Taipei, July 29 (CNA) Taiwan's university national baseball team will open the 2010 World University Baseball Championship Friday in Tokyo, hoping to win the tournament for the first time in its five appearances at the event.
The team's confidence is high after two wins and one loss in a three-game warm-up series in Taipei July 25-27 against defending champion the United States. The U.S. was 9-0 in the summer prior to the series.
However, Taiwan's manager Yeh Chih-shien refused to be too optimistic. "At the college level, I don't think you can find any team that is better than this U.S. team, which is well-balanced from top to bottom, " he said.
Taiwan is scheduled to meet Canada Friday at the Meiji Jingu Stadium in the opening game. It has never lost to Canada in the tournament, winning 6-4 in 2008 and 15-0 in 2006.
Taiwan has fared well in the past four championships but has never won, finishing fourth in 2002 and 2004, second in 2006 and third in 2008.
The U.S., which is seeking its fourth consecutive title in the championship, and Sri Lanka will meet Taiwan Sunday and Monday, respectively, to round up the preliminary group A.
Bill Kenneberg, the U.S. manager, said his team has found its offensive rhythm later in the series but still has much to improve if it wants a strong performance in Tokyo.
China, South Korea, Cuba and host Japan are placed in a much tougher Group B.
Taiwan beat the U.S. 3-1 and 1-0 in the first two games before dropping the last one 6-3 in the exhibition series. The U.S. pounded amateur Taipei County 9-1 in the fourth and last warm-up game in Taiwan Wednesday. (By Chris Wang) ENDITEM/J