PBW: Czechs lost to Japan and will play for bronze medals

A long awaited game against world’s #1 ranked team took place on Monday at Prague Baseball Week. Czechs were double motivated since winning by more than 2 points would advance them to the finals.

Looking at the starters the game promised to have an interesting pitching duel. Czech started Ondřej Satoria, who surprised Japan at World Baseball Classic. Asian opponent sent int Issei Watanabe, a pitcher known for his swift fastball.

The first inning in front of a sellout crowd at Eagles Park didn’t have any runs scored. This changed an inning later after Riku Kamizoto batted in a run.

Czechs were able to get the first two batters on bases in the third inning, but Issei Watanabe didn’t let it get to him and kept his opponents scoreless. On the other hand, Seiya Watanabe batted in Japan’s second run.

The fourth inning was even more successful for Japan, when the players from the country of the rising sun added 3 runs and forced coaches of the Czech national team to change the pitcher. Tomáš Duffek came for Ondřej Satoria.

The next two innings gave Czech fans reason to celebrate. First, Czech fan club showed a neat choreography. An inning later Czech team scored for the first time, too after a two run homerun from Martin Červenka.

Japan scored two more runs in the bottom half of the sixth inning and were once again leading by 5 runs. This changed in the seventh inning when Filip Kollmann stepped on the mound. Kengo Yanagidate found his swing and sent the ball behind the fence, batting in 2 runs.

Ninth inning brought another runs for the Czech team after defensive errors. Czechs thus wrapped up the game at 3-9.

It is an incredible feeling to pitch against the best team in the world, even though they are university players. But it is still the best team, against which I pitched. And in front of a sold out Eagles Park. Incredible feeling. I got a homerun hit against me, but that’s baseball. We didn’t play badly, but Japanese are just really good. Their pitchers did what they do best. They threw fast and technical pitches and were able to find a way against our batters,” said Filip Kollmann after the game.

After winning 9-3, Japan advanced to the finals where they play Taiwan. Czechs will play at 14:30 against Germany for the bronze medal.

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