World No. 2 France and No. 6 Cuba lead Group B and Group A respectively with two wins from two games after the first day’s play at the WBSC Youth Baseball5 World Cup in Ankara, Türkiye.
Tunisia and Türkiye are also undefeated in Group A with one win apiece while world No. 1 Chinese Taipei also won their only game on Tuesday.
WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari said the opening day of the WBSC Youth Baseball5 World Cup was a “momentous day for the sport of Baseball5” during his Opening Ceremony address. “Following the success of the first Baseball5 World Cup in Mexico last year, I am honoured to welcome you to the very first Youth Baseball5 World Cup. Coming on the back of the inaugural Baseball Champions League in Mexico last week, we are truly in the middle of an exciting time for our sport. Especially for Baseball5, which is enjoying great success all around the world.”
The Türkiye Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports Hamza Yerlikaya said: “Baseball5 not only contributes to the physical and mental development of our young people, but also is a platform where we are proud to represent our country in the international arena. That’s why we’re so honoured to host the Baseball5 Youth World Cup.”
And right from the opening whistle, the first game between Cuba and China put on a great show. Cuba, one of the favourites for the trophy, came out hard and was the first to put the runs on the scoreboard, five to be exact before world No. 26 China struggled to keep in touch with Cuba winning 10-0, 11-1.
France and Mexico, meanwhile, battled out a thrilling 4-1, 5-1 game on field 2.
Game 3 saw 17 runs scored in the first match between Korea and Australia. Korea won it 11-6 before their superior speed sealed the second match 7-0.
Meanwhile Malaysia and Tunisia battled out the closest game of the morning with the Africa No 1 claiming a tough 3-2, 4-1 win.
France claimed their second win of the day by beating Ghana 3-1, 5-0 before Cuba proved too good for Zambia (16-1, 3-0) while China beat Malaysia 5-1, 12-0.
In the afternoon session Mexico and China delivered their first wins of the tournament. Mexico fought hard against Korea in the first match 4-3 before finding their rhythm in the second to win 11-1 while China found it easier against Malaysia with 5-1 and 12-0 wins.
The most thrilling game of the day was between Australia and Chinese Taipei. The Aussies surprised the No. 1 ranked team in the world with a really strong performance in both matches, which went to extra innings, but in the end, Chinese Taipei ended both battles with a walk-off.
An unlucky tag at home plate and an error at first base in the second match proved the difference for Australia, who suffered their second loss of the day, as they put on a great performance against the No. 1 seeds, going down 2-1, 5-4.
“It was tough,” said Chinese Taipei head coach Chao-Huang Lin. “We didn’t show our best today, we have a young team and they wanted to show their skills but didn’t manage to transfer it into the game.’’
The last match of the day was played between home team Türkiye and Zambia in a fantastic performance of skill and agility. The massive crowd provided a superb atmosphere and the teams put on a great show with amazing plays in defence as Turkiye managed to edge the win 9-6 and 9-7 in an extra inning.
Official standings after Day One.