By Ann Yu ,The China Post
TAIPEI, Taiwan — After a tight loss to Japan on Friday, the Taiwan team crashed out of the World Baseball Classic yesterday after losing to Cuba 14-0 in a mercy rule-shortened game.
According to WBC rules, the game ends immediately after the home Federation Team reaches the 10-run differential in the seventh inning or later.
Both teams were faced with a win-or-go-home situation as Cuba also lost to the Netherlands in the previous round. This marks the end of Taiwan’s opportunity to advance to the next round in the World Baseball Classic series, while Cuba is slated to compete against Japan or the Netherlands on Monday.
According to local media, Taiwanese fans hung around outside sport restaurants in disbelief as they swallowed the bitter pill of an early elimination. A male fan in tears said that he was still proud of Taiwan despite the loss as the players have already achieved more than anyone could have hoped.
Cuban pitcher Danny Betancourt held Taiwan scoreless for six innings, before he retired at the top of the seventh and Cuba managed a total of 12 hits throughout the entire game, including four home-run plays.
Taiwanese starting pitcher Lo Ching-lung (羅錦龍) seemed shaken up in the first inning with Cuban player Frederich Cepeda homering early with two runs. The Taiwan team was able to stop Cuba’s offensive plays for two straight innings before giving way in the fourth. Cuba put four runs onto the scoreboard, including a home run play by Yasmany Tomas with two men on base.
Taiwan’s meltdown came in the sixth inning, when the Cuban players managed to put eight runs onto the scoreboard. Bashing out three homers in one single inning, the Taiwan coaching staff retired three pitchers in a desperate attempt to stop the bleeding. With one batter out, Taiwanese pitcher Lin Yu-ching (林煜清) seemed a bit rattled after allowing Frank Morejon and Erisbel Arruebarruena on base, accidentally pitching the ball into Guillermo Heredia.
Lin was not able to solve the jam with bases loaded, allowing a single line drive from Yulieski Gurriel and sending pinch-runner Luis Rivera home. Two more homers followed after an exchange of two Taiwanese pitchers, including a single homer by Alfredo Despaigne. The runs finally came to a stop at 14-0, thanks to shortstop player Lin Chih-sheng (林智勝).
Although all hope seemed lost for the Taiwan team, they still showed a glimpse of hope after batter Chen Yun-chi (陳鏞基) managed to make it to first base and having pinch-runner Han Lin (林瀚) replace him. Unfortunately, after pinch-hitter Lin Hung-Yu (林泓育) replaced Kao Chih-kang (高志綱), the inning ended on a flyout, and ultimately ended the series for Taiwan.