Uni Lions II 3-7 Lamigo Monkeys II – Last chance

Since my trip to Pingtung around a month ago, I knew I had to make the effort to get down to the Li De Baseball Stadium in central Kaohsiung.

Now on my trip to EDA Rhinos 8-9 Uni Lions in June, I had passed the Li De Stadium on my way around Kaohsiung City that morning.

At the time I hadn’t a clue how to find the second team fixtures for the CPBL and it was only on clicking the II button in the fixtures that I found them. Anyway, I went down to Pingtung in July and since then, Lions first team games have worked against me. The Lions first team have played in Kaohsiung, played two weekends in Tainan and then last weekend, Li De Stadium wasn’t being used.

It turned out that this fixture, on 21st August was my last chance to see Uni Lions II play at Li De this season. Unfortunately I had a mix up with weekends, and it was only after getting home from a day-out with my girlfriend on Saturday, that I realised, it was the game was ‘this’ Sunday.

It didn’t require any pre-planning, except checking train and bus times, even then I had a rough idea of what I was doing. No alcohol consumed on Saturday and I set my alarm for 8:30. I was going to see off at 9:10 but got talking to my girlfriend and worked out, it was far too early anyway.

I left my apartment at 9:40 and was on the 9:50 bus into central Tainan. Sunday morning traffic was light and I managed to get my iPass topped up and bought a quick drink before the 10:28 train down to Kaohsiung.

Into Kaohsiung and I went out the front entrance of the station, right and left into Tongai Street. Now instead of strolling along the canal, I continued down to Qixian 2nd Road and went right before turning left into Chenggong 1st Road and right into Wangsheng Street, where the ground appeared across the next set of crossroads.

Located in Cianjin District, part of downtown Kaohsiung it was a true inner city venue. It was a venue that has a lot of history but the stadium that sat before my eyes was a shadow of its former self.  If you go on Google Images, you may find pictures like this but it has been scaled back in recent years.

It had been the main stadium in Kaohsiung having being built in the Japanese colonial era but since the opening of the 20,000 seater Chengcing Lake Stadium in 1999,  it’s no longer the main venue in the city.

I popped into the supermarket opposite before taking a circuit around on what was a very hot afternoon. No outfield stands exist, and instead, there is just a path above the outfield fence. As a result of the lack of enclosure to the ground, it is now unable to host professional matches.

The two stands that remain on the infield sides have netting right in front of them but there are seats on the concrete steps. I walked back to the corner where I started, and tried to find an entrance to the spectator stands.

Down passageways marked as ‘toilet’ either side of the building behind the home plate, I found the entrances to the stands with no through passage between them inside. The view I found, looked shocking at best. On the right side, there was 3/4 rows, but then the team dug-outs obscured the view to the right. Above the dug-outs was a single row of seats set back and to the right, were several blocks of 4-5 rows of seats, which had their views obscured by the netting and dug-out.

I decided to take a few pictures before leaving, and taking a spot in the stand to the left, where it appeared a few Lions supporters had congregated.

The view in the other stand was not much better, the net, the dug-out but I eventually settled on a seat in the third row, to the right of the dug-out. It was now 12:20 and I had a bit of time still to waste, as I had first arrived at the stadium just before 12. The match eventually got underway at 12:35 on a hot, sunny Kaohsiung afternoon.

The game started off fine, the Lions took an early lead. A triple was turned into the opening run after a grounding out at 1st, 1-0. The Lamigos could only reply with a double but from there on, they dominated proceedings.

A home run leveled the scores before 3 singles were turned into two more runs, 3-1 Lamigos. A huge throw to the home plate denied a further run, with the man on 3rd looking to get home after a catch in left field. A second home run followed in the bottom of the 3rd and it was followed by 2 blank innings with the score Lamigos 4-1 Lions.

There was healthy support for the Lamigos II, provided by Lamigo Monkeys fans, little did I know that the first team’s 1:05pm game v EDA Rhinos in Pingtung had been cancelled. It did help boost numbers, as there’d been a tiny crowd, the last time I’d seen the II teams meet in Pingtung. Their second team played well and restricted the Lions to just 2 hits in the opening 6. A couple more singles from them in the 6th, and it was now 5-1.

Into the 7th, and a scoreless inning as the game appeared to be fading out but it perked up again in the 8th. Liu Yu Chen’s two run homer made it 5-3, and with 0 outs, the Lions looked to have half a chance of recovering the game. Sadly 3 very quick outs ended it, and Lamigos restored their 2 run lead in the bottom of the 8th. A double, an RBI double and a single made it 7-3 before the Lamigos 2nd team wrapped it up, giving away just a hit in the top of the 9th.

