Sun, Oct 30, 2016 - Page 1 News List

Rhinos charge to Taiwan Series win

LATE COMEBACK:The Brothers were ahead for most of the game, but the Rhinos pummeled the Brothers closer in the ninth frame to get three runs and go in front 4-3

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

The EDA Rhinos’ Hu Chin-lung, center, yesterday high-fives teammates during Game 6 of the CPBL Taiwan Series at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium.

Photo: CNA

The EDA Rhinos last night clinched the CPBL Taiwan Series in dramatic fashion, coming from behind to score three runs in the ninth inning of Game 6 against the Brothers Baseball Club to win 4-3 and seal their first championship title in the team’s four-year history.

The Rhinos were trailing for most of the game and were still behind 3-1 at the start of the ninth inning, but their hitters put together a late rally of four hits and one walk, and took advantage of an opposition fielding error to push three runs home, reversing the deficit and taking the 4-3 lead.

It was a bittersweet series victory for the Rhinos, since this is their first CPBL title, and will be their only one. E United Group, the club’s parent company, put the team up for sale earlier this year. Fubon Financial Holdings last month announced it would purchase the club for NT$300 million (US$9.48 million at current exchange rates.)

The new owners and EDA executives celebrated the hard-earned championship trophy with the players. Fubon will officially take over the franchise on Tuesday.

For the Brothers, it was another disappointing end to a post-season, after they also lost the Taiwan Series finals in 2014 and last year.

The Brothers got on the board first in the opening frame, when with two men on base, Chiang Chih-hsien drilled a shot off EDA starter Jared Lansford over the outfield wall for a three-run homer.

The Rhinos battled back to get one run in the fourth inning against the Brothers’ left-handed pitcher Nick Additon to make it 3-1, and it remained that way until the ninth inning.

The Brothers’ fans were on the edge of their seats throughout the late innings as they anticipated a win, which would have forced the series to a Game 7 decider.

However, at the top of the ninth frame the Rhinos pummeled Brothers’ closer Chen Hung-wen for consecutive hits by outfielder Lin Che-hsuan and pinch-hitter Chang Chien-ming.

One out later, hits by Kao Hsiao-yi and Lin Wei-ting tied up the game, then catcher Lin Kun-sheng slapped a bouncer that was mishandled by Brothers first baseman Peng Cheng-min for EDA to get three runs and go in front.

In the bottom of the ninth frame, EDA had left-handed closer Huang Sheng-hsiung took the mound to shut the door, and he got two outs before Brothers outfielder Chang Cheng-wei stroked a fly ball. EDA outfielder Lin Che-hsuan made a fantastic diving catch, and everyone thought it was end of the game, with the Rhinos players rushing out on to the field to celebrate.

However, the umpire reviewed video footage and ruled that the ball bounced, calling everyone back to their dugouts. Huang then got the third out on a grounder for a force-out at second to clinch the championship title.

“Our players were outstanding through this series, they had lots of pressure on, but always found a way to win,” EDA head coach Yeh Chun-chang said after the game. “Although we were behind in several games, I firmly believed we could come back. They did it today once again, so I gave them all the credit.”

Outfielder Lin Che-hsuan, who was selected as the MVP for the series and was overcome by emotion, said: “We did it. Most people had written us off this season, but we had confidence in ourselves and we won the title.”

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