Sunday, March 22, 2009

Japan Ousts U.S. in WBC Semi Final

Japan defeated the United States 9-4 at Dodger Stadium this evening to win the semi-final of the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

The U.S. was leading 2-1 when Japan scored five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to give Japan a 6-2 lead. The gap was closed to 6-4 when the U.S. scored two runs in the top of the 8th inning. However, Japan scored three runs in the bottom of the 8th to make it 9-4. The U.S. hurt its cause with three errors in the game. Admittedly, second baseman Brian Roberts was credited with a tough error but it sparked Japan's five run 4th. A throwing error by third baseman David Wright wasn't costly but an eighth inning error by shortstop Derek Jeter most certainly was as it helped Japan pull away late in the game.

The U.S. certainly did better in this tournament than they did when they finished 8th in 2006. Their comeback victory in the 9th inning against Puerto Rico last Tuesday was one of the highlights of the 2009 WBC.

Tomorrow night, Japan and Korea face off in the WBC Final at Dodger Stadium. They are evenly matched having played each other four times in this year's tournament with both teams each winning two games. In the 2006 WBC, the Koreans defeated the Japanese twice in the early rounds but lost to Japan in the semi-final. Japan, of course, went on to defeat Cuba to win the first WBC title.

This game will grip millions of baseball fans in the Pacific Rim and will only add to an ancient rivalry whose latest machination takes the form of a baseball diamond.

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