On Friday afternoon, the three most critical Super Round games were won by Cuba, Japan, and Mexico.
Cuba and Japan secured their positions in the WBSC Baseball5 World Cup final by playing outstanding Baseball5 on the dramatic opening day of Super Round action on Friday. The final will take place on Saturday.
After a fantastic morning session in which Cuba defeated Tunisia 2-0 (10-1, 11-1), the tournament favorites then went on to defeat Venezuela 2-0 (8-0, 11-0) in the afternoon to keep their perfect record intact in the competition.
Meanwhile, Japan moved into second place after beating Chinese Taipei 2-1 (4-2, 4-6*, 5-4) in a three-match extra inning thriller. This came after Japan defeated Venezuela 2-0 (1-0, 6-1) earlier in the day.
With a 4-0 win-loss record, Cuba is in first place in the Super Round Standings, followed by Japan (3-1), Venezuela (2-2), Chinese Taipei (2-2), Mexico (1-3), and Tunisia (0-4).
Korea defeated Lithuania 2-1 (5-0, 0-2, 6-5) in the placement round, Kenya overcame Hong Kong 2-1 (3-2, 3-5, 7-6) in extra innings, and South Africa defeated France 2-0. (2-0, 6-1).
South Africa (4-0), Kenya (3-1), France (2-2), Korea (2-2), Lithuania (1-3), and Hong Kong are the current leaders in the placement round (0-4).
The WBSC Baseball5 World Cup concludes on Saturday with the last Super Round games in the morning session, followed at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively, by the bronze medal game and the World Championship final.
Cuba 2-0 Venezuela
In what many expected to be a preview of the final, Cuba proved too strong for Venezuela, taking a 6-0 lead after the first inning, with Briandy Molina (both times), Orlando Amador, Chaquira Azpiazu, Eliani Castellanos, and Roivelis Nunez all scoring.
Briandy came home on a misthrow to make it 7-0 after two innings, but things went from bad to worse for Venezuela in the bottom of the fourth when they attempted a triple play and failed on all three attempts, while Pither Giménez suffered an injury and had to be replaced when attempting to tag Amador out at home plate.
The score remained 8-0 till the end of the first match.
It was similar music from Cuba in the second game, with Giménez back in the game, rushing to a 6-0 lead thanks to Amador and Briandy scoring twice in the first inning. Amador and Briandy scored again in the second, along with Nuez, to make it 9-0, before Amador and Briandy put on another display in the third, making it 11-0 and game over.
Japan 2-1 Chinese Taipei
This matchup was practically a semifinal because both sides had a 2-1 win-loss record, with the winner securing a place in the final. The matchup was a rematch of the Asia Cup final, which Chinese Taipei won.
Chinese Taipei’s Yu-Hao Tu got things started in the first inning, but Japan quickly answered with runs from Takuya Shima, Shun Mikami, and Ayako Rokkaku to take a 3-1 lead. Rokkaku scored once more in the second, and Chun Chiu responded to make it 4-2 at the top of the fifth. However, a fantastic catch by Miwa Tanaka ended the inning and the first game at that score.
Similar to the previous match, the second one began as well. Chinese Taipei’s Tu scored first, followed by Mikami’s goal and Ayano Kazuta being put in by Rokkaku to give Japan a 2-1 lead at the end of the first. Takeru Miyanohara scored for Japan in the second to make it 3-1, but Chi-Ting-Hua Shih scored in the top of the fourth to knot the score at 3-3.
Up to the seventh inning’s top, it stayed that way. With Rokkaku playing like a beast in center field, it took two incredible plays from Chiu, Shih, and Tu to give Chinese Taipei the lead 6-3 after Shima came very near to winning the game for Japan in the bottom of the sixth. Chinese Taipei won the second game 6-4 despite a goal from Rokkaku in the seventh.
Chinese Taipei got out to a strong start in the tiebreaker, leading 2-0, but Japan dominated the second period, outscoring Chinese Taipei 5-2 with goals from Kazuta (twice), Shima, Mikami, and Rokkaku. Chiu and Shih scored goals for Chinese Taipei in the fifth to bring the score to 5-4 and make the game exciting, but Japan was able to hang on and secure the crucial victory.
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