Members of Team Taiwan celebrate after winning the U-18 Baseball World Cup Sept. 8 in South Korea. (Courtesy of WBSC)
Team Taiwan is winner of the U-18 World Cup after defeating the U.S. 2-1 in the penultimate match of the tournament organized by Lausanne-based World Baseball Softball Confederation Sept. 8 in South Korea.
Taiwan scored first in the fifth inning with two consecutive hits by third baseman Wang Shun-ho and right fielder Lin Tzu-wei. Another run was added in the eighth on a hit by left fielder Lo Wei-chieh.
Aided by an aggressive defense, including two decisive plays by Lo, starting pitcher Yu Chien and relievers Lin Yu-min and Chen Po-yu restricted the powerful U.S. lineup to two hits in the first eight innings.
The bottom of the ninth proved to be a nail-biter. A fielding error by Taiwan and two singles by the U.S. saw the Americans score a run with two runners on base. But Chen closed out the game after Lin caught a hard-hit ball in the right outfield to make the third out.
The victory, Taiwan’s third following those in 2010 and 1983, was all the more impressive as the country fell 1-8 to the U.S. during the opening round of the series. In addition, the Americans had won four consecutive championships since 2012.
Yu was also named the tournament MVP. In a report published by the WSBC on its website, he said he wished to share the award with his teammates, adding that they all helped him live an unforgettable experience.