I left and my intention was to get back to Kaohsiung station, and decide where to go from there. If the first train departing was going to Tainan, I was going home and if the first train departing was going to Pingtung, I was going there.

I got back at 1545, and the next two trains north were headed for Xinzuoying. The next train south was at 1603 and the next train home was 1608, to Pingtung it was…

The signs didn’t look good on the train to Pingtung with lots of water in the fields after leaving Kaohsiung City. I got off the train in sunshine but had an unusually bad feeling and after walking 15 minutes to the stadium, quickly realised I’d wasted my time. The game was clearly not going ahead, and a quick check on my phone’s wi-fi revealed it wasn’t, due to a soft outfield.

It was a shame because it was due to be Orlando Roman v Mike Loree, one hell of a CPBL pitching battle. That was what had incited me into the trip, and I was pretty gutted it was off but it meant I’d be home fairly early.

I walked back to the station and took the 1708 train to Tainan. On an alcohol free weekend, I went to sleep instead only to be woken around Qiaotou by a man wanting to practice his English. I actually enjoyed talking to him, his English was good and he was interested to know why my English was so different to others in England. He quickly understood when I explained accents and it was a feel good moment. He got off at Gangshan and the rest of the trip back went by pretty quickly.

Back into Tainan station for 1840 and I was on a bus at 1850, only for the driver to sit at the lights for 10 minutes and not go anywhere. Home by 1935 and despite seeing just 1 game, it had been a useful day out. It was also the 499th place I had seen sport being played at.

Next trip? I’m not sure. I’m hoping to get my 500th sports ground in at some point before the end of the year, where? I don’t know.

Until my CPBL weekly round-up from next week, bye for now.

Tom

 

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CPBL weekly round-up

It’s Tuesday so it’s time for another CPBL weekly round-up, which is a little shorter than usual due to adverse weather conditions. Here is a reminder of how the table looked at this point last week:

1) Lamigo Monkeys – 15-11

2) Uni Lions – 14-13

3) EDA Rhinos – 12-13

4) Chinatrust Brothers – 10-14

On Tuesday, Uni Lions picked up their 5th win in 6 games as they beat Lamigo Monkeys 8-4 in Chiayi. The Lions scored regularly as Monkeys starter Efrain Nieves had a bad night, he lasted just 3.1 innings giving away 4H, 5R and 6BBs. He couldn’t seem to find the right spot to pitch, in contrast Lions starter Liao Wen Yang gave away 5H, 3R, 5BB in his 6.1 innings on the mound. It was comfortable win in the end for the Lions.

On Wednesday, EDA Rhinos thrashed Chinatrust Brothers 10-2 to keep up the pressure on the top two. They scored 6 in the 3rd and 4 in the 6th to take an easy win as Brothers managed just 2 hits all night.

On Thursday, Lamigo Monkeys v Uni Lions in Douliu was cancelled due to rain but Brothers v Rhinos did go ahead in Hsinchu. Brothers Nate Long gave away just 5 hits and a single run off 8 innings whilst Rhinos starter, Tsai Ming Jin gave away 11H and 5R as he lasted just 3.1. Brothers had 18 hits but managed just 6 runs in the end, as they ran out 6-2 winners.

Onto the weekend series between Lamigo Monkeys and EDA Rhinos in Pingtung and unfortunately no play was possible on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. They may have been glorious sunshine in southern Taiwan but the Pingtung area was hit by rain over the weekend. Despite better conditions on Sunday, a soft outfield, ultimately meant no play was possible. Pingtung will not now see a professional fixture this season and some have blamed maintenance issues on social media.

On Friday, Brothers v Uni Lions went ahead in Hsinchu and the Lions inflicted Brothers starter Cheng Kai Wen’s third loss in a row. Despite a slow start, the Lions scored twice in the 3rd, 6th and 7th and 3 times in the 4th as cruised to a 9-5 victory. Lions Cheng Kai Wen broke the league record for most home runs by a rookie, as he hit his 19th of the season so well done to him.

Onto Saturday and Brothers leveled the mini series at 1-1 as the edged past the Lions 5-4 in New Taipei. The lead had swapped 3 times and it looked as if Brothers were headed for a 4-3 victory until the Lions leveled the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the 9th. Unfortunately Lions closer Lin Zi Wei gave away what turned out to be the winning run in the top of the 9th, the Lions unable to level in the bottom of the 9th and so lost 5-4.

