The U-23 WBSC World Cup started today in Taipei City, Taiwan as Colombia took on Chinese Taipei in route to place for a higher medal placement this time around. Last year Colombia captured Bronze during the U-23 World Cup in Sonora, Mexico. Colombia beat Cuba 5-3 to earn their first medal in their nation’s history during the U-23 World Cup. Manager Jorge Mosquera built a great roster during last year’s U-23 World Cup along with having some key players return to this year as well under Colombia’s current manager Jose Cortes. Player’s like OF Bryan Buelvas of the Oakland Athletics organization, Leandro Emiliani utility player out of the Washington Nationals organization, pitcher Ruben Galindo out of the San Diego Padres organization, and infielder Hector Martinez out of the Los Angeles Dodgers Organization are the notables listed returning for Colombia. All the listed returning players will be looking to help place a veteran presence Colombia team throughout the roster. Last year Colombia had three players from the U-23 All-World Team roster during last year’s World Cup. Outfielders Jesus Marriaga, Gustavo Campero, and Pitcher Jhon Peluffo were the players listed for Team Colombia.
Chinese Taipei was disappointed in last year’s U-23 World Cup and are looking to bounce back. Chinese Taipei was faltering with Covid-19 issues during most of the international baseball calendar year. This is their fourth appearance in WBSC age group events this year. Finishing 3-2 before the super round of last year’s U-23 was an amazing turnaround for Chinese Taipei during the adjustment of the international calendar year. Unfortunately, during the Super Round Chinese Taipei would finish 1-4 out of medal running for the U-23 World Cup tournament. Chinese Taipei would just have one player make the all-world team for the U-23, starting pitcher Chen Yu-Hung. He was 2-0, with 12 innings pitched, allowing three hits, one walk, eight strikeouts and no earned runs during the U-23 World Cup last year. Chinese Taipei is currently second in the world just behind Samurai Japan in the current WBSC rankings. This is the second time Taiwan is hosting the U-23 event since the WBSC labeled the world cup age group with U-21 in 2014, which was Chinese Taipei’s last medal in this particular age group resulting in gold. Manager Shih-Hsin Wu is looking to capture the gold with a competitive roster that will include Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) prospects from their main league in Taiwan and recently signed MLB organization Pitcher Zhuang-Chen from the Oakland Athletics. A lot is at stake in Taiwan for the host country team Chinese Taipei as they are looking to seek gold during the U-23 World Cup.
Chinese Taipei Manager Shih-Hsin Wu would have last year’s All World Team pitcher nominee Chen Yu-Hung get the start. Colombia manager Jose Cortes would have starting pitcher Jesus Florez take the ball for the defending medal nation in the first game of the U-23 World Cup. During the first inning, no harm would be done by both offenses. In the bottom of the second inning Chinese Tapei would strike first from Colombia’s defensive miscues. Third basemen Teng Yu Wang would reach on an error with one out from SS Hector Martinez. Next batter, SS Jyun-Siang would drive a single to right advancing Teng Yu Wang to second base. A few moments later, RF Wei Chieh Lo would single up the middle to drive in Teng Yu Wang as Chinese Taipei would go up 1-0.
A couple of scoreless frames for both sides until the start of fifth inning when Colombia would look to tack on the score board. 3B Branlyn Jaraba would lead off the fifth with a single up the middle. Chinese Taipei would have certain fundamentals not go their way defensively as LF Daniel Rodriguez and RF Roger Merlano would both reach on errors to salvage a scoring opportunity for Colombia. Next batter would be SS Hector Martinez as he drives a double to left center scoring Daniel Rodriguez and Roger Merlano as Colombia took the lead 2-1 knocking starting pitcher Chen Yu Hung out of the game. Hung would go 4 1/3 innings pitched, with 3 hits allowed, one earned run, one walk, and three strikeouts. Yan-Cheng Wang would enter the game for Chinese Taipei looking to silence the bats from Colombia’s offense. Wang would get the final two outs of the fifth getting CF Bryan Buelvas to fly out to center and 2B Carlos Padilla to strikeout ending the threat inning for Colombia.
