hitters in the lineup.

The tie did not last long. In the top of the 5th, 2B Carlos Valencia doubled. Adam Blackley attempted a pick-off and Mexican manager Jose Tolentino thought it was balk and went out to argue his case. He was promptly ejected from the game. After a sacrifice bunt, Blackley walked Presichi to put men on the corners. Presichi then stole second. Gomez grounded in Valencia for a 2-1 lead. Australian catcher Matthew Kent then had a passed ball, allowing Presichi to come home for a 3-1 edge.

Australia charged back with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. Utting drew a walk from Arturo López and RF Tom Brice doubled him home. Jose Silva came in to relieve but allowed a run-scoring single to 2B Luke Hughes to knot the score at three. Backup catcher Joel Naughton reached on an error by 1B Jesus Cota but Silva got SS Brad Dutton to end the frame.

The 8th inning proved to be the deciding frame. Rockies farmhand Adam Bright came in to pitch and immediately allowed singles to Cota and Luis A. Garcia. Naughton then let a passed ball get by to put both runners in scoring position. C Miguel Ojeda drew a walk to load the bases. Geronimo Gil pinch-hit for CF Karim Garcia and Australia countered by bringing in Brendan Wise. The Tigers minor leaguer plunked Gil, forcing in Cota for a 4-3 Mexican lead. DH Roberto Saucedo grounded to third and Daniel Berg threw home for the out there. Valencia singled for his third hit of the game, driving home Ojeda and making it 5-3. 2B Jose M. Rodriguez then hit into a run-scoring fielder's choice and a 6-3 advantage.

In the bottom of the 8th, Australia tried to rally. Williams singled but Utting hit into a double play. Brice doubled to the gap in left, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Hughes single. With the score now 6-4, Silva was replaced by Roberto Ramirez. Veteran Brendan Kingman pinch-hit but the former California League batting champion could only ground out.

In the 9th, Heber Gomez doubled and scored on a single by Ivan Terrazas for a 7-4 Mexico lead. Rafael Diaz then went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 9th, with two strikeouts, to end the exciting game.

[edit] March 12

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Spain 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
Canada 4 0 1 4 0 2 - 11 12 1
Win: Periard (2-0) Loss: Leal (1-1)

Aaron Wideman and Alexandre Periard teamed up for a 4-hit, no-walk shutout as Canada only needed six innings of offense for the mercy rule to come into play. Four Canadians scored two runs and four drove in two.

Canada put it away early. Stubby Clapp and Mike Saunders reached in the first and came home on a double by Emerson Frostad. Matt Rogelstad singled. Jimmy Van Ostrand doubled home Frostad and David Corrente singled in Rogelstad to make it 4-0.

In the third, Nick Weglarz went deep for a 5-0 lead. Ivan Granados replaced Remigio Leal in the 4th but it would be hard to term it relief. Adam Stern greeted him with a single and Granados then walked Clapp and Frostad. Rogelstad singled home Stern, then Granados walked Van Ostrand and Weglarz to force in two more runs. Corriente added a sacrifice fly for a 9-0 score. In the 6th, Stern singled in Van Ostrand and Weglarz to put Canada into double digits.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Germany 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 1
South Korea 2 3 0 6 1 0 - 12 11 0
Win: Son (2-0) Loss: Henkenjohann (0-2)

Germany was finally eliminated in a mercy rule contest as South Korea remained unbeaten and became the sixth team to clinch a spot in the 2008 Olympics. Min-han Son whiffed nine in six innings with a second-inning solo home run by Donald Lutz the lone bright spot offensively for the Germans.

South Korea had no trouble with former minor leaguer Tim Henkenjohann, who had done well against Australia, or two relievers. Yong-kyu Lee scored three runs out of the leadoff slot, while both Seung-yeop Lee and Seong-hoon Jeong drove in three. Seung-yeop Lee reached 12 RBI in the first five games.


Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 2
Taiwan 0 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 - 5 7 1
Win: Yang (2-0) Loss: Mildren (1-1)

Chien-Fu Yang turned in his second strong performance of the tourney, four-hitting Australia and giving Taiwan a near-lock on an Olympic spot while Australia's hopes look very dim after falling to 2-3. 2B Luke Hughes was 2 for 3 but no Australian walked or had anything more than a single against Yang.

