Dutch, Chinese Taipei take bats into clash
Pool B showdown to feature plenty of sluggers
TAICHUNG, Taiwan -- When World Baseball Classic first round Pool B host Chinese Taipei encounters the Kingdom of the Netherlands on Sunday, how sluggers from each side perform will be key to the outcome.
The game gets under way at 1:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium. All World Baseball Classic games can be watched live on MLB Network and ESPN Deportes.
Power hitters from each of the two teams contributed significantly to their respective wins Saturday. Chinese Taipei bagged a comfortable 4-1 win against Australia, while the Netherlands secured a 5-0 surprise victory against Korea.
Chinese Taipei's victory came from timely hits from Cheng-Min Peng and Chih-Sheng Lin.
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Peng was responsible for putting his team ahead in the bottom of first with a single that led to a run batted in. He locked in the victory with a single homer in fifth.
Meanwhile, Lin's ground-rule double in the bottom of third drove in a single run and allowed Peng to advance to third and later scored when Szu-Chi Chou grounded out.
Peng currently plays for Taiwanese professional baseball's Brother Elephants, and Chih-Sheng Lin won the domestic league home run title with the Lamigo Monkeys last season. Both power hitters played a key role in Chinese Taipei's landslide wins in the Classic qualifying round in November.
Yao-Lin Wang, a Cubs prospect, is slated to start against the Netherlands.
Manager Chang-Heng Hsieh remained cautious about the upcoming game after the win against Australia.
"The Netherlands has an explosive batting lineup," he said. "We hope that tomorrow we can get more aggressive in our offense" to counter the Dutch team.
The Dutch squad showed off consistent play from its lineup against Korea. Bolstered by several current and former Major Leaguers, it almost certainly will give Chinese Taipei a hard time. Washington Nationals outfielder Roger Bernadina stood out especially, belting two RBIs and scoring once Saturday.
Together with Bernadina, Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons, former Braves All-Star outfielder Andruw Jones and Tokyo Yakult Swallows slugger Wladimir Balentien all contributed to the Kingdom of the Netherland's resounding triumph.
Jones is now playing for Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan's Pacific League. During his 17-year Major League career, he hit 434 home runs and was selected to the All-Star Game five times. Meanwhile, Balentien has been the reigning homer king in Japan's Central League over the past two seasons.
Tom Stuifbergen of Minnesota Twins organization will start for Holland against Chinese Taipei.
Manager Hensley Meulens, who is also the current batting coach for the San Francisco Giants, said while he is very happy to defeat Korea, The Kingdom of the Netherlands will still need to be well-prepared against Taiwan.
"We have to pitch and play good defense again to beat them," Meulens said.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.