On Sunday and Brothers took an easy 7-2 victory to take the mini series 2-1 and pick up their 3rd win of the week.

This is how the table looks after this week’s limited action.

1) Lamigo Monkeys – 15-12

2) Uni Lions – 16-15

3) EDA Rhinos – 13-14

4) Chinatrust Brothers – 13-16

Not a great deal has changed but the winning percentage of Uni Lions is 0.495 and that of Lamigo Monkeys is 0.494. It is going to be a very interesting battle between those two to see who take a place in the play offs at the end of the season.

Here are the week’s fixtures.

Lamigo Monkeys v Chinatrust Brothers – On Tuesday in Chiayi and on Thursday in Hsinchu

EDA Rhinos v Uni Lions – On Wednesday/Thursday in Tainan

EDA Rhinos v Chinatrust Brothers – On Friday/Saturday/Sunday in New Taipei

Uni Lions v Lamigo Monkeys – On Friday/Saturday/Sunday in Taoyuan

The weekend series between Uni Lions and Lamigo Monkeys is the one to keep an eye on, it is the last weekend series between the two in Taoyuan this season.

I will bring you a report from Uni Lions II v Lamigo Monkeys II which took place on Sunday, later today.

Tom

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CPBL weekly round-up

It’s time for another CPBL weekly round-up and it’s a second phase of the season that continues to fascinate. Here is a reminder of the table looked at this point last week.

1 ) Lamigo Monkeys 12-9

2 ) EDA Rhinos 11-9

3 ) Uni Lions 10-12

4 ) Chinatrust Brothers 8-11

On Tuesday night, Uni Lions ended a 4 match losing streak as they survived a late EDA Rhinos comeback to win in New Taipei. The match started as a run-fest with the Rhinos leading 4-1 after 1 inning. Uni Lions fought back, hitting 7 unanswered runs in the 2nd with Lo Kuo Long hitting a grand slam. The Lions added 3 more in the third to go 10-4 ahead.

In spite of leading 13-5 going into the 8th, it was a close run game. The Lions added a further run to go 14-5 ahead but then conceded 3 in the 8th and 4 in the bottom of the 9th, the game ending 14-12.

On Wednesday night Lamigo Monkeys strengthened their grip on top spot with a 12-3 with over Brothers in Taichung but fell to defeat to the same opponents on Thursday. Starter Wang I Cheng had a shocker with the ball, giving up 9H, 8R over 1.1 innings as the Brothers cruised ahead 8-0 after 2.

Lamigos fought back and it was 8-6 going into the bottom of the 7th. Brothers hit 5 runs to go 13-6 ahead. Lamigos continued to push with the bat, pulling 3 back in the top of the 8th to make it 13-9 but then conceded 2 in the bottom of the 8th, two more Lamigos runs followed in the top of the 9th but they went down to a 15-11 defeat.

Elsewhere on Thursday  Uni Lions completed a 2-0 midweek series win over EDA Rhinos in a closely fought match in New Taipei. The Lions took an early 5-0 lead partly thanks to a Chen Yung Chi grand slam but were pegged back to 5-5 by the bottom of the 5th. Su Zhe Jie added a 3 run homer to put the Lions 8-5 ahead before a consolation run to make it 8-6 in the bottom of the 9th.

On Friday night, UNi Lions v Chinatrust Brothers was postponed due to rain but EDA Rhinos v Lamigo Monkeys went ahead in Taoyuan. It was a thrilling start, with the score 3-3 after an inning. EDA took a 7-3 lead after 3 and lead 9-4 after 4. Into the 8th and the Rhinos made it 10-4 before conceding 5 runs to leave the game hanging in the balance at 10-9. No further runs followed as EDA Rhinos sneaked away with the win.

On Saturday, the rearranged game between Uni Lions v Chinatrust Brothers was postponed but the scheduled 5:05 fixture did take place and it was one of the games of the season. Lion’s starter Darin Downs had a poor start, conceding 8 runs over 2.1 innings and it looked early on as if the writing was on the wall for the Lions.

They pulled it  back to 8-6 in the top of the 3rd but conceded runs in the bottm of the 3rd and 4th to trail 10-6. Incredibly the game was leveled at 10-10 in the top of the 5th but the sides exchanged runs to leave it 11-11 after, and after the 7th was scoreless, it was 11-11 going in the 8th. Uni Lions went ahead to complete a crazy comeback from 8-0 down to go 13-11 ahead.

