Cuba Survives, Japan wins

August 14th, 2008

At the evening games of Olympic Baseball Second Day, Cuba defeat Canada 7-6 despite less hits, and Chinese Taipei once tie with Japan but failed at the 9 inning and got an 1-6 lost.

Game 7: Game Summary(Box Score)

Team   1 2 3  4 5 6  7 8 9  R  H  E LOB
Canada 0 0 2  1 0 2  0 1 0   6  9  2  7
Cuba   0 3 0  0 0 4  0 0 X   7  5  2  5

From Bob Duff of Canwest News Service:

As Yogi Berra might say, it was deja vu all over again for Canada’s Olympic baseball team.

Here they were, late in the game, holding a two-run advantage over Cuba, positioned to deliver the upset.

Then the Cubans upset those plans.

Two-run homers by Alexander Malleta and Alfredo Despaigne in the sixth inning erased a 5-3 Canadian lead, powering Cuba (2-0) to a 7-6 victory over Canada (1-1) on the second day of the Olympic tournament.

So close, but once again, no Cuban cigar.

“We know when we come out here, we’re in a game,” said Canadian second baseman Stubby Clapp of Windsor, Ont. “You can’t let up on them. They always come back.”
Usually, to haunt the Canadians.

“This is the type of game of we play every time,” Clapp said. “We’re just one hit away, one swing away from winning the game.”

The outcome was starkly familiar to the semifinal of the Olympic baseball tournament four years ago in Athens. In that game, Canada carried a 3-2 lead into the eighth inning before the Cubans exploded for six runs, then held on for an 8-5 triumph.

Emotionally devastated, Canada performed dismally in an 11-2 loss to Japan in the bronze-medal game.

While disappointing, at this stage of the tournament, this setback shouldn’t set Canada back in similar fashion.

“It’s better to lose a game like this early in the tournament than later on when you can’t do anything about it,” said Canadian manager Terry Puhl, a native of Melville, Sask.

“That’s the best part,” added Clapp. “We got it over now.

“It’s our turn next.”

Two games into the tournament, the Canadians have displayed plenty of power. Outfielder Mike Saunders of Victoria has homered in both games, while outfielder Nick Weglarz of Stephensville, Ont., clouted two homers against the Cubans.

After Cuba grabbed a 3-0 lead in the second inning, Weglarz completed a Canadian rally, tying the score at 3-3 when he hit a solo shot to lead off the fourth inning, a long homer that banked off one of the flagpoles in centre field. His two-run bomb in the sixth gave Canada a 5-3 advantage.

“On the first one, I was looking for my pitch and I got it,” Weglarz said. “The one I hit to right field, I was just trying to get the runner over.

“We’ve got a lot of power on this team. We’re a good hitting team.”

While they’ve displayed a propensity for the long ball, the Canadians’ ability to come up with the timely hit spelled their demise against the Cubans, stranding five runners in scoring position.

“That’s baseball,” Weglarz said. “You can’t always execute.”

The Cuban game was the beginning of a gauntlet of baseball powers for Canada in this tournament. The Canadians play South Korea (1-0) on Friday. The Korean game against China on Thursday morning was halted by rain and will be resumed Sunday.

Following that, it’s showdown with the United States (1-1) on Saturday, then after an off day, a showdown with Japan (1-1) on Monday.

The top four teams in the eight-team tournament through round-robin play advance to the medal round.

“Yes, this is one we let get away,” Puhl said of the loss to the Cubans. “But if we continue to play with this kind of intensity, we’re going to be in the medal round.”

Game 8: Game Summary(Box Score)

Team            1 2 3  4 5 6  7 8 9   R  H  E LOB
Japan           0 0 0  0 1 1  0 0 4   6  9  1  8
Chinese Taipei  0 0 0  1 0 0  0 0 0   1  4  0  3

From China post:

Taiwan’s baseball team was defeated by Japan 1-5 in a long 9-inning battle at the Beijing Olympic Games.

The Taiwanese team was rated an underdog versus the strong Japanese team for the evening game, but the players managed to take an early 1-0 lead over Japan at the end of the 4th inning while pitcher Hsu Wen-hsiung successfully held the Japanese scoreless.

Hsu was relieved by left-hand pitcher Ni Fu-teh at the end of the 5th inning after a solo homerun by the Japanese catcher to tie the game 1-1.

After a Japanese player reached 2nd base, Ni was replaced by the third pitcher Chang Chih-chia.

Chang struck out a Japanese batter, but was unable to stem the next hitter who allowed Japan to take the lead 2-1 in the 6th inning.

Both teams were unable to score in the 7th inning. However, the Japanese team widened its lead to 6-1 to wrap up the intense competition.

This was the first defeat for the Chinese Taipei team after they blanked the Netherlands in a 5-0 victory Wednesday that also saw Cuba beat Japan 4-2.

The Taiwanese players are scheduled to take on the Chinese baseball team at 10:00 a.m. in Beijing today.

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