Taiwan got going in the second when LF Kuo-Hui Lo opened with a single off of Paul Mildren. SS Chih-Sheng Lin singled as well and 3B Yi-Chuan Lin bunted both men over. C Chun-Chang Yeh singled home Lo. 2B Yen-Wen Kuo hit a possible double play grounder but SS Brad Dutton's error let Chih-Sheng Lin score and Kuo reach safely. RF Chieh-Ming Chang doubled in Kuo for a 3-0 score and CF Che-Hsuan Lin doubled as well, scoring Chang.

Taiwan scored the game's final run in the 7th. 1B Chen-Min Peng singled, stole second and took third on a throwing error by Joel Naughton on the steal attempt. 3B Tai-Shan Chang drew a walk and Liam Hendriks then threw a wild pitch, scoring Peng.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1
Mexico 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 2 - 5 9 0
Win: Campos (1-0) Loss: Mostert (0-1)

Francisco Campos strikes out 18 batters and allows just two hits in 8 innings before being replaced by Rafael Diaz for the 9th (Diaz adds a 19th strikeout). Karim Garcia drives in four, scores two and homers to lead the Mexican offense.

[edit] March 13

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Spain 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2
Australia 3 3 0 3 0 0 0 0 - 9 13 0
Win: Mowday (1-0) Loss: Hernandez (0-2)

Australia hung on to their slim hopes for a couple more hours thanks to an easy win as expected. They got all they needed in the first. With one out, LF Daniel Berg reached on a Nestor Perez error and stole second. DH Ben Risinger singled home Berg. 3B Glenn Williams walked. RF Tom Brice hit a liner to Perez, who dropped it for his second error. 1B Brendan Kingman and 2B Luke Hughes both singled off of Yoel Hernandez to make it 3-0.

In the top of the second, Dewis Navarro singled against Greg Wiltshire; it would be Spain's only hit. Australia scored three times in the second to double their lead. With two outs, Berg singled and Risinger followed with a home run. Hernandez walked Williams and plunked Brice. Kingman then singled to score Williams.

In the 4th, Australia finished the scoring with a third three-run frame. Berg again got it started, hitting a one-out double. Risinger singled him home to give himself 4 RBI on the day. Brice, Kingman and Hughes all added singles, the latter two driving in runs.

Wiltshire (4 innings), Chris Mowday (2 innings), Mark Kelly (2 innings) and Brendan Wise (1 inning) teamed up on the one-hitter. Risinger finished 4 for 5 with 3 runs and 4 RBI, while Kingman was 3 for 5 with 3 RBI.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Mexico 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 7 1
Germany 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 2
Win: Ortega (1-1) Loss: Márquez (1-1)

Germany again played a competitive game against a far more talented team but failed to provide enough offense and became the 4th team to be officially eliminated.

Cristhian Presichi opened the game with a double off of Enorbel Márquez, the German ace. Jesús Cota brought him home with a single for the winning run. In the third, Luis A. Garcia doubled home Heber Gomez and Karim Garcia singled in Luis A. Garcia. Márquez did not allow another run in five innings.

Sascha Lutz (2 for 4) and Kai Gronauer (2 for 3) were the only Germans to connect for hits against Pablo Ortega, Roberto Ramirez, Jose Silva and David Cortes as three former major leaguers proved far too much for the European batters. Germany almost scored after Gronauer doubled and a Jendrick Speer shot down the line landed just foul.

In the 9th inning, Mirko Heid came in to pitch and allowed a solo home run to Carlos Valencia for a 4-0 loss.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Taiwan 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 2 0 4 5 2
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 2
Win: Chiang (2-1) Loss: Armitage (0-2)

Despite being surprisingly limited to just five hits, Taiwan beat South Africa, which was shut out for the 4th time in six games. Chien-Ming Chiang tossed six shutout innings and three relievers each threw one frame. Barry Armitage allowed just 3 hits in 7 innings but 7 walks and two errors hurt South Africa.


Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
South Korea 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 8 1
Canada 3 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 - 4 9 2
Win: S. Richmond (2-0) Loss: Ryu (1-1) Save: Kusiewicz (2)

South Korea finally lost a game as Canada officially locked up a spot in the Olympics with their 4-3 win.

