Lamigo Monkeys outfielder Chung “Yo-Yo Man” Cheng-yo unloaded nine bombs over the leftfield wall against Uni-President Lion slugger Kao Guo-ching’s five in the finals to run away with the title in this year’s Home Run Derby at the Sinjhuang Baseball Stadium in New Taipei City last night.
The long-ball specialist out of the National Taiwan Sport University — whose list of distinguished alumni include current Major League pitcher Chen Wei-ying (the Baltimore Orioles) and former big leaguer Hu Chin-lung (the New York Mets) — became the first player in league history to defend the title in the Home Run Derby by taking five of the first eight pitches he faced to tie Kao’s mark, before settling with nine on the night to keep the winner’s bat for the second straight year.
“Wow, it’s hard to believe that no one has done it before. I’d like to thank coach Lin for feeding me some great pitches tonight,” Chung said after the event.
It was Lamigo Monkeys assistant coach Lin Chen-sheng who helped him win the event a year ago as well.
“Coach Lin did a great job in guiding me with his pitches, so all I had to do was follow his lead,” Chung explained after the home run-bashing contest.
Along with a stunning winner’s trophy and a winner’s bat, Chung also pocketed NT$100,000 in prize money. He also raised a total of 50 grams of pure gold for a local charity and donated NT$30,000 of his winnings to show his kind side off the field.
Chung’s quest for the repeat began with three blasts against the Brother Elephants’ Chang Min-yen’s one in the preliminary round, which featured 12 of the league’s top long-ball hitters in this year’s contest.
Then came the match against the Lions’ Deng Chih-wei, who fell short to Chung by a 12-3 margin to send the defending champ into the third round, where he needed only a pair of home runs to edge past teammate Hung Chen-yu to set up the rematch of last year’s contest against Kao.
Kao took the plate first as the challenger by grinding out five shots over the outfield wall to set the bar for Chung, which took the eventual champ only eight swings to match.
“When you are up against someone like [Chung], there is really not much I can do,” a humble Kao said after the contest.