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2008 Olympics

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The Baseball Competition at the 2008 Olympics was held in Beijing, China from August 13 to August 23 at Wukesong Baseball Field at the Wukesong Culture and Sports Center. The complex featured two competition fields and a training field. It was the final time that baseball is slated to be included in the Olympics barring any rule changes. It featured the third different Gold Medal winner in the past three Olympics in baseball.

Contents

[edit] Competing Nations

Further information: 2008 Olympics (Qualification) Further information: 2008 Olympics (Rosters)

Nation Qualification
Flag of People's Republic of China People's Republic of China Automatic qualifier as host nation of the Olympics
Flag of United States United States First place at the Americas Olympic Qualifier
Flag of Cuba Cuba Second place at the Americas Olympic Qualifier
Flag of Japan Japan First place at the Asia Olympic Qualifier
Flag of Netherlands Netherlands First place at the Europe Olympic Qualifier
Flag of Canada Canada First place at Olympic Qualifying Tournament
Flag of South Korea South Korea Second place at Olympic Qualifying Tournament
Flag of Chinese Taipei Chinese Taipei Third place at Olympic Qualifying Tournament

[edit] Competition Format and Rules

The Olympic baseball tournament consists of an one-game round-robin preliminary round. The top four teams advance to the medals round. The first medal round consists of two single game semifinals between the first and fourth place teams and the second and third place teams. The semifinal losers then play a bronze medal game, with the winner earning the medal and the loser receiving 4th place. The semifinal winners play in the final, which awards the winner a gold medal and the loser a silver medal.

Rosters are limited to 24 players per team. There is also a mercy rule that is invoked if a team is winning by 10 or more runs after 7 innings (or 6 1/2 innings if the home team is leading). If a game is tied after 10 innings, teams start with two runners on and their choice of hitter starting off the frame; this stupid rule was announced by the IBAF on July 25, 2008 and was greeted with scorn by the baseball community, including Japanese national team manager Senichi Hoshino.

[edit] Final Ranking

Rank Nation
Gold Flag of South Korea South Korea
Silver Flag of Cuba Cuba
Bronze Flag of United States United States
4th Flag of Japan Japan
5th Flag of Chinese Taipei Chinese Taipei
6th Flag of Canada Canada
7th Flag of Netherlands Netherlands
8th Flag of People's Republic of China People's Republic of China

[edit] Preliminary Round Results

[edit] August 13

11:30 at Wukesong Baseball Field 2
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Netherlands Netherlands 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 1
Flag of Chinese Taipei Chinese Taipei 0 1 0 3 0 1 0 0 X 5 7 0
Pitchers of Record
Win: Wei-Yin Chen (1-0) Loss: David Bergman (0-1)
Home Runs
Netherlands: None
Taiwan: None
Umpires
HP: Nelson Diaz (Cuba); 1B: Carlos Rey (Puerto Rico); 2B: Perry Costello (USA); 3B: Kazuhiko Kuwabara (Japan)
Time of Game: 2:17
Attendance: 1,510

Taiwan suffers a blow prior to the game when star 3B Tai-Shan Chang is barred from competition for testing positive for a banned substance (which was in a cold medication he was taking). They do not suffer any problems today, though, when hard-throwing Wei-Yin Chen (7 IP) and Kai-Wen Cheng (2 IP) combine on a 4-hit shutout. The former major leaguers on the Netherlands, Eugene Kingsale and Yurendell de Caster, go a combined 0 for 8.

In the second inning, 2B Chih-Hsien Chiang doubled and scored on a sac fly by LF Kuo-Hui Lo. David Bergman ran into more trouble in the 4th when he allowed Taiwan to load the bases before Kingsale dropped a fly to make it 2-0. Rob Cordemans came in, making him the first baseball player to appear in four Olympics, but struggled as well. CF Che-Hsuan Lin singled in one run and Chien-Ming Chang hit a sacrifice fly to make it a 3-run inning. Chang added a RBI double in the 6th to conclude the scoring.


11:30 at Wukesong Main Baseball Field
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 R H E
Flag of Canada Canada 0 0 0 3 2 0 1 4 10 10 0
Flag of People's Republic of China People's Republic of China 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 2
Pitchers of Record
Win: Chris Begg (1-0) Loss: Tao Bu (0-1)
Home Runs
Canada: Scott Thorman in 4th inning, 3 RBI; Mike Saunders in 8th inning, 1 RBI
China: None
Umpires
HP: Paul Hyham (Australia); 1B: Daniel Toledo (Mexico); 2B: Edwin van den Berk (Netherlands); 3B: Wen-Ching Liao (Taiwan);
Time of Game: 2:41
Attendance: 7,105

The hosts go down easily in a win by Canada, though they do collect 8 hits (2 by Lei Li) to put up somewhat of a fight against Chris Begg (6 2/3 IP, 9 K), T.J. Burton (1/3 IP) and Rheal Cormier (1 IP, 3 K). Canada got on the board in the 4th with a 3-run shot by 1B Scott Thorman off of Tao Bu. In the 5th, SS Emmanuel Garcia (a late addition to the roster) scored on a Kai Liu wild pitch and LF Nick Weglarz drew a bases-loaded walk from Liu to force in CF Adam Stern with a run; Liu walked 4 in 1 2/3 IP as the Yankees signee struggled.

In the 7th, DH Jimmy Van Ostrand singled off Junyi Chen to bring in Thorman but was thrown out trying to turn the play into a double. In the 8th, Stern tripled home two runs, 2B Stubby Clapp added a sacrifice fly and RF Mike Saunders hit a solo homer to make it 10-0. That put the mercy rule into play, ensuring that Canada would not need to play the 9th.


6:00 PM at Wukesong Baseball Field 2
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of United States United States 1 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 3 7 12 1
Flag of South Korea South Korea 0 2 1 0 3 0 0 0 2 8 9 1
Pitchers of Record
Win: Suk-min Yoon (1-0) Loss: Jeff Stevens (0-1)
Home Runs
USA: Nate Schierholtz in 6th inning, 1 RBI; Mike Hessman in 9th inning, 1 RBI
South Korea: Dae-ho Lee in 2nd inning, 2 RBI
Umpires
HP: Luis Ramirez (Mexico); 1B: Fabrizio Chirici (Italy); 2B: Malcolm Mackay (Australia); 3B: Ron Shewchuk (Canada)
Time of Game: 3:19
Attendance: 1,100

The USA and South Korea, two countries fresh off a Gold Medal showdown in the 2008 World Junior Championship, squared off for a back-and-forth game that featured five lead changes.

Jung Bong was rocky as the South Korean starter; in the first inning, he allowed a double to 2B Jayson Nix and a RBI single to 1B Matthew Brown. South Korea battled back quickly. DH Dae-ho Lee delivered a 2-run homer against Brandon Knight in the second for a 2-1 lead. After a Knight wild pitch scored a run in the third, Korea led 3-1.

The USA then rallied in the 5th with a double by 3B Mike Hessman and RBI single by SS Brian Barden. Kyung-moon Kim replaced Bong with Tae-hyun Chong, who allowed a game-tying hit to DH Terry Tiffee to tie the score.

In the bottom of the inning, South Korea got three straight RBI hits from LF Yong-kyu Lee, RF Jin-young Lee and 1B Seung-yeop Lee to knock Knight out of the contest as neither starting pitcher survived the 5th inning. South Korea now led 6-3. In the 6th, CF Nate Schierholtz homered off of Chong to close it to 6-4.

After a scoreless 8th by Kwang-hyun Kim and shutout ball from three US relievers in the 6th-8th, the game reopened offensively in the 9th. Ki-joo Han came in and allowed a long ball to Hessman. C Taylor Teagarden rapped a single and Barden doubled for his third hit of the contest. Kyung-moon Kim now summoned Suk-min Yoon, the last addition to the Korean roster. He fanned LF John Gall and retired Nix on a pop up to 2B Young-min Ko. Brown came up and fouled off three offerings then singled home both Teagarden and Barden for a 7-6 lead as Yoon blew the save.

US manager Davey Johnson brought in Jeff Stevens, the Team USA closer in the 2007 Baseball World Cup. Stevens was as ineffective as the Korean relievers in the 9th. He started by allowing a double to pinch-hitter Keun-woo Jung. Hyun-soo Kim pinch-hit and grounded Jung to third. Taek-keun Lee hit into a fielder's choice, scoring Jung to tie it. A throwing error by Stevens gave Lee the opportunity to move to third. CF Jong-wook Lee then hit a fly to counterpart Schierholtz and Taek-keun Lee broke for him, beating the throw on a close play to win it.

7:00 PM at Wukesong Baseball Main Field
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Japan Japan 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 9 1
Flag of Cuba Cuba 0 1 1 0 2 0 0 0 X 4 9 1
Pitchers of Record
Win: Norge Vera (1-0) Loss: Yu Darvish (0-1) Save: Pedro Luis Lazo (1)
Home Runs
Japan: None
Cuba: None
Umpires
HP: Juan Rodriguez (Puerto Rico); 1B: Joseph Burleson (USA); 2B: Brian Hodgson (Canada); 3B: Edgar Estivison (Panama)
Time of Game: 3:06
Attendance: 7,406

Japan seemed to start strong, getting men on second and third with one out in the first. Norge Vera rebounded to strike out 1B Takahiro Arai and RF Atsunori Inaba to escape the jam. In the bottom of the second, RF Alexei Bell, the star of the 2007-2008 Serie Nacional, made his national team debut with a triple off of Japanese phenom Yu Darvish. DH Alfredo Despaigne singled him home for a 1-0 lead.

Japan tied it in the third on a single by SS Munenori Kawasaki, a double by 2B Tsuyoshi Nishioka and a sacrifice fly by CF Norichika Aoki. Cuba retook the lead in the bottom of the inning when 2B Yuliesky Gourriel doubled off of Darvish and came home on a single by LF Frederich Cepeda.

