PH drops Asian Games baseball opener to Japan
The Philippines was handed a 6-0 defeat by Japan on Sunday as the men’s baseball competitions of the Hangzhou Asian Games got underway at Shaoxing Baseball and Softball Center.
Starter Paolo Macasaet was pulled after retiring just two batters after Japan scored three in the top half of the first inning while the Philippine offense could only produce three hits in their one-sided Group A encounter.
With the loss, the Philippines must beat host China on Monday afternoon at the same venue in hopes of getting a spot in the super round.
China needed just five innings to defeat Laos, 15-0, in the other game of the group.
The Filipino batters have earlier described the match with their Chinese counterparts as the one that will determine their chances of getting past group play.
In 2019, the Philippines defeated China, 1-0, in the preliminary phase of the Asian Baseball Championship in Taiwan.
Macasaet walked three of the first five batters to load the bases before another free pass, this time to Kokei Sasagawa allowed leadoff man Hiroki Nakagawa to score the first run of the game with two outs.
Mar Diarao came in relief of Macasaet, but allowed Kazuya Shimokawa to hit a single to center, driving in Naoya Mochizuki and Masashi Maruyama that put the Philippines behind 3-0.
Diarao stayed for two more innings before veteran lefty Vladimir Eguia produced a solid 3 2/3’s inning, fanning five while giving up two runs that extended Japan’s lead.
The Philippines saw its first eight batters being retired by Japan before Lord de Vera singled with one out in the third.
A chance to score at least the Philippines’ only run came in the fifth when back-to-back singles by Mark Steven Manaig and Luis Escano put runners on first and second base with one out.
But Lord Aragorn de Vera grounded out on an inning-ending double play, and the Philippines couldn’t buy another hit the rest of the way.