SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT – Maracaibo, Venezuela catcher Omar Villalobos had the only hard hit off of Chinese Taipei pitcher Chao-Min Wang, so when Villalobos came up to hit with the winning run on second and first base open with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, it was a no brainer to issue Villalobos an intentional walk.
“I wasn’t that disappointed (when I got walked),” Villalobos said. “I knew the next guy would get a hit.”
Miguel Romero proved his teammate right, lining a double to right field to plate the winning run in Latin America’s 2-1 win over Asia-Pacific at Volunteer Stadium.
“I knew it was my chance to shine,” Romero said of his game-winning hit. “I just had to show what I had.”
Romero’s hit ruined a pitchers’ duel between Wang and Ronny Mejias. Wang struck 10 and walked four, while Mejias took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, before being pulled because of the 75-pitch count.
“I had no doubt in my teammates (when I had to leave the pitching mound),” Mejias said. “I had faith in them.”
The game was tied at 1-1 entering the bottom of the sixth inning. With one out, Chavez singled. He went to second on a fielder’s choice. The Asia-Pacific Region champions then elected to intentionally walk catcher Omar Villalobos. Romero then lined a pitch over the right fielder’s head to drive home Chavez with the winning run.
Latin America (1-0) scored a run in the bottom of the second inning. Catcher Omar Villalobos hit a ground-rule double. He went to third on a wild pitch. Sergio Gonzalez then pinch ran for Villalobos. Gonzalez later scored on another wild pitch.
Chinese Taipei tied the game in the top of the fifth inning. Jen-Chieh Liu singled to start the inning, the first hit off Ronny Mejias. Mejias got the next hitter to strikeout before being lifted because of the 85-pitch limit. After the second out of the inning, Kai-Ying Chen singled home Liu to tie the game at 1-1.
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