The 9th inning saw the Lions add a 14th run and Chen Yun Wen was given the job of getting rid of 3 Brothers hitters, without conceding 3 or more runs. At bases loaded with 0 outs, the situation looked dire for the Lions and Brothers added 2 runs to make it 14-13. He eventually held his nerve and the Lions came away with a 14-13 win in a 39 hit game.

In Taoyuan, it was a pitching battle between Rhinos Scott Richmond and Lamigos Mitchell Talbot. Talbot came out on top, as Lamigo Monkeys took a 2-1 win. It was a cruel loss for Richmond and the Rhinos as both runs were unearned.

Into Sunday and there was a double header in Taichung as Friday’s game between Uni Lions and Chinatrust Brothers went ahead. A largely changed Brothers line-up took the first game at 1:05 fairly easily. Brothers went 7-0 ahead before Uni Lions grabbed two runs in the 7th, only to concede 1 more in the 8th. The Lions managed just 4 hits in an 8-2 defeat.

It was better in the following game though, as the Lions took their 4th win of the week. The game was dominated by 6 Lions runs in the 3rd when the game was 1-1, Brothers starter Wang Tzu-An giving up 9 hits and 7 runs over 2.2 innings and it was fatal for the home side. Lions Dustin Crenshaw gave up just 7 hits and 3 runs in 7 innings and the Lions lead 8-3 going into the bottom of the 9th.

Brothers had pulled it back to 8-5 with 0 outs before Chen Yun Wen got his 4th save of the season. He conceded one more run but the Lions took an 8-6 win and the mini series 2-1.

In Taoyuan, league leaders Lamigo Monkeys eased to victory over an EDA Rhinos side that managed just 3 hits all game. Lamigos lead 6-0 after an inning and won 11-0 in the end, Lamigos Lin Chih Ping hitting 2 home runs a 3 hit, 3 run game.

This is how the table looks after the week’s play

1) Lamigo Monkeys – 15-11

2) Uni Lions – 14-13

3) EDA Rhinos – 12-13

4) Chinatrust Brothers – 10-14

It’s all eyes on Lamigo Monkeys who lead the second phase and are ahead in percentage terms of Uni Lions/EDA Rhinos in the race for the play off spot. They have won 50% of their games this year, the Lions just behind with a 49.4% record and the Rhinos are on 45.4% with just under a third of the season to go.

Uni Lions record v Lamigo Monkeys has been poor in the second half of the season. They have picked up just 2 wins from 10 and that could prove costly come the end of the season. That said Lamigo Monkeys are looking very dangerous with bat and ball. They have a strong pitching attack and it’s my view, that they will go onto win the second phase.

I’m already beginning to get the impression, the writing is on the wall. I don’t think the Lions have quite enough to compete and that has been proved in head to head games. EDA Rhinos are going to need to be consistent and win the second phase, if they want to be playing in the play offs at the end of the season. I don’t think they’ve quite got enough with the bat.

Brothers continue to sit bottom in the second phase but having won the first phase, they don’t really have to do a great deal in the second phase. They’ve looked a shadow of the side they did in the first phase, but bizarrely, their form has totally reversed. They had a 7-2-11 record v Lamigos in the first phase, that’s now 6-2 in their favour. Their record v EDA Rhinos was 15-5 and is now 2-6 in the second. phase. Their record v the Lions was 13-7 and is now 2-5. It seems quite weird to me.

Anyway’s lets look ahead to the fixtures this week and here they are…

Lamigo Monkeys v Uni Lions – On Tuesday in Chiayi, on Thursday in Douliu

Chinatrust Brothers v EDA Rhinos – On Wednesday/Thursday in Hsinchu

Lamigo Monkeys V EDA Rhinos – On Friday/Saturday/Sunday in Pingtung

Chinatrust Brothers v Uni Lions – On Friday in Hsinchu, Saturday/Saturday in New Taipei.

Another cracking set of fixtures which will take the second phase to the halfway stage, all weather permitting as ever.

That’s all for now.

Tom

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CPBL weekly round-up

It’s that time of the week and time for another CPBL weekly round-up after another fascinating week of action.

