Tue, Oct 24, 2006 - Page 20 News List

La New Bears rally once more to overcome the Lions

By Paul Huang  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

A La New Bears cheerleader performs a belly dance during the intermission in Game 2 of the 2006 Taiwan Series on Sunday night.

PHOTO: LIAO YAO-TUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

Chen Fong-min's lining double to right-center easily scored the runner from second for the game-winner in the bottom of the ninth as the La New Bears came up with another late-game rally to beat the President Lions 6-5 in Game 2 of the 2006 Taiwan Series on Sunday night.

The showdown at the Douliou City Baseball Stadium featured another valiant Bears comeback that saw the hosts score a pair of runs in the eighth to force a 5-5 tie before winning it in the final frame on Chen's game-deciding swing.

The soft-spoken catcher, who filled the big shoes left by skipper Hung Yi-Lin nicely with a solid season, let his bat do the talking on a 2-for-4 night with a pair of RBIs.

Chen's clutch hit might have sunk the hapless Lions as only one team in league history has ever come back from a 0-2 deficit to win the annual Fall Classic. This statistic is hard on the Lions, as they went toe-to-toe with the Bears in the first two contests and were actually in position to win both.

The game began with the Lions jumping all over Bears right-hander Kenny Rayborn with runs in the first and second innings on RBI singles by Kuo Dai-chi and Yang Seng, before they chased the 16 game-winner from the US with two more runs in the third.

Trailing the Lions by two, the Bears would respond with back-to-back run-scoring singles by Chen and Chiang Chih-tsong off Lions American lefty Jeriome Robertson to tie the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the second, only to see the Lions regain a 4-2 lead in the top of the third that would stand for the next three innings.

Yu Jin-deh's two-out single off Lions reliever Tsao Jung-yang in the bottom of the sixth got the Bears within a run of the visitors before the Lions added what appeared to be an insurance run in the top of the eighth on Yang Song-hsuen's third double of the game for a 5-3 lead, setting the stage for the Bears' remarkable comeback.

Ramon Morel used only one pitch to induce a groundout by Wang Tzu-song in the top of the ninth that earned the Dominican hurler his first career postseason victory, while Lin took the tough loss by surrendering the game-winning hit to Chen Fong-min.

The run yielded by Lin snapped the Lions righty's record-setting shutout streak in the postseason at 18-and-two-third innings, surpassing the previous mark of 18 shared by former Chinatimes great Kuo Jin-hsin in 1996 and the Brother Elephants' Nakagomi Sin from 2002 to 2003.

Offensively for the Bears, four different hitters had multi-hit games, led by rookie second baseman Chiang Chih-tsong's perfect 3-for-3 effort with an RBI.

As for the Lions, Yang's three doubles in the game set a new single-game record in the postseason for most doubles over a losing cause.

Game 3 will start at 6:35pm tonight in Sinjhuang's Taipei County Baseball Stadium, where Bears rookie Tsai Ying-fong will face the Lions' Hansen Izquierdo in a must-win game for the latter.

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