Taiwan Cooperative Bank rode the right arm of Huang Chien-lung all the way to victory by winning the first-ever game in the newly established Popcorn Baseball League last night with an 8-0 blanking of the Topco Scientific Falcons at the Taipei Tianmu Baseball Stadium.
The perennial powerhouse in local amateur baseball made the most of a rare public TV appearance by dominating their opposition from the get-go, thanks to a stellar effort by Huang, who went the distance for the Bankers on 109 pitches in an eight-hitter without a walk to pocket the impressive victory.
What many had considered an evenly matched contest was all-Bankers as they broke through against Topco Scientific starter Cheng Wen-hao with a three-run first, with hired guns Luis Rivera and Kody Kirkland singling off Cheng to drive in a run each before His Chih-fong’s RBI triple made it 3-0 after one inning of play.
That was all the offense that Huang needed to give him the necessary confidence to throw first-pitch strikes against the Falcon hitters, a much-craved luxury that made Huang even harder to face.
“I wouldn’t want to disappoint the fans that have come to cheer us on tonight,” Huang said.
The normally soft-spoken hurler, who is not known for blazing velocity, more than made up for his lack of speed with a pinpoint control that netted him a walkless outing.
He also received plenty of help from a defense that turned two double plays to end a pair of legitimate scoring threats by the Falcons, on a night the Falcons managed to reach base safely often, but could not come up with the clutch hits to deliver any runs.
Taipower are to take on Taitung’s Chi Lih Coral this afternoon in Tianmu, where the Chi Lih are to feature former Cleveland Indian minor leaguer Chen Chun-shiu at the cleanup spot in Chen’s Taiwanese professional debut.