This is how the table looked at this time last week…

1 ) EDA Rhinos – 9-7

2 ) Uni Lions – 9-8

3 ) Lamigo Monkeys – 8-9

4 ) Chinatrust Brothers – 6-8

Tuesday’s game between Lamigo Monkeys and EDA Rhinos was postponed due to heavy rain in Hsinchu but Thursday’s fixture did go ahead at the same venue. It was an entertaining game with the Rhinos leading 3-2 after 1 inning, a scoreless 2nd was followed by 3 runs to 2 to Lamigos in the 3rd. In the 4th, the Lamigos stormed ahead 8-6, only for the Rhinos to score 5 runs without replay in the 5th.

In the 6th, the Lamigos did the same thing back and went 13-11 ahead, sealing the victory with a run in the top of the 9th, final score, Lamigos 14 Rhinos 11.

Both of Chinatrust Brothers v Uni Lions games went ahead and they produced very different games. On Wednesday, the Lions scored regularly as they eased to an 8-2 victory over an out of sorts Brothers who didn’t look all that dangerous with the bat. On Thursday, Brothers ran out 8-3 victory but that was thanks to a 7 run 3rd inning. Brothers ace Lin Chih Sheng managed just a single hit in the two games. The pair of results left Brothers adrift at the bottom ahead of the weekend games.

On Friday night, Lamigo Monkeys edged out the Lions in what turned out to be the first of three wins in Tainan for them. Uni Lions found themselves 6-2 after 4 innings and despite 2 runs in the 5th, 7th and 8th, fell to a 9-8 defeat. Elsewhere in New Taipei, EDA Rhinos made a incredible comeback as they beat Chinatrust Brothers 12-10. Brothers led 8-2 after 5, but then conceded 3 in the 6th and 7 in the 7th, to go 12-10 down. They managed to pull 2 back in the top of the 9th but it wasn’t enough.

Onto Saturday and Mitchell Talbot got his first win as Lamigo Monkeys cruised to victory over Uni Lions. It was 1-1 after 3 but the Lions conceded a pair of 2 run homers to go 5-1 ahead, eventually taking the game 8-2. Talbot gave away 8 hits and 1 run over 7.2 innings, striking out 7 in a superb MVP performance.

In New Taipei, Brothers left it late but took revenge on EDA Rhinos for Friday’s comeback defeat. In a game that was 2-1 Brothers after 5, they took control scoring 2 in the 6th, and 3 in both the 7th and 8th as they took a 10-3 victory. Rhinos pitcher Mike Loree took his 10th loss of the season despite conceding 4 runs and 10 hits. Once again it seemed Rhinos frailties with the bat, meant their star pitcher took the loss despite not giving away much.

Onto Sunday and Lamigo Monkeys put in another superb pitching display to take a 3-0 mini series win over Uni Lions. Orlando Roman went 6 innings without conceding as the Lamigos lead 4-0 before Chang Jie Xian’s 3 run homer put the Lions right back in the game. A run in the top of the 8th after 2 walks and a hit made it 5-3 Lamigos and the Lions could not come back in a game that saw 23 strike outs.

Chinatrust Brothers went down to another defeat to EDA Rhinos, the Rhinos scored regularly as they recorded a 10-6 victory. The Rhinos now have a 6-2 record v Chinatrust Brothers in the second phase, after recording just 6 wins in the 20 of the first phase against the same team.

The table now looks like this

1 ) Lamigo Monkeys 12-9

2 ) EDA Rhinos 11-9

3 ) Uni Lions 10-12

4 ) Chinatrust Brothers 8-11

Things are not going well for either of the bottom two sides. Uni Lions have gone on the slide since their 6 game winning streak and have now won just 2 of their last 9 games and are now on a 4 match losing streak. Chinatrust Brothers are struggling with the bat and ball, despite being the strongest offensive side in the first phase. They are failing to convert hits into runs but are only a good run of form away from being back near the top.

Lamigo Monkeys are now on a 5 game winning streak as they moved up from 3rd to 1st. Their pitching is looking good and in Wang Po Jung, they have the league strongest hitter with average of 0.412 after 79 games, he averages a remarkable 0.454 against Chinatrust Brothers over 38 games with is nothing short of ridiculous.

EDA Rhinos are still hovering around the top and it is going to be worth keeping an eye on them.

Here are the fixtures for the week ahead:

Uni Lions v EDA Rhinos – In New Taipei on Tuesday/Thursday

Lamigo Monkeys v Chinatrust Brothers – In Taichung on Wednesday/Thursday

EDA Rhinos v Lamigo Monkeys – In Taoyuan on Friday/Saturday/Sunday

Uni Lions v Chinatrust Brothers – In Taichung on Friday/Saturday/Sunday

Short reports on Uni Lions games from the weekend will follow some time in the next day or two.