Japan got two on in the 4th but 3B Shinya Miyamoto (normally a shortstop) hit into an inning-ending double play. Cuba loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth but 1B Alexander Mayeta flew out to left. In the 5th, Japan tied the score for the second time. Kawasaki and Aoki singled and LF Masahiko Morino was hit by a pitch. Arai then delivered a sacrifice fly to even things up.

Cuba's big inning was the 5th. Cepeda walked and Bell doubled. Senichi Hoshino replaced Darvish with Yoshihisa Naruse, another young Pacific League star. Despaigne then got the big hit, a two-run single to bring home Cepeda and Bell.

From there on, neither team scored. Three Japanese relievers (including Naruse) fared much better than Darvish, while Vera lasted through the 6th. Pedro Luis Lazo, joining Cordemans as the only 4-time Olympians in baseball, tossed three shutout innings.

[edit] August 14

10:30 at Wukesong Baseball Field 2
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 R H E
Flag of United States United States 0 1 0 4 0 0 1 1 7 10 0
Flag of Netherlands Netherlands 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Pitchers of Record
Win: Stephen Strasburg (1-0) Loss: Shairon Martis (0-1)
Home Runs
USA: Matthew Brown in 2nd inning, 1 RBI; Matt LaPorta in 4th inning, 3 RBI
Netherlands: None
Umpires
HP: Ron Shewchuk (Canada); 1B: Edgar Estivison (Panama); 2B: Daniel Toledo (Mexico); 3B: Nelson Diaz (Cuba)
Time of Game: 2:52
Attendance: 996

In a game shortened to 8 innings due to rain, Team USA cruised to victory over the Netherlands. Stephen Strasburg allowed one hit (a Sharnol Adriana single) and one walk (to Sidney de Jong) in 7 innings while fanning 11. Casey Weathers struck out two in a hitless, walkless 8th inning of relief.

The US offense roughed up Shairon Martis, who had dominated in prior international tournaments (the 2006 World Baseball Classic and 2007 European Championship). The 2008 Futures Game hurler allowed a 2nd-inning homer to 3B Matthew Brown to put the US ahead by one. In the 4th inning, 1B Terry Tiffee doubled and Brown walked. One out later, LF Matt LaPorta went deep to make it 4-0. DH John Gall and SS Jason Donald added doubles later in the frame to increase the lead to 5.

In the 7th, Tiffee singled against Pim Walsma, who was making his debut for the Dutch team in a major event. Walsma threw three wild pitches during Brown's at-bat to score Tiffee and the US led 6-0. The 8th inning was not much better for Walsma, who allowed a one-out single to Gall before leaving. Michiel van Kampen relieved and walked Marson before he was replaced in turn by Dave Draijer. Donald singled to load the bases. CF Dexter Fowler grounded to second to bring in Gall with the game's last run.

After 90 minutes of heavy rain, the game was called.

7:30 PM at Wukesong Baseball Field 2
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Canada Canada 0 0 2 1 0 2 0 1 0 6 9 2
Flag of Cuba Cuba 0 3 0 0 0 4 0 0 X 7 5 2
Pitchers of Record
Win: Vicyohandri Odelín (1-0) Loss: Jon Lockwood (0-1) Save: Norberto González (1)
Home Runs
Canada: Mike Saunders in 3rd inning, 2 RBI; Nick Weglarz in 4th inning, 1 RBI; Weglarz in 6th inning, 2 RBI
Cuba: Alexander Mayeta in 6th inning, 2 RBI; Alfredo Despaigne in 6th inning, 2 RBI
Umpires
HP: Joe Burleson (USA); 1B: Mal Mackay (Australia); 2B: Carlos Rey (Puerto Rico); 3B: Fabrizio Chirici (Italy)
Time of Game: 3:00
Attendance: 1,100

Canada and Cuba got into an exciting slugfest featuring five home runs. Canada threatened first. 1B Scott Thorman and LF Nick Weglarz singled against Adiel Palma in the top of the 2nd inning but DH Jimmy Van Ostrand hit into a force, 3B Matt Rogelstad struck out and C Chris Robinson grounded out to second base.

In the bottom of the 2nd, Brooks McNiven walked LF Frederich Cepeda and RF Alexei Bell; Cepeda scores on a fly from C Ariel Pestano (the #8 hitter) and Bell came home on a double by SS Eduardo Paret (the #9 batter) for a 2-0 lead. An error by 2B Stubby Clapp allowed Paret to score and make it 3-0.

Clapp made restitution with a third-inning single and RF Mike Saunders went deep to close the gap to one run. Weglarz homered to lead off the 4th, tying the contest. Weglarz delivered another shot in the 6th, this one a 2-run blast, to give Canada a 5-3 edge.

Cuba battled back in the bottom of the 6th against Jonathan Lockwood, who had pitched scoreless relief from the third through the fifth. 2B Yulieski Gourriel singled and 1B Alexander Mayeta homered to tie the game once more. Cepeda drew another walk and one out later, DH Alfredo Despaigne also hit a circuit clout (off of reliever Chris Reitsma) to give Cuba a 7-5 advantage.

Weglarz improved to 4 for 4 with a single off of Vicyohandri Odelín to open the 8th and came around on a RBI from bench player Brett Lawrie to make it 7-6. Odelín and reliever Norberto González escaped further damage.

Cuba loaded the bases in the bottom of the 8th but Pestano and Paret failed to deliver big hits this time, facing Steve Green. In the 9th, González struck out Clapp, got Saunders to fly out and then whiffed Saunders to complete the win.

Weglarz had gone 4 for 4 with 3 runs and 3 RBI in a losing cause.

8:00 PM at Wukesong Baseball Main Field
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Japan Japan 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 4 6 9 1
Flag of Chinese Taipei Chinese Taipei 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 0
Pitchers of Record
Win: Hideaki Wakui (1-0) Loss: Fu-Te Ni (0-1)
Home Runs
Japan: Shinnosuke Abe in 5th inning, 1 RBI
Taiwan: None
Umpires
HP: Perry Costello (USA); 1B: Juan Rodriguez (Puerto Rico); 2B: Luis Ramirez (Mexico); 3B: Jianxiang Yang (China)
Time of Game: 3:16
Attendance: 7,690

Taiwan made it a close game for a while as Wen-Hsiung Hsu battled Hideaki Wakui evenly through five. In the bottom of the 4th, 1B Cheng-Min Peng doubled and DH Chin-Feng Chen coaxed a walk. SS Chih-Sheng Lin bunted the runners over and 2B Chih-Hsien Chiang singled in Peng for a 1-0 lead. Wakui and relievers Hitoki Iwase, Kyuji Fujikawa and Koji Uehara combined to allow nothing further after that, though. The foursome combined for 11 strikeouts, including all 3 batters Fujikawa faced.

Japanese national team veteran Shinnosuke Abe got them into the game in the 5th when he homered for their lone run off of Hsu. In the 6th inning, Fu-Te Ni replaced Hsu but offered little relief. CF Norichika Aoki greeted him with a single and was bunted over by LF Masahiko Morino. After cleanup man Takahiro Arai struck out, RF Atsunori Inaba singled in Aoki.

The game remained a 2-1 affair until the 9th, when Japan jumped on former major leaguer Chin-Hui Tsao and college star Kai-Wen Cheng for four runs to put the game out of reach.


South Korea-China postponed at 0-0 in the 6th due to rain.

[edit] August 15

10:30 at Wukesong Baseball Field 2
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 R H E
Flag of Chinese Taipei Chinese Taipei 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 4 7 11 1
Flag of People's Republic of China People's Republic of China 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 5 8 11 3
Pitchers of Record
Win: Jiangang Lu (1-0) Loss: Chien-Fu Yang (0-1)
Home Runs
Taiwan: Kuo-Hui Lo in 5th inning, 1 RBI
China: None
Umpires
HP: Edgar Estivison (Panama); 1B: Edwin van den Berk (Netherlands); 2B: Joe Burleson (USA); 3B: Kazuhiko Kuwabara (Japan)
Time of Game: 4:20
Attendance: 1,600

In a game with significant political undercurrents, the host Chinese team stunned Taiwan in the biggest upset to this point in the tournament. Wei-Lun Pan and Nan Wang battled evenly for four innings. In the 5th, LF Kuo-Hui Lo homered off of Wang to put Taiwan up 1-0. An inning later, 1B Cheng-Min Peng singled against Guogiang Sun, stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error by C Wei Wang and came home on a grounder.

China started their stunning comeback in the bottom of the 8th inning. CF Lingfeng Sun singled against Fu-Te Ni and DH Fenglian Hou drew a walk. Hard-throwing college star Chia-Jen Lo relieved Ni but threw a wild pitch. He struck out 1B Yu Bing Jia and got RF Fei Feng on a run-scoring grounder to short. Team captain/SS Yufeng Zhang came through with a clutch single to score Hou with the tying run. Wei Wang doubled to score Zhang and China suddenly had the lead.

Kun Chen tried to close the game for China but Lo drew a leadoff walk. PH Wu-Hsiung Pan hit into a force at second. 3B Chih-Wei Shih struck our for the second out. With their backs to the wall, Taiwan rallied. CF Che-Hsuan Lin drew a walk. That brought up RF Chien-Ming Chang, who doubled home Pan to tie the score at 3. Peng grounded out back to the mound to end the inning.

Sun doubled and Hou walked with two outs in the bottom of the 9th but Jia then struck out to force extra innings. Backup DH Yen-Wen Kuo reached to begin the 10th but was stranded. Fei Feng singled to begin the bottom of the 10th and was also unable to score.