South Korea got ahead early when Yong-kyu Lee and Jong-wook Lee hit first-inning doubles off of James Avery but that was the only run Avery allowed in four innings. In the bottom of the first, Canada did their damage against Korean ace Hyun-jin Ryu. Adam Stern and Stubby Clapp reached with none out. Ryu retired Mike Saunders and Jeremy Ware but Matt Rogelstad delivered a decisive 3-run home run.

In the 4th, Nick Weglarz hit his third homer in as many games for a 4-1 lead. Scott Richmond relieved Avery and threw four scoreless innings.

In the 9th, South Korea rallied as Dae-ho Lee and Taek-keun Lee reached against T.J. Burton. Dae-ho Lee scored on a ground out and #9 Joo-chan Kim singled home Taek-keun Lee with his third hit of the game. Veteran Mike Kusiewicz relieved Burton and retired In-sung Cho on a grounder to the mound to end the game and give Canada first place.

[edit] March 14

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Mexico 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 2 6 0
Spain 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0
Win: Alvarez (1-1) Loss: Gutierrez (0-1) Save: Diaz (2)

Oscar Rivera allowed Spain a 1-0 lead when he walked Danny Figueroa, who came around to score later in the 4th. In the 6th, Mexico finally got to Manny Olivera to tie the game. In the 8th, they put it away against reliever Fernando Gutierrez for a 2-1 score. Cristhian Presichi had both runs for Mexico while Luis A. Garcia went 3 for 3 with their only RBI.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Australia 4 0 3 2 0 0 3 1 0 13 14 4
South Africa 0 7 0 1 1 0 0 0 2 11 14 1
Win: Tippett (1-0) Loss: Townend (0-1)

After four shutouts in six games, South Africa's offense came to life and gave Australia a scare before they fell to 0-7 in the tournament.

Australia got going quickly. CF Paul Weichard opened the game with a double and LF Daniel Berg walked. After DH Ben Risinger flew out, 3B Glenn Williams singled in Weichard. RF Tom Brice hit a liner back to the mound for a RBI single; Jared Elario was injured on the play. 1B Brendan Kingman greeted reliever Garth Terry with a 2-run double for a 4-0 lead.

In the bottom of the second, South Africa exploded offensively against Steven Kent. LF Gavin Ray walked and advanced on a grounder. RF Jamie Rossouw singled on a bad hop past short for a RBI single. DH Allan Randall walked and SS Anthony Phillips singled to load the bases. Catcher Kyle Botha grounded to 2B Luke Hughes, who made an error to score two runs. 3B Jonathan Phillips was retired on a pop-up. 2B and clean-up hitter Brett Willemburg delivered a RBI single to knot the game at four. 1B Greg Liebenberg, the 9th batter of the inning, singled in Botha. Ray singled both Willemburg and Liebenberg in. Scott Mitchinson was finally summoned to replace the ineffective Kent.

Australia tied it in the third. Brice opened by drawing a walk from Terry. With one out, Hughes cracked a 2-run homer to left field. C Andrew Utting singled and was retired on a fielder's choice. Weichard singled and Berg singled to tie the score at seven.

Australia took their second lead in the top of the 4th inning. With one out, Brice singled to right. Gavin Jeffries replaced Terry on the hill and promptly threw a wild pitch. Kingman grounded Brice to third and Hughes singled in Brice to make it 8-7. Jeffries threw another wild pitch and Hughes took two bases. Utting walked and Australia pulled a delayed double steal to score Hughes.

Willemburg tripled to open the bottom of the 4th and came home on a Liebenberg ground out to close it to 9-8. The next inning, Rossouw singled, was bunted over and scored on an Anthony Phillips hit to tie the game for a third time.

Australia had another big inning in the 7th. Kevin Townend walked Hughes and hit Utting. Darryn Smith came in and was charged with a balk. SS James Linger singled in Hughes. Weichard grounded home Utting for a 11-9 score and Berg hit a sacrifice fly to bring Linger around. A bases-loaded walk in the 8th make it 13-9.

After three scoreless frames from Brad Tippett, the lone effective Australian pitcher of the day, Adam Bright came in to hurl the 9th. An error by Williams put a man on with one out and a single and run-scoring balk followed. After a strikeout, Hughes made another run-scoring error for a 13-10 score before Bright picked off the runner at first to end the game.