Tom

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Uni Lions 8-2 Chinatrust Brothers – 03/08/16 – Midweek madness

If there is ever going to be a game of baseball in Tainan that I can get to, I will always make the effort and this was no exception. I got up at 8am for work and decided, well, why not? I knew it was going to be a long day but tried to forget about that as I walked to work.

Work went well, a two hour class from 10 till 12, lunch and lots of prepping for the afternoon followed by classes at 2 and 4:30. I didn’t hang around and left in uniform just gone 6, knowing I needed to get a move on to make the 6:35 start.

I got to the stadium at 6:32, and then found myself queuing for a ticket and by the time I got inside, and to my usual spot on the back row, it was 6:40. I’d missed one out but that was about it. I knew it was going to be a tough game for the Lions, and when Brothers made 3 hits in the first and the Lions overthrew to 1st to give away the 1st run, I got worried. I started to get the impression it was going to be one of those nights, however, just a single run was conceded and the pressure was off.

The Lions responded well, and Tang Chao Ting hit a shot through to centre field, expecting a single but Brothers overthrew it, and a simple single was a triple. Lo Kuo Long then sacrificed to centre field and it was 1-1, before Pan Wu Hsiang came in and hit an enormous home run into the 2nd tier to make it 2-1 Lions with 1 out. No further runs followed and I was pretty happy.

I was even more happy when Brothers 2nd inning lasted 4 minutes and Su Chih Jie hit a double, before Tang Chao Ting’s second hit of the night got Su Chih Jie home, 3-1 Lions.

Brothers pulled it back to 3-2 in the top of the 3rd and it was turning into a really entertaining game, plenty of hits and suddenly the score wasn’t really relevant. The Lions restored their 2 run lead in the bottom of the 4th after Brothers 4th inning lasted under 3 minutes. It looked to be all over, with 2 outs but Kao Chih Kang walked and Chen Jie Xian hit a shot down the right field line, to get a double and Kao Chih Kang home, 4-2.

Brothers 5th was another very short one, two great catches by the Lions Lo Kuo Long and Kao Kuo Ching ending it within 6 minutes. 4-2 became 5-2 as Pan Wu Hsiang and Chen Yung Chi made hits and I began to get the impression the game was slipping away from Brothers.

Their 6th lasted 4 minutes with 3 catches in centre field, Chen Jie Xian then made a double and Tang Chao Ting made a single but the Lions couldn’t increase their lead. Into the 7th and with bases loaded, Brothers looked to be in a promising position especially when Jiang Chen-yan came on. I feared the worst but he got rid of two and Jiang Cheng Fang and had no 2 caught in centre field to end the inning.

The Lions continued to increase their lead in the 7th, Pan Wu Hsiang and hit, Kao Kuo Ching walked and Chen Yung Chi hit to get Pan Wu Hsiang home, 6-2. Su Zhi Jie then made a double and it was 7-2 with 1 out. There were hitters on bases 2 and 3, with 1 out but Brothers kept the score at 7, claiming the remaining two outs fairly quickly.

Into the 8th and Brothers inning lasted about 2 minutes before Kao Kuo Ching made a hit to get Lo Kuo Long home for the Lions 8th run.

Brothers went into the 9th needing a miracle and it had looked from the 4th/5th inning on, as if they’d lost the game. They never threatened a come back and it was a meek performance from such a strong team. I didn’t want to stick around for the MVP presentation and got out the ground as quickly as possible. I’d been up since 8am and I decided to walk home, which took about 35 minutes and in rain for much it. The showers a refreshing and welcome change.

I was in by 10:30, exhausted but so happy, I’d put the effort in and the Lions had produced the win.

Pics…

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And my reports from Uni Lions two games v Lamigo Monkeys to follow later.

Tom

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CPBL weekly round-up

It’s the time of the week for another CPBL round-up but before I go any further, here was how the table looked before the start of play last Tuesday.

1) Uni Lions – 7-5

2) Lamigo Monkeys – 6-6

3) EDA Rhinos – 5-6

4) Chinatrust Brothers – 4-5

On Tuesday in Taoyuan, Uni Lions made it 6 wins in a row with 6-1 victory over Lamigo Monkeys. Bruce Billings pitched 6 innings, conceding just a single run and 3 hits to become the first pitcher this season to both strike out 100 players and with 10 games. Unfortunately, the Lions then went onto lose their winning win on Thursday.

