Fri, Oct 15, 2004 - Page 24 News List

Bears on the rampage after lackluster start

By Paul Huang  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Lin Chih-sheng, one half of the La New Bears' ``Sheng-Shih Connection,'' has been the main driving force behind the Bears' recent surge to 10-5 in their last 15 games.

FILE PHOTO: CPBL

Back-to-back wins over the Macoto Cobras earlier this week has upped the La New Bears' victory total to 19 and counting for the second half and 37 and counting for the year, setting the new-and-improved club well on its way to 40 victories for the year.

Despite a slow start, the Bears (formerly the First Securities Agan) have gone on a recent surge by going 10-5 in their last 15 contests, playing above-.500 ball over a ten-game stretch for the first time in team history.

Even though his troops are still quite a way from their ultimate goal -- winning a league championship -- rookie skipper Hung Yi-chung (洪一中), the front runner for this year's Manager of the Year award with an expected victory total of 40 for this year, should hold his head high for the Bears' incredible turnaround. Last year's victory total stood at 20.

Leading the way for the Bears' recent offensive outpour are rookie sluggers Lin Chih-sheng (林志盛) and Shih Chih-wei (石志偉), often referred to as the Bears' "Sheng-Shih Connection," whose .312 and .292 batting averages with 49 and 42 RBIs respectively, are only second to the Brother Elephants' hitting tandem, Chen "the Golden Warrior" Chih-yuan (陳致遠) and Peng "Chia Chia" Cheng-ming (彭政閔) in the combined offensive categories.

Tuesday night's series opener in Hsinchuang had the Cobras drawing first blood on RBI singles by Shih Shiang-kai (施翔凱) and center fielder Huang Kao-jung (黃高俊) in the bottom of the third, before the Bears rallied with six unanswered runs in the 6-2 final, highlighted by Lin Chih-Sheng's three-run blast to deep center in the fifth off Cobra starter Hsu Chu-jien (許竹見).

Other than the two-run third, Bear starter Liang Rue-hao (梁如豪) was in control for the entire game as he went the distance for his first complete-game win of the season.

Game 2 on Wednesday featured a classic pitchers' duel where Bear starter Cory Bailey outpitched Cobra lefty ace Lin Ying-jeh (林英傑) in an impressive 3-0 shutout. The former Major Leaguer from Illinois held a powerful Cobra lineup to four hits in seven innings before reliever Lee Fong-hua (李風華) retired the side in order in the last two innings to keep the shutout intact.

The loss was Lin Ying-jeh's first in over two months, snapping his seven-game winning streak that began ironically with a win over these same Bears on July 27th.

Offensively for the Bears, the spot light fell on Shih Chih-wei, whose 2-for-4 night with the game-winning RBI earned him the game-MVP honor for the night.

Also in action were the Elephants in a make-up game against the league-leading President Lions on Tuesday where Peng Cheng-ming's three-run homer paved the way to victory for the Elephants in the 7-2 decision.

A wild Yokota Hisanori issued an uncharacteristic six walks over the six frames he worked, negating an otherwise decent, two-hit effort. The 37-year-old former All-Star for the Hanshin Tigers of Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball League has not been sharp in his last three outings, going 1-2 with a 17-plus ERA in the same span. His inability to give the Elephants the quality starts that they have grown accustomed to could mean trouble as the race for the second-half title heats up down the stretch.

Huang Kwei-yu's (黃貴裕) two-run, opposite-field double in the bottom of the seventh lifted the Chinatrust Whales past the Sinon Bulls in Wednesday's 5-4 thriller. With his team down 3-4, Huang drove the pitch from Sinon set-up man Ho Chi-shien (何紀賢) down the first-base line to put his team ahead for good and made a winner out of fellow rookie reliever Tseng Jau-hao (曾兆豪) in his first career victory.

This story has been viewed 3690 times.
TOP top