That meant that the stupid new extra inning rule would be put into effect. Taiwan began with Che-Hsuan Lin and Shih on base; Chang bunted them over and Peng drew a walk to load the bags. Kuo grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the threat. In the bottom of the 11th, Chien-Fu Yang retired all 3 Chinese hitters he faced with the two men on base.

Taiwan exploded in the 12th. Starting with Peng and Kuo on base, the runners advanced on a Chih-Sheng Lin bunt. Jiangang Lu intentionally walked Chih-Hsien Chiang to load the bases. Lo coaxed a bases-loaded free pass to make it 4-3. Feng-Min Chen, the third Taiwan catcher of the day, doubled in two runs. Shih singled to score Lo but Che-Hsuan Lin and Chien-Ming Chang grounded out to end the inning.

In the bottom of the 12th, China began with Zhang and Feng on base. Wei Wang drew a walk from Chien-Fu Yang to load the bases but 2B Lei Li struck out. LF Chao Wang singled to close the game to 7-4. 3B Wei Sun flew to right for the second out. Tiny Lingfeng Sun drew a walk to force in Zhang and make it 7-5. Hou then delivered a game-winning 2-run single and an error by RF Chang let in Sun with the winner to complete the stunner.

Mariners farmhand Kuo-Hui Lo went 2 for 2 with 4 walks and a homer in the loss.

11:30 at Wukesong Main Baseball Field
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 R H E
Flag of Cuba Cuba 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 5 10 0
Flag of United States United States 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 4 6 0
Pitchers of Record
Win: Pedro Luis Lazo (1-0) Loss: Jeff Stevens (0-2)
Home Runs
Cuba: Alfredo Despaigne in 8th inning, 1 RBI
USA: Jayson Nix in 8th inning, 1 RBI
Umpires
HP: Carlos Rey (Puerto Rico); 1B: Luis Ramirez (Mexico); 2B: Malcolm Mackay (Australia); 3B: Brian Hodgson (Canada)
Time of Game: 3:43
Attendance: 6,665

Just like the Taiwan-China game, the new extra inning rule came into play with another game between countries that don't get along politically.

Cuba opened the scoring in the first. CF Giorvis Duvergel drew a Trevor Cahill walk, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a double by 3B Michel Enríquez. Cahill retired 2B Yulieski Gourriel but 1B Alexander Mayeta singled to put men on the corners and LF Frederich Cepeda did what he does best, drawing a walk. With the bases loaded, the wild Cahill plunked RF Alexei Bell to make it 2-0 before settling down and retiring DH Alfredo Despaigne and C Ariel Pestano. Cuba would not score again off of Cahill in four innings. Cuba did load the bases in the third but Despaigne hit into a double play.

In the 4th, the US finally got to surprise starter Luis Miguel Rodríguez, a newcomer to the national team. 1B Terry Tiffee, RF Nate Schierholtz and DH John Gall all doubled to make it 2-2.

Cuba got the lead back in the 8th, when Despaigne homered off of Jeremy Cummings, the last addition to the USA roster; it was the only run Cummings allowed in three innings of work. In the bottom of the 8th, the US came right back when 2B Jayson Nix went yard against all-time Cuban league win leader Pedro Luis Lazo.

Bell opened the 10th with a triple off of Kevin Jepsen but failed to score when Jepsen retired the next three players, two by strikeout.

Cuba opted to start the 11th with Luis Miguel Navas and Héctor Olivera Jr. on base. Duvergel bunted the runners over and Enríquez came through with a 2-run single to right field off of Jeff Stevens. Gourriel walked but Mayeta hit into an inning-ending double play.

In the bottom of the 11th, the US began with Jason Donald and Dexter Fowler aboard. Nix tried to bunt but only succeeded in deflecting a Lazo fastball into his face, forcing him to go to the hospital. Brian Barden pinch-hit and laid down a bunt. Tiffee hit a sacrifice fly to close the game to 5-4 but Lazo got 3B Matthew Brown to pop up to the catcher to end the contest and knock the US to 1-2. Cuba improved to 3-0 but had only outscored its opponents 16-12.

6:00 PM at Wukesong Baseball Field 2
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of South Korea South Korea 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0
Flag of Canada Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 1
Pitchers of Record
Win: Hyun-jin Ryu (1-0) Loss: Mike Johnson (0-1)
Home Runs
South Korea: Keun-woo Jeong in 3rd inning, 1 RBI
Canada: None
Umpires
HP: Fabrizio Chirici (Italy); 1B: Nelson Diaz (Cuba); 2B: Juan Rodriguez (Puerto Rico); 3B: Wen-Ching Liao (Taiwan)
Time of Game: 2:44
Attendance: 1,500

Canada's offense finally stalled as 2006 Korea Baseball Organization MVP Hyun-jin Ryu tossed a 5-hit shutout with 3 walks and 6 strikeouts in a match-up of the top two teams from the 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament. Canada's pitching was almost as good - Mike Johnson, David Davidson and T.J. Burton allowed just 3 hits, 5 walks and a single run - a solo homer to left by 2B Keun-woo Jeong in the third. Canada got a runner to second with two outs in the 9th but Ryu retired former major leaguer Ryan Radmanovich to end the contest as South Korea joined Cuba as the lone unbeaten teams after three days.


7:00 PM at Wukesong Main Baseball Field
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Netherlands Netherlands 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 1
Flag of Japan Japan 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 X 6 10 0
Pitchers of Record
Win: Toshiya Sugiuchi (1-0) Loss: Alexander Smit (0-1)
Home Runs
Netherlands: None;
Japan: G.G. Sato in 8th inning, 1 RBI
Umpires
HP: Juan Cuevas (Cuba); 1B: Paul Hyham (Australia); 2B: Jianxiang Yang (China); 3B: Perry Costello (USA)
Time of Game: 2:36
Attendance: 6,600

The Orange continued their worst tournament in some time with their third shutout loss in a row. Toshiya Sugiuchi, Masahiro Tanaka and Kenshin Kawakami teamed up on a 4-hit whitewash. Japan put it away early against Reds farmhand Alexander Smit. 2B Tsuyoshi Nishioka walked and was balked to second. CF Norichika Aoki singled, as did DH Masahiko Morino. 1B Takahiro Arai emptied the bases with a 3-run triple and then scored on a sac fly from RF Atsunori Inaba for a 4-0 lead. Smit would allow nothing more but he didn't need to.

In the 8th, LF G.G. Sato went deep off of former AA hurler Diegomar Markwell. Japan scored another run that inning on hits from backup 2B Masahiro Araki and Aoki to complete the scoring.

[edit] August 16

10:30 AM at Wukesong Baseball Field 2
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Canada Canada 0 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 4 10 1
Flag of United States United States 0 0 0 2 1 0 2 0 X 5 9 1
Pitchers of Record
Win: Brian Duensing (1-0) Loss: Chris Reitsma (0-1)
Home Runs
Canada: None
USA: Brian Barden in 4th inning, 1 RBI
Umpires
HP: Mal Mackay (Australia); 1B: Juan Rodriguez (Puerto Rico); 2B: Juan Cuevas (Cuba); 3B: Jianxiang Yang (China)
Time of Game: 2:50
Attendance: 1,071

With their backs to the wall, the USA almost fell to 1-3 before rallying to top their neighbors to the north, who also came in at 1-2 and in need of a win.

Canada got going in the second against Brett Anderson when LF Nick Weglarz singled and DH Emerson Frostad doubled him home. In the third, 2B Stubby Clapp reached on a single and a triple by SS Emmanuel Garcia. RF Mike Saunders grounded in Garcia and Canada led 3-0. They made it 4-0 in the 4th; 3B Matt Rogelstad reached on a Jason Donald error at short, C Chris Robinson singled and CF Adam Stern singled. Clapp then grounded into a run-scoring double play.

The USA began their rally in the 4th when 2B Brian Barden homered off of James Avery. With two outs, RF Nate Schierholtz doubled and Avery plunked LF Matt LaPorta. DH John Gall singled home Schierholtz, knocking Avery from the contest.

In the 5th, Donald reached on a miscue by his counterpart Garcia. CF Dexter Fowler reached on a fielder's choice, 1-6. Barden grounded Fowler to second and 1B Terry Tiffee brought him home with a two-bagger off of R.J. Swindle to close the game to 4-3.

Canada got two on in the 6th but Stern struck out to strand them. In the bottom of the 7th, US catcher Lou Marson took a walk from Chris Reitsma. Donald bunted Marson over and Reitsma retired Fowler on a pop fly. Barden delivered with a game-tying double. Team Canada veteran Rheal Cormier entered and surrendered another RBI double to Tiffee to put the US up 5-4.

The US loaded the bases in the 8th against T.J. Burton but failed to score. In the 9th, Robinson singled with one out but was stranded. Brian Duensing worked the final 3 1/3 innings for the USA and allowed just one baserunner, on a single, to pick up the crucial win.

11:30 AM at Wukesong Baseball Main Field
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Chinese Taipei Chinese Taipei 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 1
Flag of Cuba Cuba 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 X 1 5 0
Pitchers of Record
Win: Elier Sánchez (1-0) Loss: Cheng-Chang Lee (0-1) Save: Norberto González (2)
Home Runs
Taiwan: None
Cuba: Frederich Cepeda in 7th inning, 1 RBI
Umpires
HP: Daniel Toledo (Mexico); 1B: Joe Burleson (USA); 2B: Carlos Rey (Puerto Rico); 3B: Edwin van den Berk (Netherlands)
Time of Game: 2:24
Attendance: 6,584


Taiwan took its second one-run loss while Cuba got its third one-run win to remain unbeaten. The game featured an excellent duel between Taiwan collegian Cheng-Chang Lee and late Cuban addition Elier Sánchez. Cuba first challenged in the third when LF Frederich Cepeda walked and RF Alexei Bell doubled but 1B Alexander Mayeta lined out to third and C Ariel Pestano struck out.

