Taitung’s Chi Lih Coral jumped to a quick 4-0 lead against Taipower in their first contest in the newly established Popcorn League last night, before holding on to win the game 8-5 at the Tianmu Baseball Stadium in Taipei.
Newly acquired slugger Chen Chun-shiu homered and doubled in his first game as a professional player in Taiwan by going deep against Taipower to show off his sorely missed power after spending six seasons in the minor leagues with the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball in the US.
“I’m glad [the homer] came right away, because it took a big load off my chest,” Chen said after the game.
He more than delivered on coach Hsieh Cheng-hsun’s high expectations at the signing ceremony last week, in which Hsieh welcomed Chen to the cleanup spot as the designated hitter in Chi Lih’s lineup.
Also starring for Chi Lih Coral was Tsai Seng-fu, who drove in five runs on three-for-five hitting, including a bases-loaded three-run double that scored the go-ahead runs for his team in the seventh inning to account for more than half of his team’s total offense.
Chi Lih Coral’s 4-0 lead lasted less than an inning as Taipower answered with a two-run fourth, courtesy of Lin Ken-wei’s two-run blast.
After Chen’s solo shot in the fifth gave Chi Lih Coral a 5-2 advantage in the fifth, Taipower plated three in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game 5-5, setting the stage for Tsai’s game-turning three-run double in the seventh.
Picking up his first win for Chi Lih Coral was reliever Chuan Chi, who pitched 2-2/3 innings of shutout ball on one hit to beat his counterpart, Paul Phillips, who paid the price for serving up Tsai’s go-ahead double in the seventh.