Chinese Taipei reliever Yan-Cheng- Wang would not falter in his final inning of work as he struck out pinch hitter Jhon Chavez to end the top of the sixth. In the bottom of the sixth, Chinese Taipei would look to go ahead of Colombia with six outs to work with offensively. Manager Jose Cortes would feel confident on going to his bullpen early as Jesus Florez would go five full innings, with three hits allowed, no earned runs, no walks, and three strikeouts during his start. Colombia would have Carlos De Avila enter the sixth inning looking to keep the game tied. First batter of the inning, Kuo-Chin Yen would ground out to shortstop Hector Martinez for the first out of the inning. Next batter, Teng- Yu Wang would reach on an infield single to start the rally for Chinese Taipei. A few moments later two errors would occur on one play as SS Jyun-Siang Yang would reach base on Colombia 3B Branlyn Jaraba miscue throwing error to second base resulting Ten Wu Wang to advance to third. It would be a disaster for Colombia when first basemen Leandro Emiliani backed up the throw from second in the same play overshot third base which resulted in Ten Wu Wang coming around to score to tie the game at two.
Wei Chieh Lo would be intentionally walked before Colombia would go to their bullpen once again as their defensive woes continued with relief pitcher Jean Herrera entering the game. Jean’s first batter was pinch hitting Catcher Rang Cing Ji as he replaced starter Ping-Sheng Chen. Ran Cing Ji went up to the plate looking to break the tie. Rang sat back and drove a single to left field as Jyun-Siang Yang would come around to score to capture the lead for Chinese Taipei at 3-2. The following batter Ping-Sheng Chen would be hit by a pitch to result in the bases loaded with one out. CF Chen-Tso Tseng would follow after as he reached base from a ground ball fielder’s choice allowing Wei Chieh Lo to score to give Chinese Taipei a 4-2 lead. Next batter, I-Wei Li would look to put more of a cushion on the scoreboard for Chinese Taipei. In the middle of I-Wei Li’s at bat catcher Jair Camargo would over throw third basemen Branlyn Jaraba on a pickoff attempt as Ran Cing Ji came around to score. Chen-Tso Tseng would end up also scoring on Jair Camargo error pickoff attempt since he was breaking for second base during the pickoff attempt to capture a 6-2 lead for Chinese Taipei.
Colombia threatened in the 7th inning with bases loaded and two outs. Chinese Taipei would look to closer Chen Zhuang to prevail for a victory in the first game of the U-23 World Cup. Roger Caraballo dug into the batter’s box, looking for Colombia to have a rally in their bones. Caraballo would reach base on a throwing error from SS Yueh-Ku Lin who just entered the game replacing starting shortstop Jyun-Siang Yang. Next batter, Hector Martinez would reach on a fielder’s choice throwing error from Yueh-Ku Lin once again making it first and second with no outs for Colombia. The following batter Bryan Buelvas would strike out swinging for the first out of the seventh. Catcher Jair Camargo would step to the plate for Colombia looking to stretch Chinese Taipei’s bullpen. Camargo would end up striking out swinging on a 1-2 count for the second out of the inning. 2B Carlos Arroyo would be the following batter as he worked a full count walk to draw a bases loaded scenario with one out to spare for Colombia’s offense. Leandro Emiliani would be the last hope for Colombia. Leandro would end up striking out on three pitches as Chinese Taipei would secure the victory 6-2 over Colombia to start the U-23 WBSC World Cup. Chinese Taipei relief pitcher Yan-Cheng Wang would record the win going 1 2/3 innings pitched, one hit allowed, no earned runs, two strikeouts and one walk. Colombia’s pitching would only have one earned run given up during the game while their defense couldn’t play fundamental baseball. Colombia’s next game will be against South Africa at 10 AM Local time on October 15th in Douliu City. Chinese Taipei would look to advance to 2-0 as they take on Germany at 7:00 PM local time on October 15th in Taichung City during the opening round of the U-23 WBSC World Cup.