SS Chih-Sheng Lin opened the 3rd with a single but could not advance beyond second base. Lin's error in the bottom of the 3rd let Cuba get runners on the corners but they did not score when #3 hitter Yuliesky Gourriel and cleanup man Alfredo Despaigne failed to deliver.

In the 6th, 2008 Futures Game MVP Che-Hsuan Lin singled and made it to third but #3 hitter Kuo-Hui Lo lined out. Taiwan got two on with two outs in the 7th but light-hitting C Chun-Chang Yeh hit a pop fly. Sánchez left after 7 scoreless, having not struck out anyone.

Cepeda led off the bottom of the 7th with a home run clout off of Lee that put the game's only run on the board. Norberto González struck out two of 3 batters he faced in the 8th, having relieved Elier. In the bottom of the inning, Cuba got two baserunners but failed to score.

In the 9th, González fanned Lo and got former CPBL batting champ Chen-Min Peng to ground back to the mound. 3B Chih-Wei Shih singled but Norberto recovered to get 2B Chih-Hsieh Chiang on a grounder to end the game.

6:00 PM at Wukesong Baseball Field 2
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Netherlands Netherlands 0 0 0 1 5 0 0 0 0 6 9 1
Flag of People's Republic of China People's Republic of China 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 4 11 1
Pitchers of Record
Win: Leon Boyd (1-0) Loss: Guogiang Sun (0-1) Save: David Bergman (1)
Home Runs
Netherlands: Sharnol Adriana in 4th inning, 1 RBI; Sidney de Jong in 5th inning, 3 RBI; Bryan Engelhardt in 5th inning, 1 RBI
China: None
Umpires
HP: Brian Hodgson (Canada); 1B: Paul Hyham (Australia); 2B: Kazuhiko Kuwabara (Japan); 3B: Luis Ramirez (Mexico)
Time of Game: 3:08
Attendance: 1,922

The Netherlands became the last team in these games to win, topping the host Chinese in a surprisingly close 6-4 affair as China continued to exceed expectations, perhaps in large part due to home field advantage.

China briefly held the lead. In the third, 3B Wei Sun doubled against Leon Boyd. Boyd plunked CF Lingfeng Sun and DH Fenglian Hou continued his hot hitting with a RBI single. Netherlands captain Sharnol Adriana began the 4th with a solo homer off of Weiliang Li to tie the score; it was the first Dutch run of the tournament.

The Dutch had a huge 5th against reliever Guogiang Sun. #9 hitter Mike Duursma got hit by a pitch. After a fly out from DH Raily Legito, 3B Yurendell de Caster singled. Adriana grounded to Wei Sun at third and he made a run-scoring two-base error to put the Netherlands up 2-1. C Sidney de Jong smashed a 3-run homer and the Orange led 5-1. LF Bryan Engelhardt then followed with another home run and it was a 6-1 game.

2B Lei Li and LF Hongbo Zhang opened the bottom of the 5th with singles; Zhang was thrown out by RF Dirk van 't Klooster trying to stretch his into a double. Wei Sun then hit a sacrifice fly to van 't Klooster to make it 6-2.

The Netherlands tried to improve their outfield defense in the 8th by bringing Eugene Kingsale in to man center, moving Danny Rombley from CF to LF and taking out Engelhardt. The move didn't pan out as 1B Yu Bing Jia hit a triple off of Rob Cordemans to score Hou, who had singled.

In the bottom of the 9th, the hosts staged a comeback. Lei Li doubled off of Cordemans but the 4th-time Olympian fanned Hongbo Zhang. Backup 3B Delong Jia singled to put men on the corners. David Bergman relieved Cordemans but allowed a RBI single to Lingfeng Sun and walked Hou to load the bases with one out. Bergman recovered to fan Jia then retired the first Chinese minor leaguer, Chao Wang, on a fly to Kingsale in center.


7:00 PM at Wukesong Main Baseball Field
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of South Korea South Korea 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 3 5 9 1
Flag of Japan Japan 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 3 7 1
Pitchers of Record
Win: Suk-min Yoon (2-0) Loss: Hitoki Iwase (0-1) Save: Tae-hyun Chong (1)
Home Runs
South Korea: Dae-ho Lee in 7th inning, 2 RBI
Japan: Takahiro Arai in 6th inning, 2 RBI
Umpires
HP: Ron Shewchuk (Canada); 1B: Perry Costello (USA); 2B: Nelson Diaz (Cuba); 3B: Wen-Ching Liao (Taiwan)
Time of Game: 3:29
Attendance: 8,124

South Korea continued its surprising success against Japan (having beaten them twice in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, an event Japan won) to remain undefeated.

The game began as an excellent pitching duel between Tsuyoshi Wada and Kwang-hyun Kim, who had beaten a Japanese team in the 2007 Asia Series. The first blood was shed in the bottom of the 6th. Japanese leadoff man Norichika Aoki singled. Kim was relieved in favor of Suk-min Yoon, who promptly surrendered a 2-run homer to 1B Takahiro Arai.

Korea quickly answered. 3B Dong-joo Kim opened the 7th with a walk from Wada and DH Dae-ho (Big Boy) Lee smashed one into the stands to tie the contest.

In the 9th, South Korea broke it open against Japanese closer Hitoki Iwase, one of the top relievers in Nippon Pro Baseball history. Dong-joo Kim again got things going, this time with a single. Despite his size and strength, Dae-ho Lee was called on to bunt and did so successfully. RF Jin-young Lee flew out to left. C Kab-yong Jin managed to drew a walk to put two on. Hyun-soo Kim pinch-hit for Min-jae Kim and the move paid off as he singled home Dong-joo Kim. After a steal by Hyun-soo Kim, LF Jong-wook Lee singled in Jin. Lee also ran and Yomiuri Giants backstop Shinnosuke Abe made a throwing error on the play, letting Hyun-soo Kim score to make it 5-3.

Korea called on Ki-joo Han to close up the contest. He promptly allowed a triple to Arai. RF Atsunori Inaba hit into a run-scoring error by Dong-joo Kim. 3B Shuichi Murata doubled. Kyung-moon Kim yanked Han in favor of Hyuk Kwon. Kwon retired Abe on a fly to left and Tae-hyon Chong came in and struck out LF G.G. Sato. Masahiko Morino pinch-hit for Tomoya Satozaki and grounded out to third to finish the game.

Afterwards, Korean manager Kim said "It's apparent that we no longer can rely on Han in situations where we need the win." and the Korea Times said that Han looked like an "overwhelmed Little Leaguer."

Japan joined the USA at third place at 2-2, back of unbeaten South Korea and Cuba, 1/2 game ahead of China and one game ahead of Canada, Taiwan and the Netherlands in an Olympics featuring more parity than anticipated.

[edit] August 17

6:00 PM at Wukesong Baseball Main Field
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 R H E
Flag of People's Republic of China People's Republic of China 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 2
Flag of South Korea South Korea 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 7 0
Pitchers of Record
Win: Seung-hwan Oh (1-0) Loss: Jiangang Lu (1-1)
Home Runs
China: None
South Korea: None
Umpires
HP: Kazuhiko Kuwabara (Japan); 1B: Brian Hodgson (Canada); 2B: Juan Cuevas (Cuba); 3B: Edwin van den Berk (Netherlands)
Time of Game: 3:19
Attendance: 6,800

The game that was halted due to rain after 6 innings on Thursday was resumed and remained a pitching duel. Seung Song worked 6 scoreless for South Korea and Chenhao Li 5 1/3 for China. With action resumed here, Won-sam Jang and Tao Bu continued the scoreless hurling through the 10th.

In the third, China's Wei Sun and Fenglian Hou reached but failed to score. South Korea got two on in the 4th but cleanup man Seung-yeop Lee hit into a twin killing. South Korea again two aboard in the 9th but 2B Young-min Ko failed to deliver. Hyun-soo Kim reached third with one out in the 10th but Dong-joo Kim lined out and Min-jae Kim flew out.

China opened the 11th with speedster Lingfeng Sun on second and Hou on first. 1B Yu Bing Jia grounded the runners over. Seung-hwan Oh relieved Won-sam Jang. RF and cleanup hitter Fei Feng greeted him with a fly to center fielder Jong-wook Lee. Sun, who had broken for home, tried to retreat back to third but Lee's throw to Dong-joo Kim beat Sun there.

In the bottom of the 11th, South Korea began with Jong-wook Lee and Yong-kyu Lee aboard against Jiangang Lu. 3B Keun-woo Jeong bunted the runners over and Seung-yeop Lee followed with the game-winning single as South Korea avoided an upset and tied with Cuba for first at 4-0.


[edit] August 18

10:30 AM at Wukesong Baseball Field 2
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Japan Japan 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 5 0
Flag of Canada Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2
Pitchers of Record
Win: Yoshihisa Naruse (1-0) Loss: Chris Begg (0-1) Save: Koji Uehara (1)
Home Runs
Japan: Atsunori Inaba in 5th inning, 1 RBI
Canada: None
Umpires
HP: Luis Ramirez (Mexico); 1B: Edgar Estivison (Panama); 2B: Perry Costello (USA); 3B: Nelson Diaz (Cuba)
Time of Game: 2:24
Attendance: 2,752

Canada again lost a 1-0 pitching duel to an Asian powerhouse, following their loss to South Korea earlier. They fell to 1-4; they would have been 3-2 and in Medal contention if the two games had gone differently. This time, they had no answer for southpaw Yoshihisa Naruse (10 K, 2 H in 7 IP), who baffled the lefty-loaded lineup. Kyuji Fujikawa fanned 2 of 3 batters he faced in the 8th and Koji Uehara tossed a perfect ninth for the save.

