Thu, Mar 02, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Japan trounce All-Stars to level series

SOLO HOMER:Japan’s Yamada Tetsuto smashed a solo homer against CPBL starter Cheng Kai-wen in the first frame, and Samurai Japan led the scoring from then on

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Members of the CPBL All-Stars and cheerleaders pose for a photograph in Fukuoka, Japan, yesterday.

Photo: Lin Cheng-kung, Taipei Times

Japan took advantage of Taiwanese defensive errors and shaky pitching to pile on string of runs in the middle innings on their way to trouncing the CPBL All-Stars 9-1 yesterday, leveling the friendly baseball series at one win each.

It was a good result for the Samurai Japan team, the official name of national squad, for its tune-up preparations ahead of its opening game in the World Baseball Classic next week, and for CPBL players to test their mettle against top-level competition.

Japanese starter Sugano Tomoyuki, ace pitcher for the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants, registered the win, tossing four scoreless innings and leaving his team in front when replaced in the fifth frame by right-hander Ishikawa Ayumu of the Chiba Lotte Marines.

Leadoff batter Yamada Tetsuto smashed a solo homer against CPBL starter Cheng Kai-wen of the Chinatrust Brothers in the opening frame, and Samurai Japan led the scoring from then on, adding more runs from the fifth to seventh innings.

CPBL scored through second baseman Lin Wei-ting, who hit a double to the wall and next batter, Chen Chieh-hsien, sent him home on an RBI-single in the seventh.

In Tuesday’s first game of the series, slugger Wang Po-jung of Lamigo Monkeys earned rave reviews from Japanese baseball officials and fans when he went three-for-three, with a two-run homer and three RBIs, for CPBL to record an 8-5 win.

Both games took place at the Fukuoka Dome in Japan, with Wang “The King” starring after being the Taiwanese league’s MVP last year, setting records for 200 hits and 130 runs scored, a 0.414 batting average and finishing among the top players in home runs, RBIs, slugging percentage and total bases.

The media have linked Wang with pro teams in Japan, South Korea and the US.

While he signed a five-year contract with Lamigo in January, there are reports of an escape clause for him to go play overseas.

“It’s exciting to come to Japan and I am happy to have a good performance with the home run and several hits,” Wang said after Tuesday’s game. “I know there are pro scouts watching me tonight, so it’s good to show what I am capable of.”

“Of course, I would like to challenge the pro leagues in Japan and US, and if can have the chance to go to US, I would like to be listed in the 40-man roster and at least start from 2A and above levels,” he said.

That first contest in the series featured six Lamigo players, including Wang and all-star catcher Lin Hung-yu, which exposed Taiwan’s baseball power struggle between the CPBL with its four pro ballclubs, and the CTBA, the national baseball governing body.

Due to long-running disputes over control of players and a host of political and financial issues, CPBL and CTBA clashed through the years, and with the bad blood reaching a boiling point last year, as the owners of the Lamigo Monkeys announced their team and players would boycott the World Baseball Classic and not play for the national squad in this year’s international competitions.

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