Mon, Nov 15, 2004 - Page 20 News List

Taiwan Series ends up boiling down to final confrontation

SEASON FINALE The Bulls were able to tie up the series with a 3-2 win against the Lions down in Tainan, forcing a final Game 7 to be played


Game-MVP Yeh Jung-chang's (葉君璋) two-run double in the top of the second and captain Huang "Brother Tung" Chung-yi's (黃忠義) RBI single in the following inning, both off President Lions' starter Donald Lemon, gave the Sinon Bulls an early 3-0 lead that they would hold on to in winning Game 6 of the Chinese Professional Baseball League Taiwan Series by a 3-2 final.

With the sold-out Tainan crowd anticipating the crowning of the Lions at home on Saturday night, the Bulls gave it their all in a gutsy performance to tie up the series 3-3 and force the decisive Game 7, extending the six-game winning streak by the road team in this year's Fall Classic.

The resilient second half champs bounced back from their emotionally deflating loss in Game 5, where they allowed the Lions to score three unanswered runs with two outs in the ninth inning for a dramatic come-from-behind victory, and returned the favor to the big cats with a thrilling win.

Sinon starter Ho Jee-shien (何紀賢) allowed one run on four hits over 6-1/3 innings in just his second career postseason start to give his team the quality starting pitching that it desperately needed.

The lefty who surrendered the game-tying run to the Lions' Wang Chuan-jia (王傳家) in Game 5 more than redeemed himself in claiming the hard-fought victory for the Bulls.

Other than serving up a fastball to a red-hot Lions' Lin "Wild Hog" Hung-yuan (林鴻遠) that landed on the upper deck in left field for a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth, Ho was magnificent in shutting down the Lions' attack.

"It's do-or-die time for us now, so I knew I had to stay tough in the game for a lot longer than usual," Ho said after the game.

Ho is a regular reliever who seldom pitched for more than two innings during the regular season.

"I thank my teammates for their support in the dugout in giving me the extra mental boost."

After starter Lemon yielded three early runs, the Lions could have easily folded. Instead, the hosts held their ground with six outstanding frames of scoreless relief pitching, led by set-up men Tsao Jung-yang (曹竣揚) and Chen Yang-kai (陳揚凱).

The Lions' defense also came up huge in the seventh inning when it kept the Bulls off the board in a no-out, with runners-at-the-corners situation, when it caught the runner on third for being too far off the bag, struck out a batter, and finished off the inning with a ground out to third.

Trying to duplicate their comeback magic in Game 5, the Lions got within a run in the bottom of the eighth when Lin Hung-yuan slid safely across the home plate on teammate Wang Chuan-jia's two-out, RBI single.

Unfortunately for the big cats, that was as close as they came because Sinon second baseman Huang Chung-yi's leaping grab that took away Lin Hung-yuan's potential game-turning triple off reliever Jeff Andra in the bottom of the ninth would end what appeared to be another miraculous late-game rally by the Lions.

"I'm glad somebody up there was pulling for us, because that grab [by Huang Chung-yi] in the ninth really could have been done us in," Bulls manager Liu Rong-hua (劉榮華) said as he pointed his finger upward.

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