Chinese Taipei faces rival in final game

Pair of winless teams set to square off in Tokyo

Chinese Taipei's Hsu Wen-hsiung (right) and coach Lu Ming-Tzu hope to salvage their final game of the Classic on Sunday. (Shizuo Kambayashi/AP)

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TOKYO -- All that remains for Chinese Taipei in the inaugural World Baseball Classic is the opportunity to make their most bitter rivals in sports -- and politics -- feel worse than they do.

The tournament ends for Chinese Taipei and China Sunday when the winless teams collide at the Tokyo Dome.

"We will show a lot of motivation," manager Lin Hua-Wei said after his team dropped a 14-3 decision to Japan on Saturday night and fell to 0-2. "We have the spirits of sportsmen."

A few good pitching arms would help.

There was no immediate word on who the Chinese Taipei starter would be, but there are 14 pitchers on the 30-man roster and eight of them pitched in Saturday's game. Only one of them, right-handed reliever Ying-Feng Tsai, came close to the 65-pitch count limit imposed for the first round.

He threw 44 pitches during a 2 2/3 inning stint, surrendered just one run, and conceivably could pitch again in Sunday's game against China.

The team also could use more offense.

They were shut out on five hits in a 2-0 loss to Korea in the Classic opener and managed seven more in the lopsided loss to Japan. Center fielder Chia-Hsien Hsieh had two of the hits and one of the two RBIs.

Another area that must improve is producing with runners on base. Chinese Taipei was 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position against Japan after going 0-for-9 in their first-game loss to Korea.

"We are not hitting well, but we have faced some good pitchers," Hua-Wei said.

Jim Street is a national reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.