Kuo Dai-chi’s bases-loaded two-run single capped a three-run spurt as the Uni-President Lions broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the fifth to defeat the La New Bears 5-1 at the Douliou County Baseball Stadium last night.
Even though neither team had anything to play for as far as the post-season was concerned, since both had been eliminated from the playoffs long before last night, it did not keep the players from showcasing what they do best as they strived to finish the season on a high.
Most notable on the night was the Lions’ Liu Fu-hao, who snagged four stolen bases against Bears catcher Huang Hao-ran to take a two-base lead over the Sinon Bulls’ Cheng Da-hong for the season.
“The coach gave me the green light all the way tonight, so I went whenever I thought I had a chance,” Liu said after the game.
He made the most of the three walks he drew by going a stunning four-for-five in the stolen base department.
Also starring for the Cats was veteran slugger Chen Lien-hong, who took Bears reliever Hsu Ming-jeh deep for a pinch-hit solo homer to lead off the bottom of the eighth to close out what could be the final season of his 14-year career.
“We are all thrilled to see him swing the bat as well as he did in this game,” Liu said in his post-game interview.
The Lions needed only two at-bats to plate their first run of the game, with Liu drawing a lead-off walk against Bears starter Chen Cheng-da, stealing second and third against the rookie side-armer and scoring on Huang Kang-lin’s single to left.
Chen Cheng-da would regroup in a hurry to shut down the Lions offense through the fourth to give his club a chance to tie the game up at 1-1 in the fourth on three straight singles off Lions starter Pan Jung-rong.
That was the extent the rookie hurler could handle the defending champions as he faltered in the decisive fifth, coughing up three runs (four overall) to end his campaign on a down note.
Pan was credited with his first win of the year in only his second start, allowing a lone run on five hits in as many innings. He had served primarily as a reliever prior to last night’s contest.
Today, the Lions take on the Brother Elephants in Tainan at 2:05pm, while the Bears face the Sinon Bulls in Kaohsiung County at the same time.