Wang Hsiang-lan’s pinch-hit single with a runner on second scored the game-winner as the National Taiwan Sports University at Taoyuan overcame a three-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth with four unanswered runs to top the National Taiwan Sports University at Taichung 7-6 for the title.
“I kept telling myself I could do it as I waited in the on-deck circle, and I am glad I actually did,” said senior team captain Wang, who had been taken out of the title match’s starting lineup because of a recent slump.
The clash between the two Division-I National Taiwan Sports Universities took place at a wet Taipei Municipal Baseball Stadium in Tianmu with a turnout of faithful fans from both campuses cheering their teams toward the holy grail of Taiwan’s college baseball.
PHOTO: LIU HSIN-DE, TAIPEI TIMES
The Taichung squad held a seemingly safe 6-3 lead heading into the bottom of the final frame before its Taoyuan counterpart strung together four unanswered runs for the thrilling come-from-behind victory.
Wang might have been the hero of the game, but he could not have done it if it had not been for Taoyuan’s Wang Jung-jeh, whose sharp grounder through the left side of the Taichung infield with the bases loaded scored the tying runs earlier in the inning.
Picking up the win for Taoyuan was reliever Su Tseh-min, who entered with two outs in the eighth and pitched one-and-a-third innings to beat Huang Shih-chan of Taichung.
Taichung starter Lai Bo-kai had held the Taoyuan bats to three runs on five hits through the eighth, only to see things falter in the final frame.
Taoyuan’s win capped a three-month long journey that saw it breeze through the preliminaries against Technology and Science Institute of Northern Taiwan, the Taipei Physical Education College and Shih Hsin University with a perfect 3-0 record in the C Bracket in December to advance to the 10-team second round last week.
It blew past Leader University, Wu-Feng Institute of Technology, Kainan University and the Chinese Culture University unblemished out of Group A for the right to face Group B’s National Taiwan Sports University at Taichung for the title.
Rounding out the top six in this year’s competition are third-place finisher Chinese Culture, which beat Taipei Physical Education (fourth place) 3-1 earlier on Saturday and Leader University, which trounced Chia Nan University of Pharmacy and Science (sixth place) 8-2 on Friday for a school-best fifth-place finish.
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