Canada's only real threat was in the 4th inning, when they got both of their hits. With one out, SS Emmanuel Garcia singled and RF Mike Saunders doubled to right. That brought up cleanup threat Scott Thorman, but the former Atlanta Braves starter struck out. Naruse then whiffed LF Nick Weglarz to end the inning.

Japan's lone run was in the 5th. RF Atsunori Inaba homered off of Chris Begg. Begg (5 1/3 IP), Dave Davidson (2 2/3 IP) and Steve Green (1 IP) combined to pitch well otherwise for the Canadians.

11:30 AM at Wukesong Main Baseball Field
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of South Korea South Korea 7 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 9 16 2
Flag of Chinese Taipei Chinese Taipei 0 2 0 0 4 2 0 0 0 8 12 2
Pitchers of Record
Win: Ki-joo Han (1-0) Loss: Fu-Te Ni (0-2) Save: Suk-min Yoon (1)
Home Runs
South Korea: Young-min Ko in 1st inning, 3 RBI
Taiwan: None
Umpires
HP: Joe Burleson (USA); 1B: Fabrizio Chirici (Italy); 2B: Paul Hyham (Australia); 3B: Brian Hodgson (Canada)
Time of Game: 3:39
Attendance: 7,000

The Asian teams continued their run of close contests with one another as South Korea improved to 5-0 while Taiwan fell to 1-4 with their third straight one-run loss.

Taiwanese manager I-Chung Hong made a highly controversial move in starting Chien-Fu Yang, who was just 4-9 with a 4.98 ERA in the 2008 CPBL and who had struggled against China. Yang was raked over the coals by the Korean hitters. CF Jong-wook Lee opened with a single and 3B Keun-woo Jeong singled. After a fly out, DH Seung-yeop Lee drew a walk. 1B Dae-ho Lee singled in two and an error by LF Kuo-Hui Lo on the play put men on second and third. RF Jin-young Lee singled in two more for a 4-0 lead. C Kab-yong Jin hit into an error by SS Chih-Sheng Lin. Yang struck out SS Min-jae Kim for the second out. 2B Young-min Ko, the #9 hitter, then smacked a 3-run homer for a 7-run first. Fu-Te Ni replaced Yang to open the 2nd. With one out, Hyun-soo Kim walked and Seung-yeop Lee singled. Dae-ho Lee doubled to increase the lead to 8-0. Amazingly, South Korea almost blew that lead.

Taiwan rallied against former major leaguer Jung Bong in the bottom of the 2nd. 1B Cheng-Min Peng singled and was grounded over. 2B Chih-Hsieh Chiang singled Peng to third. SS Chih-Sheng Lin grounded into a fielder's choice that retired Peng. Bong threw a wild pitch to put Chiang on third. C Chun-Chang Yeh singled in Chiang. CF Che-Hsuan Lin singled and an error by Jin-young Lee on the play led to Lin scoring to make it 8-2.

Taiwan loaded the bases in the third before Chiang hit into a double play to foil the threat. In the 5th, Taiwan continued to rally. With one out, Bong walked Lo. Peng singled Lo to third. 3B Chih-Wei Shih coaxed a walk to load the bags. Chiang came through with a 2-run single as Taiwan moved within four. Chih-Sheng Lin singled in Shih. Kyung-moon Kim brought in reliever Ki-joo Han despite his comments two days earlier about not being able to rely on Han, the team's hardest thrower. Yeh delivered a sacrifice fly and it was now 8-6. Che-Hsuan Lin then grounded out to third. In the 6th, RF Chien-Ming Chang walked. DH Wu-Hsiung Pan hit into a force at second. Lo drew a walk. Peng then doubled home both Chang and Lo to tie the score.

South Korea took the lead for good in the 7th. Dae-ho Lee reached and Yong-kyu Lee pinch-ran for "Big Boy". Jin-young Lee singled to move Yong-kyu Lee to second. Hong summoned Chih-Chia Chang to relieve Ni. Backup catcher Min-ho Kang singled in Yong-kyu Lee for a 9-8 lead before Chang retired the next three hitters.

Chih-Sheng Lin doubled to begin the bottom of the 7th but Han and Hyuk Kwon escaped the inning without allowing him to score. South Korea loaded the bases in the 8th but Kang failed to provide a clutch hit this time, striking out to end the frame. Korea got two on in the 9th but Jeong ground into a double play. In the bottom of the 9th, Suk-min Yoon retired Chiang, Yen-Wen Kuo and PH Chih-Kang Kao in order to seal the deal.

6:00 PM at Wukesong Baseball Field 2
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 R H E
Flag of Cuba Cuba 1 0 0 0 5 4 0 4 14 16 0
Flag of Netherlands Netherlands 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 3 10 2
Pitchers of Record
Win: Jonder Martínez (1-0) Loss: Juan Carlos Sulbaran (0-1)
Home Runs
Cuba: None
Netherlands: Bryan Engelhardt in 2nd inning, 1 RBI; Percy Isenia in 7th inning, 1 RBI
Umpires
HP: Juan Rodriguez (Puerto Rico); 1B: Mal Mackay (Australia); 2B: Daniel Toledo (Mexico); 3B: Wen-Ching Liao (Taiwan)
Time of Game: 2:54
Attendance: 1,689

The Netherlands failed to duplicate their upsets of Cuba that took place in the 2000 Olympics and 2007 Baseball World Cup, falling in eight innings due to the mercy rule despite a 2-0 edge in home runs.

Dutch manager Robert Eenhoorn called on teenager Juan Carlos Sulbaran, who had done very well against Cuba in the 2008 Haarlem Baseball Week. This time, the University of Florida recruit was not nearly as sharp. He walked 3B Michel Enríquez and 2B Yulieski Gourriel with one out in the first then hit LF Frederich Cepeda with a pitch two batters later. Sulbaran's wildness continued as he threw a wild pitch to score Enríquez before he recovered to fan hard-hitting RF Alexei Bell.

The Netherlands tied the game in the second on a solo shot from LF Bryan Engelhardt, his second homer of the Games, taking Yadier Pedroso deep. They then took the lead in the third. 2B Roel Koolen and CF Danny Rombley singled. SS Michael Duursma hit into a force at third. 3B Yurendell de Caster doubled to score Rombley but Duursma was thrown out trying to score as Eduardo Paret relayed the throw home from LF Frederich Cepeda.

In the 5th, Cuba took the lead for good. Paret singled off of Sulbaran and stole second with one out. Sulbaran hit Enríquez with a pitch and walked Gourriel. With the bases loaded, 1B Alexander Malleta hit into a run-scoring force. Cepeda grounded to Koolen but he made a crucial error, to put Cuba up 3-2. David Bergman was called on to relieve Sulbaran and gave up the big hit, a 2-run triple to Bell. DH Alfredo Despaigne singled in Bell for a 6-2 advantage.

Cuba continued their attack in the 6th. Paret again started it off, this time with a hit-by-pitch. CF Giorvis Duvergel singled and Enríquez provided a RBI double. Gourriel ground into a 3-2 fielder's choice to retire Duvergel. Dave Draijer "relieved" and Mayeta doubled to put Cuba up 8-2. Cepeda hit a sacrifice fly to score Gourriel and Bell singled in Mayeta for a 10-2 lead.

Netherlands DH Percy Isenia hit a solo homer in the 7th off of Jonder Martínez. After a quiet 7th, Cuba returned to the offense in the 8th. Cepeda singled off of Pim Walsma with one out and Bell singled as well. Despaigne, fresh off setting a Serie Nacional record for extra-base hits in a season, tripled home both men for a 12-3 score. With two outs, SS Luis Miguel Navas doubled in Despaigne and Duvergel singled home Navas to wrap up the scoring.

Bell was 4 for 5 with 3 RBI and Despaigne 3 for 5 with 3 RBI in the win.

7:00 PM at Wukesong Baseball Field 2
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of People's Republic of China People's Republic of China 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 4 1
Flag of United States United States 1 0 0 0 3 1 4 0 X 9 9 0
Pitchers of Record
Win: Jake Arrieta (1-0) Loss: Chenhao Li (0-1)
Home Runs
China: Yang Yang in 9th inning, 1 RBI
USA: None
Umpires
HP: Edwin van den Berk (Netherlands); 1B: Ron Shewchuk (Canada); 2B: Carlos Rey (Puerto Rico); 3B: Juan Cuevas (Cuba)
Time of Game: 3:18
Attendance: 7,563

Jake Arrieta, Mike Koplove, Casey Weathers and Blaine Neal combined on a 4-hit, 12-K effort in a US win marred by conflict and injuries. Two people were ejected and two left with injury as a result of the tensions.

The USA got going very quickly. 2B Brian Barden singled and moved to third on an error by Fei Feng. CF Nate Schierholtz singled in Barden. In the 5th, they added insurance. 1B Terry Tiffee doubled with one out, his 6th two-bagger of the Olympics, tying Brent Abernathy's record, set in 2000. With two outs, Zheng Xu replaced Li and was ineffective. DH John Gall doubled in Tiffee and RF Matt LaPorta walked. C Taylor Teagarden doubled in both runs, China catcher Wei Wang suffering a knee injury when LaPorta slammed into him. That infuriated Team China manager Jim Lefebvre, who came out to vent his anger and was promptly ejected.

To open the bottom of the 6th, Schierholz was hit by a pitch. 3B Matthew Brown doubled and a sacrifice fly by Tiffee made it 5-0. Home plate was again the site of a nasty collision, as Schierholtz ran into Wang's backup Yang Yang.

Defending his teammates after the two collisions, Kun Chen opened the 7th by sending a fastball straight into LaPorta's helmet, causing him to leave the game and head to a hospital for evaluation. It was one of 7 hit batsmen during the game. Chen was ejected from the game. Li Zhang came in to pitch and walked two batters before a 2-run Schierholtz double. Zhang then threw a wild pitch to score Barden and make it 9-0.

