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  • 11 / 15 / 2006

Baseball Cup
In a matchup of the tournament's two strongest teams, defending champions Cuba maintained its perfect record on the 5th day of the 16th baseball Intercontinental Cup on Tuesday by beating previously-undefeated Japan, 6-3.

The Cubans took a 4-0 lead into the 5th inning, when Japan scored its first run to cut the lead to 4-1. The Japanese managed two further runs, but Cuba also scored twice for the final result of 6-3. Cuba also out-hit Japan, 16 to 9.

Cuba advanced to 5-0 in the tournament, while Japan, with the first loss, firmly holds second place at 4 wins and 1 loss.

"Although Japan sent an amateur team, their players are extremely strong," baseball analyst Chong Meng-wen said on cable TV channel TVBS.

"As Japan offers good social welfare to amateur players, many Japanese amateur players prefer to stick with amateur teams and not join the professional teams," he said.

Also on Tuesday, Italy defeated the Philippines 9-0, eliminating the Philippines from the semifinals, while Australia beat South Korea 10-9.

Home team Taiwan lost in extra innings to Netherlands, 4-2, in a crucial defeat affecting Taiwan's chances of reaching the semifinals.

The two teams were tied 1-1 - Taiwan getting its score on a home run by Yang Chong-shou - after nine innings. The Dutch then came up with three runs in the top of the 10th inning to take a 4-1 lead, and the home team Taiwan managed a run in the bottom of the 10th for the final 4-2 result.

"By now, it it almost certain that Cuba will take on Japan in the final while the other five teams still need to jostle for their places in the semifinals on Wednesday and Thursday," baseball analyst Chong Meng-wen said.

The preliminaries will last until November 16. The top four teams will move into the semi-finals which start November 17, and the games will end with the awards ceremony on November 19.

The tournament, which runs until November 19, is held at two stadiums in Taichung City, central Taiwan, with the opening and closing ceremonies being held at the newly-built 15,000-seat Intercontinental Stadium.

Standings in the Intercontinental Cup:


Cuba 5 0 Japan 4 1 Netherlands 3 2 Australia 3 2 Taiwan 2 3 Italy 2 3 South Korea 1 4 Philippines 0 5

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