The Uni-President Lions of Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League proved no match for the Canberra Cavalry of the Australian Baseball League in the title game of this year’s Asia Series, dropping a 14-4 decision to the defending Australian champions at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium last night to settle for second place.
It was a tremendous letdown for the Cats considering that they had upset favorites the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League the night before.
Michael Wells’ two-run single with two outs off Lions reliever Boof Bonser capped what ended up being a five-run seventh inning for the Cavalry that turned a 3-4 deficit into an 8-4 cushion, a lead they would add to with a six-run eighth en route to a blowout victory.
Jack Murphy’s two-out single off Lions starter Pan Wei-lun (潘威倫) with two on gave the Cavalry a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
The Lions answered in the top of the second with a pair of runs off Ethan Cole on the strength of a single and a double off the Cavalry starter and they took a 4-2 lead in the third, when Chen Yung-chi (陳鏞基) and Kao Kuo-ching (高國慶) connected on RBI singles to chase Cole from the plate.
That was the extent that the Lions offense was in the game as the Cavalry bullpen, led by relievers Eric Massingham and Mike Ekstrom, combined for six solid innings of shutout relief to deny the Lions any chance of a comeback.
Picking up the win was Ekstrom, while the loss was charged to his counterpart Kao Chien-san (高建三), who served up a pair of hits to jump-start the Cavalry’s seventh-inning offensive explosion.
Murphy was named the final’s Most Valuable Player for driving in seven runs on the night, including a grand slam in the eighth inning that completely demolished any hopes of a Lions comeback.