Lamigo Monkeys ended the Lions 6 match winning run as they beat them 14-9 in Taoyuan. Lamigos started strongly, going 6-0 ahead after an inning. Uni Lions temporarily got it back to 7-4 but went 14-4 down and despite 5 runs in the 9th, were still 5 short of even forcing the Lamigos to bat again.

In Taichung, EDA Rhinos took their midweek series with Chinatrust Brothers 2-0 with a 9-7 victory on Wednesday and 9-2 victory on Thursday. On Wednesday, the Rhinos came from 7-3 down after 6 and went ahead 8-7 in the top of the 8th, going on to secure the victory with a run in the top of the 9th.

On Thursday, it was a little more comfortable, the Rhinos ran out 9-2 winners as they dominated from start to finish. This left Brothers adrift at the bottom ahead of their weekend series with Lamigo Monkeys.

In Taoyuan, Brothers defeated the Monkeys to go 1 up in the weekend mini series. Brothers started well, going 4-0 up after an inning and were 8-2 ahead after 4. Lamigos pulled three back in the 5th but that was as good as it got, as Brothers added two further runs later in the game to win 10-5.

Things got better for Brothers as they went 2-0 ahead in the mini series. They lead from start to finish, but were only 2-1 up with 4 gone. They added 3 in the 5th, 1 in the 7th and 4 in the 8th to lead 10-1. Lamigos managed to pull three back but were still 6 short of forcing a 10th, final score, 10-4 Brothers.

On Sunday, Orlando Roman got his 8th win of the season as Lamigos ran out easy winners over Brothers. Roman conceded 4 hits and 3 runs in 7 innings, but by the time he conceded his 3 runs in the top of the 8th, his side were 7-0 ahead. Brothers went onto score 5 runs in the 8th but it was the last of the scoring, Lamigos won 7-5.

One thing of significance was the fact Lamigos left fielder, Wang Po Jung now has an average of 4.10 after 75 games, an incredible record for a 22 year old.

In Tainan, EDA Rhinos took their weekend series with Uni Lions 2-1. Friday’s game was quite close. The Lions lead 2-1 after 4 but then conceded 1 in the 5th, 2 in the 6th and 1 in the 7th to fall to a 5-2 defeat. The Lions managed just 6 hits all night as Scott Richmond picked up the win, pitching for 8 innings.

On Saturday the Lions edged the Rhinos 3-2 after the game was first delayed by rain then stopped after an inning. Sunday’s game was also rain affected, this time half an inning was pitched before the players left the pitch for 1 hour and 50 minutes. The game eventually finished shortly before 11pm, and after the Lions lead 4-1 after 5, the Rhinos came out and battered the Lions relievers, hitting 11 off the last 4 to win 12-5.

The table now looks like this:

1 ) EDA Rhinos – 9-7

2 ) Uni Lions – 9-8

3 ) Lamigo Monkeys – 8-9

4 ) Chinatrust Brothers – 6-8

It is a very very close league now and it’s possible the lead is going to rotate around the teams. No side is dominating but it is important to note that Uni Lions and Brothers have and Lamigo Monkeys and EDA Rhinos have only met a couple of times in the second phase. Both of these pairs of fixtures are going to be absolutely fascinating to follow, particularly given the Rhinos record v Lamigos and how Brothers and Uni Lions have matched up this season.

Here are the week’s fixtures.

Lamigo Monkeys v EDA Rhinos – Tuesday (off), Thursday – both in Hsinchu

Chinatrust Brothers v Uni Lions – Wednesday/Thursday in Tainan

Chinatrust Brothers v EDA Rhinos – Friday/Saturday/Sunday in New Taipei

Lamigo Monkeys v Uni Lions – Friday/Saturday/Sunday in Tainan

All weather permitting, reports from all games I attend this week… which haven’t yet been decided.

Tom

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EDA Rhinos 12-5 Uni Lions – Mixed feelings

Sunday, I woke at 11. I wasn’t hungover but I was tired, and I really just wanted to lay about all day but knew I couldn’t, there was another baseball game to be watched. I checked the starting pitchers and it was going to be the battle of the aces, Mike Loree v Bruce Billings, the two best pitchers in the CPBL, I had to summon some energy and get myself there.

I grabbed a shower, headed over to Family Mart for some food and sat down. I ate quickly, made myself feel ill but had to get a shift on. There was a public bus at 4pm that went to the stadium and I couldn’t miss it.

I got over to the stop and about 30 minutes later was at the stadium on Jiankang Road. There didn’t looked to be any rain issues and the forecast was positive. I entered and went back to my usual spot high above 3rd for the game.

