The La New Bears showed considerable pluck in surviving an intense Game 5 of the 2007 Taiwan Series baseball finals, beating the Uni-President Lions 8-5 in Tainan yesterday and clawing back another game to trail 2-3 in the best-of-seven contest.
In a memorable start, Lions pitcher Pete Munro was hit in the leg by a bat fragment after Huang Lung-yi's bat disintegrated. But Munro scampered after the ball and hurled it to first in time.
Lions started batting nervously, swinging at almost every pitch. But by the 2nd it seemed they were back on track, ominously loading the bases on a single by Liu Fu-hao and two walks conceded by pitcher Huang Chun-chung, before Kao Chih-kang was caught in the outfield.
PHOTO: Huang Chih-yuan,Taipei times
The Bears then got the first run in the 3rd inning, with Huang's single sending Tseng Hao-ju home. The 4th inning was even better, with Chen Chin-feng hitting a homer and taking Lin Chih-sheng with him to lead 3-0.
But the game began to wobble for the Bears in the bottom of the 4th when the Lions tied the score. Chen Lien-hung and Kuo Dai-chi hit identical drives over the pitcher's mound before catcher Yang Po-chao stepped up and slammed a home run, punching the air with his fist and whooping.
Bears pitcher Huang Chun-chung lost his composure and struck a second batter, and was ejected. Replacement Mac Suzuki, however, was to perform well in his place, preventing any more runs in the inning, but not in the 5th, when the Lions' Liu Fu-hao hit a home run to put his team in the lead and remove the smiles from the Bears' faces.
After the break, Lin Chih-sheng leveled the score for the Bears with a home run, while Kit Pellow missed a second homer for the inning by a meter.
The Lions edged in front again in the bottom of the 6th, when a hit by the dependable, stoic Dominican national Tilson Brito sent Kao Chih-kang home.
But things fell apart for the Lions at the top of the 8th inning. Pitcher Pete Munro, who showed less poise than countryman Nelson Figueroa the night before, but whose performance improved as the game continued, was rested and replaced by Tseng Yi-cheng, who pitched a long series of balls, walked three batters as well as allowing Lin Chih-sheng to steal two bases and then home on a wild throw to 1st base.
After Chen Chi-feng made it home off a Kit Pellow single, the Lions replaced the pitcher after less than an inning.
The Bears fielded stoutly in the 8th, pulling off a double play to end it and silence the Lions' fans.
The Bears then mauled the Lions with two more home runs to Huang Lung-yi and Tsai Chien-wei and a strong pitching finale by Suzuki.
The Bears' performance gave their supporters a shot of real hope that they can win two more games to overtake the Lions. Game 6 is in Kaohsiung tomorrow night.
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