Chinese Taipei wins first-ever Junior League World Series title

Photo by Dave Gorgon

Photo by Dave Gorgon

The team from Chinese Taipei, with its Junior League World Series trophy, begins its victory lap with fans screaming to the left and California players high fiving to the right.

TAYLOR – The Chung-Ching Junior Little League of Taipei City, Chinese Taipei, is champion of the 30th annual Junior League World Series.

Taipei defeated United States champion Tyler, Texas, 9-1, on Saturday night at Heritage Park.The Asia-Pacific and International champions broke open a classic pitching duel with four runs in the sixth inning and five more in the seventh.

Pitcher Tzu Wei Lin, who knocked in three of his team’s runs, threw a three-hitter, walking one and striking out 10. The start of the game was delayed two hours and 47 minutes, but a brilliant performance by Phil Garrett and the volunteer grounds crew allowed the title game to go on as scheduled.

Texas starting pitcher Ryan Cheatham threw a no-hitter through the first five innings and faced the minimum 15 batters, getting nine of them to pound the ball into the wet infield grass.

His team, which had just one hit after four innings, scored in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Chandler Hill singled and was replaced by special pinch-runner Jaylon Dews, who went to second on a sacrifice by Jacob Lundmark, to third on a wild pitch and home on a single by Patrick Mahones II.

In the top of the sixth, pinch-hitter Yi Yang Fang got Taipei City’s first hit – an opposite-field single to left. With one out, pinch-hitter Lee Chih-Pang walked and Lin singled Yi-Yang home to tie the score.

An infield single by Hsiu Chuan-Hsieh loaded the bases. Another infield hit off the bat of Cheng Yu-Tsai scored Chih-Pang, giving Taipei its first lead of the game.

It became 3-1 when Chun Yen was safe on an error. Kai Hsiang -Yang drove in the fourth run of the inning with a fielder’s choice as Taipei City sent nine batters to the plate.

In the seventh, Sheng Hsun Huan and Kai Yen Chang walked and scored on a ground-rule double by Lin. Taipei City reloaded the bases on two more walks and a single with two out. When Hsiang-Yang was hit by a pitch, Chuan-Hsieh scored the seventh run. Yu-Tsai crossed the plate on an infield error and Yen was forced home on a bases loaded walk.

Eleven batters came up to bat in the seventh for the Asian-Pacific Champs. Lin went 2-for-4, scored a run and knocked in three for the winners. Tsai was 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI. Yen batted .626 for the series; Lin hit 619 and Yen hit .550.

Chinese Taipei (6-0) was the only unbeaten team among the 10 teams in the World Series. Texas finished the series 4-2.

The Junior League World Series features the best teams of 13- and 14-year-old players from around the world. The event was founded in Taylor in 1981 and has been held in the city every year since.

Other teams competing in the USA Pool of the 2010 World Series were the West regional champions from El Monte, Calif.; the Central region champs from Jeffersonville, Ind.; the Southeast champs from Mechanicsville, Va.; and the East champs from Freehold, N.J.

Also competing in the International Pool were the Latin America champions from Guatemala
City, Guatemala; the Mexican national champions from Guaymas, Sonora; Kirovograd Center/Rivne, Ukraine, the champions of the Europe, Middle East and Africa region; and the Canadian national champions from Coquitlam, British Columbia.

It was the first time a team from Guatemala competed in any World Series sanctioned by Little League International and the Guatemala City team finished second in the International Pool.