Six Australians had two hits apiece - Weichard, Brice (4 runs), Kingman, Hughes (2 runs, 3 RBI) and Linger.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E
Germany 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 5 2
Canada 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 6 1
Win: Green (2-0) Loss: Fries (1-1)

Germany continued to play competitive ball, almost upsetting Canada, which had gone 5-1 entering the game. They took the tournament's #1 team into extra innings before falling. As the game was moved up two hours on short notice, it was sparsely attended.

Brooks McNiven and André Hughes engaged in a fine pitching duel. David Corrente began the scoring with a solo home run in the fifth inning, taking Hughes into the upper deck. In the sixth, Kai Gronauer doubled against Jamie Richmond and PH Jendrick Speer doubled to drive him home to tie the score. Germany almost scored again but Speer was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a hit by Simon Gühring.

Canada loaded the bases in the 7th and 9th innings but failed to score both times. With the bases loaded and one out in the 9th, Dirk Fries relieved Hughes and got a force at home and then a fly out. In the bottom of the 10th, though, Fries issued a walk to Stubby Clapp, Germany made an error to let Emmanuel Garcia reach and Fries followed with a balk. An intentional walk was issued to Adam Stern to keep a force play a possibility. Fries retired Taylor Green on an infield fly for out number one. Ryan Radmanovich grounded to first baseman Donald Lutz, who threw home to Gühring for the force. Clapp slid hard into home to break up a potential double play but was injured on the play. Fries walked Emerson Frostad to force in the winning run for Canada. He later wrote "it would be a lot easier to accept the result if they had just beat me with the bat."

Against the strong Canadian offense, Hughes fanned 7 in 8 1/3 innings despite not topping 77 mph.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
South Korea 0 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 9 2
Taiwan 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 3 7 2
Win: Kim (2-0) Loss: Lee (0-1) Save: Chong (1)

South Korea benefited from some Taiwan defensive miscues to tie for the best record in the tournament in a match-up of two teams already headed for Beijing.

Taiwan got on the board early with two quick runs against Kwang-hyun Kim. South Korea made up for it in the second. With Seung-yeop Lee on second, Dae-ho Lee hit a grounder past Yi-Chuan Lin that reporters felt was within Lin's range. Taek-keun Lee followed with a RBI single. Jin-man Park grounded another one within easy range of third that Lin did not reach, loading the bases. Kab-yong Jin hit a sacrifice fly to tie the score. Seong-hoon Jeong then grounded to center fielder Che-Hsuan Lin, who dropped the ball before he could throw to first as South Korea made it 3-2.

In the third, Joo-chan Kim reached and stole both second and third, then came around on a single by Dae-ho Lee. Taiwan made up one run in the 5th when Chieh-Ming Chang reached and scored on a double by Chen-Min Peng. In the 8th, Taiwan got a close shot when Kuo-Hui Lo doubled but they failed to drive him across and South Korea held on for the victory.

[edit] Final Standings

  • Canada, 6-1
  • South Korea, 6-1
  • Taiwan, 5-2
  • Australia, 4-3
  • Mexico, 4-3
  • Germany, 2-5
  • Spain, 1-6
  • South Africa, 0-7

