It doesn’t come as a surprise that South Korea beat Sweden in their Baseball World Cup Group C game. After all, Sweden is ranked 26th in the world, and Olympic champion South Korea is ranked second.’
The surprise is that the Swedes did as well as they did, going down 5-1 before a home crowd in Sundbyberg.
South Korea quickly scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning, but after that the game was close. Sweden kept the Koreans from scoring again until the sixth inning, when they got two more runs, followed by the single Swedish run in the seventh, a home run by centerfielder Peter Johannessen.
South Korea got one more run in the eighth. Both teams had five hits, the Swedes made two errors (both by catcher Björn Johannessen), the Koreans one.
Sweden’s only chance to survive the group round in the Baseball World Cup was to win the opening game against the Netherlands Antilles. Unfortunately they came up on the short side of 10-8.
Sweden is hosting the Group C tournament at Sundbyberg, outside Stockholm. Besides Sweden and the Netherlands Antilles, the other participants are South Korea and Canada.
Wednesday’s opening game started close, with the Antilles ahead 2-1 going into the 7th inning, and 4-2 as the 9th inning opened. But the visitors scored 6 unearned runs off Swedish closer Niklas Melin in the top of the inning, four in a grand slam home run by Jair Josepha.
With the score 10-2, the game looked over. But the Swedes came back in the bottom of the 9th with 6 more runs, after loading the bases with no outs. The rally climaxed with a three run homer by catcher Björn Johanessen, before the Antilles closed the door.
Sweden might have a chance against Canada in the final game of the tournament, but the chances of beating South Korea seem very very remote, even if the Swedes did manage to hold the Olympic champions to a 3-2 one run loss in a training game before the tournament opened.