If you’re like me and love to watch this Netherlands team play, Wednesday was the day for you. Not only did they get to play twice (for those of us in the U.S., at least), but they also advanced to the second round.
Netherlands 6, Chinese Taipei 5
Xander Bogaerts: 1-4, 1 R
Didi Gregorius: 3-4, 3 2B, 2 R, 3 RBI
Wladimir Balentien: 4-4, 1 R
Shairon Martin (W): 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K
Chih-Hao Chang: 3-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI
Chih-Hsien Chiang: 2-5, 2 R, 1 E
Hung-Wen Chen (L): 0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB
The Netherlands survived a bit of a scare in this one, as underdog Chinese Taipei stuck around until the very end. In fact, they had a one-run lead heading into the bottom of the eighth. It was in that inning where Bogaerts would get his only hit of the contest. After a double play moved him over to third, Gregorius hit his third double of the day to knock Bogaerts in and tie the game. In the following inning, Netherlands quickly loaded the bases before Jurickson Profar drew a walk-off walk. With their second win of the tournament, Netherlands clinched a spot in the second round along with Israel. Chinese Taipei and Korea are eliminated, but their matchup on Thursday morning will determine who will have to compete in qualifiers for the next WBC.
Japan 4, Australia 1
Seiya Suzuki: 2-3, 1 BB
Sho Nakata: 1-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh: 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI, 2 K
Kodai Senga (W): 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K
Allan de San Miguel: 1-2, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 HBP
Matt Williams (L): 1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Australia kept it against the heavily-favored Japanese team, even taking a 1-0 lead on de San Miguel’s homer in the second inning and holding it until the fifth. Japan would tie it in that frame, and the score remained tied until Nakata’s solo homer gave Japan the lead in the seventh. They tacked on two more in the eighth, and Australia’s lineup just wasn’t up to the task of mounting a late-game comeback. The victory moved Japan to 2-0 in pool play, while this was Australia’s first game.
Israel 4, Netherlands 2
Nate Freiman: 1-2, 1 2B, 2 BB, 1 R, 1 RBI
Ryan Lavarnway: 2-3, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Cody Decker: 1-3
Jason Marquis (W): 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K
Xander Bogaerts: 0-2, 2 BB, 1 RBI
Jurickson Profar: 3-3, 2 2B
Rob Cordemans (L): 1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 1 K
This wasn’t supposed to happen. Wednesday night’s game wasn’t super important, as both teams had already clinched their advancement to the second round, but the winner of this game was to take the pool. Israel got out to an early 3-0 lead and never looked back. The Netherlands squad was just never able to get their bats going against an Israeli pitching staff that essentially used a different pitcher every inning. Both teams will be playing in Tokyo starting on Saturday, but only one will head there with an undefeated record.