[edit] Leaders

[edit] Team Summaries

  • Flag of Australia Australia got good offense in their attempt to go back to the Olympics, with 42 runs and a .306 team average. 2B Luke Hughes (.522/.577/.652, 8 RBI) led the charge while the weak link was his double play counterpart, SS Brad Dutton (.105/.150/.105, .875 fielding). Liam Hendriks (2 H, 1 UER in 5 IP, 0.00) led the staff, which was the team's problem - they allowed 45 runs in 59 innings. Two pitchers had ERAs over 14.
  • Flag of Canada Canada got good work on both sides of the ball in winning the competition. They hit .332/.402/.534 as a team with 53 runs in their 7 games. Many players chipped in - the offensive stars included 2B Stubby Clapp (.364/.517/.500, 6 R), C David Corrente (.417/.400/.833), 1B Emerson Frostad (.500/.643/.600), 3B Matt Rogelstad (.360/.370/.720, 9 R, 8 RBI), 1B-LF Jimmy Van Ostrand (.556/.619/.944, 8 RBI) and OF Nick Weglarz (.450/.577/.950, 3 HR, 8 R). Six hurlers did not allow an earned run - T.J. Burton (2 IP), Brett Gray (4 IP), Steve Green (6 2/3 IP; 2-0), Mike Kusiewicz (2 IP; 2 Sv), Alexandre Periard (5 IP; 2-0) and Aaron Wideman (5 IP). Scott Richmond (2-0, 1.35) also stood out in terms of ERA and record.
  • Flag of Chinese Taipei Chinese Taipei got into the Olympics thanks to their excellent pitching. Their 1.60 staff ERA was second to South Korea, .05 behind. Chih-Chia Chang (1-0, 0.71) and Chien-Fu Yang (2-0, 0.64) were the top starters while the bullpen was also excellent. The offensive standouts were RF Chieh-Ming Chang (.480/.581/.640, 9 R) and LF Kuo-Hui Lo (.385/.448/.769, 7 R).
  • Flag of Germany Germany had their second straight tournament in which they exceeded expectations, beating the other two "second-tier" terms and taking the tourney champion into extra innings. They were only blown out once in seven games, holding their own. This was even more notable because their offense was the least productive in the tourney, scoring 8 runs in 7 games. Their top three hitters were C Kai Gronauer (.250/.280/.417), RF Donald Lutz (.250/.318/.400) and CF Sascha Lutz (.269/.345/.423). They had a 3.86 team ERA, clearly their strong point. Dirk Fries (1-1, 0.00), André Hughes (0-1, 1.80) and Enorbel Márquez (1-1, 1.59) all did fine work on the mound.
  • Flag of Mexico Mexico did not shine nor do horribly on either offense (30 runs) or pitching and defense (32 runs allowed; 17 in the 6 games not involving Canada) and fielded .985, the best in the competition. They fell short though of an Olympic slot, disappointing for a team with more former major leaguers than all the other teams combined. 1B Jesús Cota (.393/.433/.500) and DH Luis A. Garcia (.417/.483/.583) led the offense. Walter Silva (0-1, 1.80) and Rafael Diaz (no hits or runs in 4 IP, 2 Sv) were the top hurlers while Victor Alvarez (1-1, 16.20) and Oscar Rivera (9.82 ERA) were the least effective.
  • Flag of South Africa South Africa finished last at 0-7. They were 6th in offense with 15 runs, but 11 of them came in one game against Australia. They hit .167/.249/.195 for the worst team batting line. The leader at the plate was 3B Jonathan Phillips (.273/.385/.409). Their 6.05 ERA was second-worst and they allowed 43 runs. Barry Armitage (0-2, 2.76) was their top pitcher.
  • Flag of South Korea South Korea scored 60 runs to lead the tournament, batting a composite .329/.412/.460 with 23 doubles and 13 steals (in 14 tries). Power was lacking as they only homered twice (the same amount as Germany), both long balls coming from Seung-yeop Lee. Offensive stars included 1B-CF Joo-chan Kim (.625/.684/.813, 3 SB) and three Lees: 3B-DH-1B Dae-ho Lee (.393/.414/.500, 8 RBI), 1B Seung-yeop Lee (.478/.500/.870, 12 RBI) and OF Yong-kyu Lee (.400/.500/.560, 11 R). Their 1.55 ERA was the best in the event as they allowed only 16 runs. Effective hurlers included Tae-hyon Chong (0 R in 2 1/3 IP, 1 Sv), Ki-joo Han (0 R in 3 1/3 IP), Doo-sung Huang (1-0, 0 R in 5 1/3 IP), Kwang-hyun Kim (2-0, 1.64), Hyuk Kwon (0 R in 2 2/3 IP), Kyu-min Woo (0 R in 3 1/3 IP) and Min-han Son (2-0, 0.75, 16 K, 5 H in 12 IP). The only ERA above 3 came from the team's lone experienced major leaguer, Sun-woo Kim (1-0, 5.14).
  • Flag of Spain Spain was outscored 51-11, with the worst pitching (7.15 ERA) and a .175/.242/.230 team batting line but escaped last place thanks to their win over South Africa. Young second sacker Daniel Sanchez slugged .625 to lead the offense but other hitters included a 0-for-14 (former major leaguer Alejandro Freire), 0-for-19 (Twins farmhand Lesther Galván), .150, .167, .188 and .133. Fernando Gutierrez (0-1, 1 Sv, 1.93) had their only ERA under 5.

[edit] Sources

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