In the top of the 9th, Yang launched a big homer off of Blaine Neal to break up the shutout. Yang danced all the way from third base to home while pumping his arm into the air.

[edit] August 19

10:30 AM at Wukesong Baseball Field 2
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Canada Canada 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 1 0 4 7 1
Flag of Netherlands Netherlands 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
Pitchers of Record
Win: Brooks McNiven (1-0) Loss: Shairon Martis (0-2)
Home Runs
Canada: None
Netherlands: None
Umpires
HP: Edgar Estivison (Panama); 1B: Mal Mackay (Australia); 2B: Fabrizio Chirici (Italy); 3B: Jianxiang Yang (China)
Time of Game: 2:11
Attendance: 641

Canada ended its 4-game losing streak with some excellent pitching as Brooks McNiven, Jon Lockwood, Rheal Cormier and T.J. Burton combined on a 2-hitter; only Percy Isenia and Roel Koolen had safeties for the Netherlands and only Bryan Engelhardt managed a walk.

Canada RF Ryan Radmanovich singled off of Shairon Martis to open the third. After SS Emmanuel Garcia hit into a fielder's choice, 2B Stubby Clapp singled Garcia to third and 3B Matt Rogelstad grounded in the run. In the 4th, DH Nick Weglarz opened with a walk and came home on a triple by C Emerson Frostad. Frostad scored on a sacrifice fly from LF Brett Lawrie. They got their 4th and final run in the 8th on a double by CF Mike Saunders and a single by 1B Jimmy Van Ostrand.

11:30 AM at Wukesong Baseball Main Field
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Cuba Cuba 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 4 7 2
Flag of South Korea South Korea 0 0 0 5 0 1 1 0 X 7 9 0
Pitchers of Record
Win: Seung Song (1-0) Loss: Vicyohandri Odelín (1-1) Save: Seung-hwan Oh (1)
Home Runs
Cuba: None
South Korea: None
Umpires
HP: Perry Costello (USA); 1B: Carlos Rey (Puerto Rico); 2B: Paul Hyham (Australia); 3B: Wen-Ching Liao (Taiwan)
Time of Game: 2:59
Attendance: 6,000

The two unbeaten squads squared off in the second game of the day. In the second inning, Cuba started the scoring off of 3-time Futures Game participant Seung Song. LF Frederich Cepeda walked and RF Alexei Bell doubled. With one out, C Ariel Pestano smacked a 2-run double and CF Giorvis Duvergel later singled in Pestano for a 3-0 lead.

South Korea came back in the 4th. LF Hyun-soo Kim doubled against Vicyohandri Odelín. After a fly out by DH Seung-yeop Lee, 3B Dae-ho Lee and 1B Jin-young Lee both walked. CF Taek-keun Lee hit one to 1B Alexander Mayeta for out number two. C Min-ho Kang singled in Kim to make it 3-1. 2B Young-min Ko continued his fine hitting with a 2-run single. Antonio Pacheco summoned Norberto González to relieve Odelín. The move did not work out as RF Yong-kyu Lee grounded back to González, who made a throwing error while trying to toss to Mayeta to end the inning, allowing both Kang and Ko to score and giving Korea a 5-3 lead.

South Korea scored insurance in the 6th when Ko singled, stole second and scored on a Yong-kyu Lee single. Cuba got two on in the 7th but Yulieski Gourriel flew out against Hyuk Kwon. In the 7th, South Korea scored on a walk by Seung-yeop Lee and singles by Dae-ho Lee and CF Jong-wook Lee.

Cuba's last challenge came in the 8th. 2B Héctor Olivera Jr. doubled against Suk-min Yoon and Cepeda singled him in. Yoon retired the next three batters and Seung-hwan Oh got all three in order in the 9th to wrap up the 7-4 victory.

6:00 PM at Wukesong Baseball Field 2
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Flag of People's Republic of China People's Republic of China 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
Flag of Japan Japan 0 3 1 0 0 6 X 10 10 0
Pitchers of Record
Win: Hideaki Wakui (2-0) Loss: Nan Wang (0-1)
Home Runs
China: None
Japan: Tsuyoshi Nishioka in 6th inning, 2 RBI
Umpires
HP: Juan Cuevas (Cuba); 1B: Joe Burleson (USA); 2B: Juan Rodriguez (Puerto Rico); 3B: Brian Hodgson (Canada)
Time of Game: 2:11
Attendance: 1,680


Japan cruised to victory over China with a very good combination of pitching and offense.

Hideaki Wakui had a perfect game through three before DH Fenglian Hou singled but Hou was erased on a double play. China got its other runner in the 7th when CF Lingfeng Sun singled; he too was removed on a twin killing. As Wakui walked none, he wound up facing the minimum 21 batters before the game ended due to the mercy rule.

Japan, on the other hand, did a number on Chinese starter Nan Wang. In the second, RF Atsunori Inaba walked and stole second. LF G.G. Sato and C Akihiro Yano hit back-to-back RBI doubles and DH Tsuyoshi Nishioka contributed a RBI single.

Free-swinging 2B Masahiro Araki opened the third with a walk. He stole second. SS Hiroyuki Nakajima also walked. Jiangang Lu, the first Chinese pitcher to appear in the Japanese leagues (albeit the minor leagues), entered to relieve Wang and got 1B Takahiro Arai to ground into a double play. Inaba then doubled to make it 4-0 Japan.

Japan's offense produced lots of firework in the bottom of the 6th to ensure that the mercy rule would come into play. With one out, Yano drew a walk from Guogiang Sun and advanced on either a passed ball or wild pitch (the official box score and play-by-play list a passed ball but then put the pitcher's name rather than the catcher's). Nishioka then sent one into the stands for a 2-run homer. China turned in Yankees signee Kai Liu, who was atrocious. He walked CF Norichika Aoki, allowed a single to Araki, threw a run-scoring wild pitch and then allowed back-to-back doubles to Nakajima and Arai for 3 more RBI. Youhua Guo became their third pitcher of the inning and allowed a RBI single to Inaba before getting out of it.

Nishioka finished 3 for 3 with 3 RBI out of the #9 spot in the lineup.

7:00 PM at Wukesong Baseball Main Field
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Chinese Taipei Chinese Taipei 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 2 5 0
Flag of United States United States 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 1 X 4 10 2
Pitchers of Record
Win: Brandon Knight (1-0) Loss: Wen-Hsiung Hsu (0-1) Save: Kevin Jepsen (1)
Home Runs
Taiwan: Chih-Sheng Lin in 7th inning, 1 RBI
USA: John Gall in 6th inning, 1 RBI
Umpires
HP: Nelson Diaz (Cuba); 1B: Daniel Toledo (Mexico); 2B: Kazuhiko Kuwabara (Japan); 3B: Ron Shewchuk (Canada)
Time of Game: 2:36
Attendance: 7,662

Brandon Knight and Wen-Hsiung Hsu traded goose eggs for four innings. SS Chih-Sheng Lin opened the scoring in the 5th with a double preceding an error by USA 1B Matthew Brown. The US quickly tied it on a triple by CF Dexter Fowler and a double by 2B Brian Barden - the back-to-back extra-base hits caused Taiwan to shuffle its outfield.

LF John Gall began the sixth with a home run. C Lou Marson drew a walk from Hsu, who was relieved by Chen-Chang Lee. SS Jason Donald bunted Marson over and Fowler doubled him home for a 3-1 lead. In the 7th, Chih-Sheng Lin homered to make it a one-run contest and knock out USA starter Knight but it would be Taiwan's last hit. A Gall double and Donald single scored the final USA run in the 8th.

[edit] August 20

10:30 AM at Wukesong Baseball Field 2
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Flag of People's Republic of China People's Republic of China 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 1
Flag of Cuba Cuba 0 9 1 4 1 2 X 17 20 0
Pitchers of Record
Win: Jonder Martínez (2-0) Loss: Tao Bu (0-2)
Home Runs
China: None
Cuba: Giorvis Duvergel in 2nd inning, 4 RBI; Michel Enríquez in 2nd inning, 2 RBI; Ariel Pestano in 4th inning, 2 RBI
Umpires
HP: Fabrizio Chirici (Italy); 1B: Wen-Ching Liao (Taiwan); 2B: Edgar Estivison (Panama); 3B: Kazuhiko Kuwabara (Japan)
Time of Game: 2:19
Attendance: 1,390

Cuba pulled off the biggest rout of the tournament by scoring 17 runs, 8 of them on home runs from a club that had not shown much pop previously. Nine Cubans scored, eight of them with two runs. Michel Enríquez and Alexei Bell went a combined 7 for 7. The big hits in the rout included a grand slam from leadoff hitter Giorvis Duvergel and 2-run homers from Enríquez and Ariel Pestano.

Tao Bu allowed 8 hits and 8 runs in 1 1/3 IP, Zheng Xu 9 hits and 6 runs in 2 IP, Weiliang Li 2 runs and 2 hits in 1 IP and Junyi Chen 1 hit and 1 run in 2/3 of an IP. On the other hand, Elier Sánchez, Jonder Martínez, Adiel Palma and Miguel Lahera combined on a 2-hitter for Cuba. China avoided a shutout when PH Delong Jia tripled in the 7th and came around to score on an out by 2B Lei Li.

