World Baseball Classic tournament in Tokyo, match of group B Czech Republic – Japan. From the right, Takumu Nakano from Japan and Jakub Hajtmar from the Czech Republic.
Tokyo – In the second game at the prestigious World Baseball Classic (WBC), the Czech national team lost to the world number one Japanese team after a promising start of 2:10. In a packed Tokyo Dome, the Nationals led 1-0 after two innings, but one of the favorites to win the tournament scored seven runs in the third and fourth innings and his pitchers had 16 strikeouts.
“I'm glad that the boys tried it, they will benefit from it in the future. We got unnecessary points in several innings, but it happens with the best team in the world,” national team coach Pavel Chadim said in a press release.
In Friday's WBC opener, his team defeated China 8-5 after a turnaround in the final innings, thanks to which they are very likely to secure participation in the next WBC in 2026. They still have a chance to fight for the quarter-finals, where the top two teams advance. To do that, they need to beat Korea on Saturday and Australia on Monday. Both matches will start at 4:00 CET.
The baseball players faced one of the world's fastest pitchers at the beginning, but the batsmen were able to hit Roki Sasaki's hard shots at first. In the first inning, the Czechs silenced over 41,000 spectators after Marek Chlup hit a two-run shot from a pitch flying at a speed of 164.2 km/h and, after a bad pitch by the defense, ran for the first run after Martin Červenka's at-bat.
Czech pitcher Ondřej Satoria caused problems for the Japanese with his technical pitches, and the defense also helped him, such as the fish of the first sweeper Martin Mužík. In the second inning, the baseball players got out of an awkward situation, they had the bases loaded, but they didn't let the opponent score. “There's value in leading Japan in the third inning,” Chadim noted.
In the third inning, however, there was a turning point. Satoria did knock out the biggest star Shohei Ohtani with pitches, but then the Japanese ran after the shots for three points. Satoria had to substitute in order to meet the limit of 65 pitches per game, and Lukáš Hlouch did not do well in the fourth inning. He was inaccurate, had four points, and was still making a substitution in the same inning. The Czechs were suddenly losing 1:7.
The second Czech point came in the fifth inning. Vojtěch Menšík and Eric Sogard fired and Červenka “pulled” for Menšík to catch up. Left-handed pitcher Hiroju Miyagi did not allow any more points.
The Czechs made changes in their line-up from the middle of the match, but continued to be a balanced opponent. The defense earned a standing ovation after a double in the sixth inning, and pitcher Tomáš Duffek also did well, going two scoreless innings. It wasn't until Filip Čapka's substitute Šugo Maki hit the game's only home run in the eighth inning. Then the opponent had a full goal, the tenth point came and Jake Rabinowitz stopped the impending rush. The Czechs played all nine innings against the Japanese, which is generally considered a success. “When you lose, you try to classify that match as one of the biggest in your career. But it probably belongs there,” said Chadim.
Before the match, the Japanese held a minute's silence to remember that exactly 12 years ago, the north-east of the country was hit by an earthquake of 9.0 on the Richter scale. It caused a tsunami that killed thousands of people and caused enormous material damage.
World Baseball Classic:
Group B in Tokyo:
Australia – China 12:2 (ended after the 7th inning), Japan – Czech Republic 10:2.
|3.||Czech Republic||2||1< /td>||1||10:15||50|
|4.||Korea< /td>||2||0||2||11:21||0||5.||China||3||0||3||8:28< /td>||0|