It wasn’t long before we got the first run, Bruce Billings conceded a first man, first inning home run and it was 1-0 Rhinos. It was hit to almost the same spot as the previous day’s first inning homer but the only hit before the rain came. Mike Loree was preparing to deliver his first ball and the rain clouds gathered, then emptied on the ground. Deja vu, or what?

I was at the back of the stand and about 15 minutes into the delay, I got approached by 3 Taiwanese lads. They said something about seeing my internet posts on the Lions and they seemed impressed that I went to see them outside of Tainan. They pointed to the fact, not many foreigners support the Lions compared to other teams and I was invited to sit with them.

What I didn’t realise was they had a table and seats behind the home plate, and I was invited to enjoy some beers and food. Sadly as the rain continued it didn’t look as if I was going to get much chance, we stood under cover and waited for a while as the rain continued to fall. About 6 it looked as if it was clearing and around 1810 the covers started to come off. We were told that we’d get a 7pm start and that was pretty much correct. In the meantime, I enjoyed some food, a beer and my first ever shot of Taiwanese spirit, Kaoliang.

The game resumed and it was pretty much like the previous day, at least until the 4th inning. The Rhinos managed two hits and had men on 1 and 3, with 1 out but couldn’t take advantage and it remained 1-0.

Lo Kuo Long and Pan Wu Hsiang walked before Kao Kuo Ching was struck to leave it bases loaded despite the Lions not even managing a hit in the game. Chen Yung Chi came up with a hit though and all 3 on base made it home, Chen Yung Chi getting to second before Chiang Kai Wen hit an RBI double to make it 4-1 Lions.

Loree looked to be losing control of his pitching and with 0 outs, the Lions were well placed to build a big lead. Sadly, he regained control and the Lions could only manage 4 runs and couldn’t get Chiang Kai Wen home.

A scoreless 5th followed before the usual break after 5 innings. It was a very hot night and even at 2030, it was still over 30c, conditions were very uncomfortable to say the least.

Things got a bit more uncomfortable when Lions ace pitcher, Bruce Billings struggled at the top of the 6th. He gave away a walk, and a hit but then seemed to be back on top as he got two outs. Sadly, 3 further hits followed in quick succession and the score went  4-2, 4-3, 4-4 with 2 men still on base. He went off and Fu Yu Gang replaced him and made a strike out to end it.

The Lions offered nothing in reply against Loree and the momentum was now with the Rhinos. The mood had definitely changed and the 6th ended at 2107. 3 innings remained so it looked as it wouldn’t be finishing too late…

Wrong. Very wrong. From there on in, the Rhinos savaged the Lions pitchers and the Lions were below par with the bat. EDA started with 3 hits at the top of the seventh, to go 5-4 ahead, a walk, a struck hitter followed and it was 6-4.  Another walk was given away and Kao Hsiang Hsiao’s time on the mound was over.

Lin Chih Wei started his time by conceding a hit and gave away a run as it was bases loaded at the time. A strike out ended it but the game was slipping away from the Lions, Mike Loree went off and there looked to be some hope with bases loaded at the bottom of the 7th. Tang Chao Ting made a hit, and Su Zhe Jie got home to get his first ever Lions run, 0 outs and there was definitely a chance of a comeback at 7-5.

The Lions 3 outs came very quickly and the Rhinos increased their lead to 9-5 in the top of the 8th. The temperatures were still high and I was pretty tired as it was now 2210. Only Kao Kuo Ching managed a hit in the bottom of the 8th with the hit count at 14-5 in the Rhinos favour. Part of me was putting it down to one of those nights, part of me knew, I’d done well to see 7 wins in a row but I was still pretty gutted about the performance.

EDA rubbed it in further off the pitching of Wang Ching Ming. A walk and then a hit to left field made it 10-5, another two hits made it 11-5 and as 64 tried to avoid being tagged out between 1st and 2nd, the man on 3rd got home, 12-5. The agony continued a little longer before 52 was ground out and it was time for the Lions 9th inning, needing just a minor miracle to retrieve the game from 12-5 down, having made just 5 hits all night.

The Lions offered nothing, Ni Fu Te, swiftly ended the misery and condemned the Lions to their 3rd defeat of the week whilst the Rhinos went back to the top.

Even with decent company, and a good view, it was mixed night because of the performance. One of those nights though and I walked home, in the pouring rain mulling over a mixed week.

Next up, my CPBL weekly round up tomorrow.

Tom

 

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