11:30 AM at Wukesong Main Baseball Field
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 R H E
Flag of South Korea South Korea 2 0 0 0 4 2 0 2 10 16 1
Flag of Netherlands Netherlands 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 1
Pitchers of Record
Win: Won-sam Jang (1-0) Loss: Alexander Smit (0-2)
Home Runs
South Korea: Dae-ho Lee in 5th inning, 2 RBI;Taek-keun Lee in 5th inning, 1 RBI
Netherlands: None
Umpires
HP: Mal Mackay (Australia); 1B: Jianxiang Yang (China); 2B: Joe Burleson (USA); 3B: Luis Ramirez (Mexico)
Time of Game: 2:04
Attendance: 7,681

The Netherlands finished with yet another shutout loss as Won-sam Jang held them to four singles and no walks in 8 innings as South Korea finished round one with a 7-0 record; the Dutch squad had its worst Olympic showing at 1-6, tied for last. RF Yong-kyu Lee (4 for 4, 2 R), CF Jong-wook Lee (3 for 5, R), LF Hyun-soo Kim (2 for 5, 3 RBI), DH Dae-ho Lee (2 for 5, HR, 3 RBI) and 1B Taek-keun Lee (2 for 3, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI) all contributed offensively as Olympic veteran Alexander Smit allowed 6 runs in 5 innings and 4-time Olympian Rob Cordemans surrendered 4 runs in 2.

6:00 PM at Wukesong Baseball Field 2
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 R H E
Flag of Chinese Taipei Chinese Taipei 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 6 10 2
Flag of Canada Canada 2 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 5 10 3
Pitchers of Record
Win: Fu-Te Ni (1-2) Loss: Chris Reitsma (0-2) Save: Chih-Chia Chang (1)
Home Runs
Taiwan: Che-Hsuan Lin in 2nd inning, 2 RBI; Chih-Sheng Lin in 2nd inning, 1 RBI
Canada: Stubby Clapp in 7th inning, 1 RBI
Umpires
HP: Paul Hyham (Australia); 1B: Perry Costello (USA); 2B: Juan Cuevas (Cuba); 3B: Edwin van den Berk (Netherlands)
Time of Game: 3:47
Attendance: 1,530

Taiwan outlasted Canada as the two teams both finished at 2-5; all five of Canada's losses were by a single run as all the breaks went against them.

Canadian manager Terry Puhl started Mike Johnson, who pitched professionally in Taiwan, but proved no mystery to hitters familiar with his work. RF Chien-Ming Chang opened the game with a single and steal. With one out, LF Kuo-Hui Lo hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Chang.

Canada came back against Wei-Yin Chen in the bottom of the first. 2B Stubby Clapp doubled. With one out, Saunders singled, as did LF Nick Weglarz, scoring Clapp. With two outs, 3B Scott Thorman singled home Weglarz to give Canada its only lead of the day.

Taiwan quickly recovered. SS Chih-Sheng Lin opened the second with a homer off of Johnson and 2B Chih-Hsien Chiang contributed a double. He advanced to third on a fly and scored on a single by C Chun-Chang Yeh. Red Sox prospect CF Che-Hsuan Lin, the #9 hitter, then cracked a 2-run homer to put Taiwan ahead 5-2. Johnson would only make it to the 4th before getting yanked, but allowed nothing more.

In the bottom of the second, CF Adam Stern singled. SS Emmanuel Garcia bunted but Wei-Yin Chen made a two-base error on the play to score Stern and Canada pulled within two. In the 4th, Stern tripled to knock Chen from the game as neither starter finished that inning. Garcia grounded to Chiang, scoring Stern and making it 5-4.

Lo and Weglarz each doubled and was stranded in the 5th. In the 7th, Lo singled and was balked over by Steve Green but it was the only hit Green allowed in four scoreless innings. Clapp homered in the bottom of the 7th off of Wei-Lun Pan to tie the game at five.

Taiwan loaded the bases with one out in the 11th but Chris Reitsma struck out 1B Cheng-Min Peng (part of an 0-for-6 day for him) and retired Chih-Sheng Lin to end the inning. In the bottom of the 11th, Canada also loaded the bases with one away. Fu-Te Ni whiffed backup 3B Matt Rogelstad and got Thorman to fly out to move things to the 12th.

Taiwan began the 12th, like the 11th, with the two men on base due to the silly new IBAF rule and Chiang drove in Peng with a single off of Reitsma for a 6-5 lead. In the bottom of the 12th, Ni struck out both C Emerson Frostad and Stern. That brought up Chris Robinson, a pinch-hitter for Garcia. Taiwan relieved with Chih-Chia Chang, who fanned Robinson to end the contest and ensure that Taiwan would not tie for last place.


7:00 PM at Wukesong Main Baseball Field
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 R H E
Flag of United States United States 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 4 5 0
Flag of Japan Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 5 0
Pitchers of Record
Win: Jeff Stevens (1-2) Loss: Hitoki Iwase (0-2) Save: Casey Weathers (1)
Home Runs
USA: None
Japan: None
Umpires
HP: Daniel Toledo (Mexico); 1B: Ron Shewchuk (Canada); 2B: Nelson Diaz (Cuba); 3B: Juan Rodriguez (Puerto Rico)
Time of Game: 3:21
Attendance: 8,552

Like Cuba, the two medal round-bound teams shuffled their pitchers to ensure that no one would be worn out for that round of competition. The constantly shuffled hurlers engaged in an exciting 10-inning pitching duel before the new IBAF rule ruined the game in the 11th as the US beat Japan to finish third.

Trevor Cahill walked DH Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Japan's leadoff man, but allowed nothing further in 3 innings. Yu Darvish threw two perfect to start for Japan. In the third, Masahiro Tanaka relieved and allowed only two hits in five scoreless innings. Jeremy Cummings allowed one hit in two innings, then Brian Duensing tossed a hitless 6th, though he walked one and hit one. Blaine Neal allowed a double to Hiroyuki Nakajima but nothing else in two innings. Kenshin Kawakami allowed two walks in two hitless, scoreless innings. Jeff Stevens tossed a perfect 9th to conclude the regulation play.

Hitoki Iwase struck out two of the three batters he faced in the 10th. Munenori Kawasaki had a two-out single in the bottom of the 10th but Stevens allowed nothing else. This wrapped up the portion of the game played by normal baseball rules.

Then came the time for the new IBAF nonsense. The US began with Jason Donald and Dexter Fowler aboard. Brian Barden singled off of Iwase to score Donald and Nate Schierholtz singled home Fowler. Matthew Brown also singled, driving in Barden. Iwase recovered to fan Terry Tiffee but John Gall grounded home Schierholtz for a 4-0 lead.

Casey Weathers entered to pitch in the bottom of the 11th. He retired Norichika Aoki and Takahiro Arai but Atsunori Inaba and Nakajima both singled, driving in Nishioka and Masahiro Araki respectively. Weathers then threw a wild pitch, putting the tying run on second, and walked Munenori Kawasaki to put the potential winning run aboard. Tomoya Satozaki pinch-hit for Shinnosuke Abe but could only manage a pop-up to first to end the game.

[edit] Preliminary Round Standings

Nation G W L Pct RS RA
Flag of South Korea South Korea 7 7 0 1.000 41 22
Flag of Cuba Cuba 7 6 1 .857 52 23
Flag of United States United States 7 5 2 .714 40 22
Flag of Japan Japan 7 4 3 .571 30 14
Flag of Chinese Taipei Chinese Taipei 7 2 5 .286 29 33
Flag of Canada Canada 7 2 5 .286 29 20
Flag of Netherlands Netherlands 7 1 6 .143 9 50
Flag of People's Republic of China People's Republic of China 7 1 6 .143 14 60

[edit] Medals Round Results

[edit] Semifinals; August 22

10:30 AM at Wukesong Baseball Main Field
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Japan Japan 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 2
Flag of South Korea South Korea 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 4 X 6 10 1
Pitchers of Record
Win: Kwang-hyun Kim (1-0) Loss: Hitoki Iwase (0-3)
Home Runs
Japan: None
South Korea: Seung-yeop Lee in 8th inning, 2 RBI
Umpires
HP: Luis Ramirez (Mexico); 1B: Perry Costello (USA); 2B: Edgar Estivison (Panama); 3B: Juan Cuevas (Cuba); LF: Brian Hodgson (Canada); RF: Wen-Ching Liao (Taiwan)
Time of Game: 3:08
Attendance: 8,480

South Korea beat Japan in a crucial Olympic game for the second time in 8 years, following their 2000 Olympics win over Daisuke Matsuzaka in the Bronze Medal game. They had also now beaten Japan in 4 of 6 match-ups in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, 2007 Asian Championship and 2008 Olympics. The game was a close one until the 8th inning, when South Korea locked up its first trip ever to the Gold Medal game of the Olympics.

South Korea started young Kwang-hyun Kim, who had considerable success against Japanese teams in the past. Japan started quickly. DH Tsuyoshi Nishioka singled and took second on an error by his former teammate, Korean 1B Seung-yeop Lee. 2B Masahiro Araki bunted Nishioka to third and CF Norichika Aoki walked. 1B Takahiro Arai grounded back to Kim, who threw to second for the out, Nishioka scoring on the play.

In the third, Nishioka walked, was bunted over by Araki, took third on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Aoki to make it 2-0; South Korea stuck with Kim, though, and he allowed nothing further in the next five innings.

After 3 hitless innings, Toshiya Sugiuchi wilted in the bottom of the 4th. RF Yong-kyu Lee singled and advanced on an error by LF G.G. Sato. LF Hyun-soo Kim singled Lee to third. Seung-yeop lee hit into a run-scoring double play. After a Dong-joo Kim single, Kenshin Kawakami relieved Sugiuchi.

In the 7th, Kyuji Fujikawa came in for Japan, their 4th pitcher of the day. With one out, he walked DH Dae-ho Lee and Keun-woo Jeong pinch-ran for the hefty slugger. 2B Young-min Ko singled Jeong to second. Fujikawa whiffed C Min-ho Kang. Jin-young Lee pinch-hit for Jin-man Park and delivered a game-tying hit.

