Olympic Qualifier Weekend Roundup

South Korea took another step toward qualifying for the 2008 Olympics, improving to 4-0 this weekend with a 14-5 victory over Spain and a 6-1 win against Mexico at the Olympic qualifier in Taiwan.

Day 4 Action

Against Spain, former major leaguer Sun-Woo Kim pitched four shutout innings for South Korea, and his offense staked him to an 8-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth. Kim let up four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning before the bullpen took over. South Korea’s Joo Chan Kim went 4-for-4 and Young Min Ko went 3-for-4 with four RBIs.

Canada handed Taiwan its first loss of the tournament, tying the game in the top of the ninth and then scoring the winning run in the top of the 10th inning for the 6-5 victory.

Australia’s up-and-down tournament continued with a 7-4 loss to Mexico. After losing to South Korea 16-2, Australia bounced back with a 10-5 victory over Canada but could not withstand three runs from Mexico in the eighth inning and one more in the ninth. Red Sox lefthander Adam Blackley got the start for Australia. Blackley struck out nine in five innings without allowin a walk, surrendering three runs (two earned) before Twins righthander Liam Hendriks came on in relief. Hendricks tossed two scoreless innings, but Mexico scored two runs off Rockies lefthander Adam Bright (who left without recording an out) and two more against Tigers righthander Brendan Wise.

Germany squeaked by winless South Africa 4-3.

Day 3 Action

Australia bounced back from its 16-2 loss to South Korea by beating Canada 10-5. Twins third baseman Daniel Berg went 3-for-5 with a triple and Glenn Williams added three more hits for Australia. For Canada, Astros farmhand Jimmy Van Ostrand went 2-for-3 with a home run. Indians outfielder Nick Weglarz got a hit in his only at-bat, and Mariners outfielder Mike Saunders went hitless in five at-bats in the middle of Canada’s lineup. Righthander Brooks McNiven started for Canada, lasting three innings and allowing two runs. Braves righthander Jamie Richmond was the first reliever out of the Canadian bullpen and he allowed four runs in four innings.

Taiwan edged Germany 2-0. Red Sox outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin went 1-for-4 with a stolen base. Speaking of Lin, check out this video of Lin’s diving catch in the ninth inning from Taiwan’s 6-1 victory over Mexico (thanks to BA reader Ed for the tip).

South Africa righthander Barry Armitage threw a complete game but his team fell 2-1 to Spain. Second baseman Dan Sanchez Reyes, the No. 9 hitter in Spain’s lineup, went 2-for-3 with a triple, a double and a stolen base.

South Korea beat Mexico 6-1. South Korea starter Kwang Hyun Kim allowed one run in six innings and scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth against Alvarez Ramirez, who left the game without recording an out after relieving starter Escalante Silva.

The final Olympic qualifier is a round-robin tournament in which the top three teams will advance to the 2008 Beijing Games in August. The United States, Cuba, China, Japan and the Netherlands have already qualified for the Olympics.

South Korea 4-0 Germany, Canada, Taiwan
Canada 3-1 Spain, South Korea, Germany
Taiwan 3-1 Australia, South Africa, South Korea
Australia 2-2 Taiwan, Spain, South Africa
Germany 2-2 South Korea, Mexico, Canada
Mexico 1-3 South Africa, Germany, Spain
Spain 1-3 Canada, Australia, Mexico
South Africa 0-4 Mexico, Taiwan, South Korea

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE (Taiwan local date and time)

Wednesday, March 12: South Korea vs. Germany, Canada vs. Spain, Mexico vs. South Africa, Taiwan vs. Australia

Thursday, March 13: Australia vs. Spain, Germany vs. Mexico, Canada vs. South Korea, South Africa vs. Taiwan

Friday, March 14: Spain vs. Mexico, South Africa vs. Australia, Taiwan vs. South Korea, Canada vs. Germany