In the 8th, Senichi Hoshino turned to Hitoki Iwase, despite poor work so far in the Olympics. The move was a disaster. Yong-kyu Lee singled. With one out, Seung-yeop Lee, who was only playing in the Japanese minors prior to the Games, reminded the Japanese major leaguers what he could do with a 2-run homer to right. Lee had only been 3 for 25 so far in Beijing and said after the game that he was worried as he had never hit well against Iwase. After a Dong-joo Kim single, Hideaki Wakui finally relieved Iwase. He got one quick out but Ko's fly to left was dropped by Sato, scoring Dong-joo Kim. Kang then doubled home Ko for a 6-2 lead.

Kwang-hyun Kim was finally yanked to open the 9th, replaced by Suk-min Yoon, the last addition to the Korean roster for the Olympics. He retired Hiroyuki Nakajima on a fly to right, struck out PH Masahiko Morino and got PH Shinnosuke Abe on a fly to end the game.

6:00 PM at Wukesong Baseball Main Field
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of United States United States 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 6 2
Flag of Cuba Cuba 0 0 2 1 0 1 0 6 X 10 14 2
Pitchers of Record
Win: Norge Vera (2-0) Loss: Stephen Strasburg (1-1) Save: Pedro Luis Lazo (2)
Home Runs
USA: None
Cuba: Alfredo Despaigne in 4th inning, 1 RBI; Frederich Cepeda in 6th, 1 RBI; Alexei Bell in 8th inning, 3 RBI; Ariel Pestano in 8th inning, 3 RBI
Umpires
HP: Juan Rodriguez (Puerto Rico); 1B: Paul Hyham (Australia); 2B: Daniel Toledo (Mexico); 3B: Fabrizio Chirici (Italy); LF: Kazuhiko Kuwabara (Japan); RF: Edwin van den Berk (Netherlands)
Time of Game: 2:48
Attendance: 8,632

Both managers opted for a starter with success against the other team. Davey Johnson turned to Stephen Strasburg, who had excelled against Cuba in the 2008 Haarlem Baseball Week. Antonio Pacheco selected Norge Vera, who had beaten the US in the 2003 Pan American Games.

In the first, 2B Brian Barden drew a walk to open the game but 1B Terry Tiffee hit into a double play to end the inning. With two outs in the second, 2B Yulieski Gourriel and DH Alfredo Despaigne reached third and second respectively but C Ariel Pestano struck out.

Cuba took the lead in the bottom of the third. CF Giorvis Duvergel singled with one out and 1B Héctor Olivera Jr. (normally a second baseman and sometimes a third baseman but clearly playing out of position in a gamble for more offense) tripled to make it 1-0. On the play, Barden made a throwing error on the relay to 3B Mike Hessman, allowing Olivera to score for a 2-0 lead.

In the 4th inning, Barden drew another walk and RF Nate Schierholtz singled. Tiffee grounded both runners over and DH Matthew Brown hit a sacrifice fly to left field. Cuba put on a key insurance run in the bottom of the inning when Despaigne delivered a solo shot off of Strasburg.

With one out in the 5th, C Lou Marson flew to right, but Alexei Bell dropped it for a two-base error. SS Jason Donald singled home Marson to make the score 3-2. LF Frederich Cepeda took Brian Duensing deep in the 6th for a 4-2 lead. Vera exited after six innings to be replaced by the Cuban leagues' all-time win leader, Pedro Luis Lazo. The 4-time Olympian threw 3 shutout innings, allowing two hits and no walks and striking out four.

Cuba made it a rout in the 8th. The US bought in Jeff Stevens, ineffective so far in the Olympics. With one out, 3B Michel Enríquez singled, as did Cepeda. Alexei Bell continued his excellent home run hitting of 2008 with a 3-run bomb for a 7-2 lead. Blaine Neal relieved Stevens. Gourriel reached on an error by Hessman. Despaigne then singled and Pestano belted a 3-run homer to make it 10-2 and giving Cuba its final margin of victory. Despaigne finished 3-for-4.

[edit] Finals; August 23

[edit] Bronze Medal Game; August 23

10:30 AM at Wukesong Baseball Main Field
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of Japan Japan 1 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 6 1
Flag of United States United States 0 1 3 0 4 0 0 0 X 8 9 0
Pitchers of Record
Win: Brett Anderson (1-0) Loss: Kenshin Kawakami (0-1)
Home Runs
Japan: Masahiro Araki in 1st inning, 1 RBI; Norichika Aoki in 3rd inning, 3 RBI
USA: Matt LaPorta in 2nd inning, 1 RBI; Matthew Brown in 3rd inning, 3 RBI; Jason Donald in 5th inning, 2 RBI
Umpires
HP: Nelson Diaz (Cuba); 1B Ron Shewchuk (Canada); 2B: Daniel Toledo (Mexico); 3B: Malcolm Mackay (Australia); LF: Wen-Ching Liao (Chinese Taipei); RF: Jianxiang Yang (China)
Time of Game: 3:06
Attendance: 8,750

In a match-up of teams that had previously played in the Gold Medal game (1996 for Japan, 2000 for the USA), the Bronze Medal game had to be a disappointment - especially for which team failed to go home with a Medal of any kind.

Japan started quickly. With one out in the first, 2B Masahiro Araki (not noted for his power) delivered home run off of Brett Anderson. US left fielder Matt LaPorta homered off of Tsuyoshi Wada to tie the score at one apiece in the 2nd inning.

Japanese 3B Shuichi Murata and DH Tsuyoshi Nishioka both drew walks in the 3rd inning and with two outs CF Norichika Aoki cracked a 3-run homer off of Anderson to put Japan ahead 4-1. The US quickly got back into it. DH Brian Barden flew to G.G. Sato in left in the bottom of the third but Sato dropped the fly. 2B Jayson Nix, back from his injury earlier in the Olympics, coaxed a walk. After Wada struck out 1B Terry Tiffee, cleanup hitter/3B Matthew Brown came up. With a full count, Brown fouled off a few pitches then homered to left-center to tie the contest at four.

The US put it away in the 5th against Kenshin Kawakami. With one out, Brown doubled and RF Nate Schierholtz walked. LaPorta popped up to C Shinnosuke Abe. Brown stole third with C Taylor Teagarden at the plate. Teagarden, who had almost been left off the Olympics as the Texas Rangers kept him on their MLB roster until right before the deadline, hit one off the wall in right field, scoring both runners. SS Jason Donald then hit the game's 4th home run, off the left field foul pole, for a 8-4 lead.

The US mounted rallies in the 6th, 7th and 8th but failed to score against Yoshihisa Naruse and Yu Darvish. Japan, meanwhile, had not produced against Anderson from the 4th through 7th and against Kevin Jepsen in the 8th. Their best bid for a comeback came in the 9th against Jepsen. Aoki walked and Hiroyuki Nakajima hit a 2-out single but Abe ground out to first to end the game, sending a Japanese All-Star squad home without a Medal.

[edit] Gold Medal Game; August 23

6:00 PM at Wukesong Baseball Main Field
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Flag of South Korea South Korea 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 4 0
Flag of Cuba Cuba 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 5 1
Pitchers of Record
Win: Hyun-jin Ryu (2-0) Loss: Norberto González (0-1) Save: Tae-hyon Chong (2)
Home Runs
Korea: Seung-yeop Lee in 1st inning, 2 RBI;
Cuba: Michel Enríquez in 1st inning, 1 RBI; Alexei Bell in 7th inning, 1 RBI
Umpires
HP: Carlos Rey (Puerto Rico); 1B: Joseph Burleson (USA); 2B: Paul Hyham (Australia); 3B: Luis Ramirez (Mexico); LF: Fabrizio Chirici (Italy); RF: Edgar Estivison (Panama)
Time of Game: 3:15
Attendance: 9,859


South Korea finished the Olympics 9-0 for the first undefeated Olympic baseball team since the Cubans in 1996, winning an exciting one-run duel against the most successful national team in the sport. They were the first South Korean team in any sport to win Gold in a ball game event since 1996 when the women's handball team took home the title.

With one out in the first, RF Yong-kyu Lee singled off of Norberto González. LF Hyun-soo Kim struck out to bring up 1B Seung-yeop Lee, their semifinal hero. The highest-paid Korean baseball player in the world took the 4th pitch from González into left field for a 2-0 lead.

In the bottom of the first, Cuban 3B Michel Enríquez jacked a 2-out solo homer off of 21-year-old Hyun-jin Ryu. It then became a pitching duel with neither team getting a hit or walk until the 5th when Cuban DH Alfredo Despaigne doubled and was stranded.

Korea drew two walks in the 6th but failed to score; that inning, veteran Cuban star Pedro Luis Lazo relieved González despite having pitched 3 innings the day before. Lazo ran into trouble with 2 outs in the 7th. SS Jin-man Park singled and CF Jong-wook Lee finagled a walk. Yong-kyu Lee then doubled home Park for a 3-1 cushion, knocking Lazo from the game.

With two outs in the 7th, Cuba's premier slugger, RF Alexei Bell homered off of Ryu to close the gap to one run. C Ariel Pestano singled with one out in the 8th but PH Rolando Meriño and CF Giorvis Duvergel both flew out.

Cuba challenged in the bottom of the 9th inning. 1B Héctor Olivera Jr. singled to open the inning and was bunted over by Enríquez. LF Frederich Cepeda drew a walk, as did Bell. With the tying run on third and the winning run on second, Kyung-moon Kim finally yanked Ryu in favor of sidearmer Tae-hyun Chong. The closer faced off against 2B Yulieski Gourriel, a top performer in some international events of the past. This time, he failed to contribute in the clutch, grounding to Park at short. Park threw to 2B Young-min Ko for out number two and Ko relayed to Seung-yeop Lee at first to complete the twin killing and end the game.


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