Mon, May 15, 2017 - Page 10 News List

‘King’ powers Monkeys to victory

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Lamigo Monkeys’ slugger Wang Po-jung hits the ball at Chengching Lake Baseball Field in Kaohsiung on Saturday.

Photo: Huang Chih-yuan, Taipei Times

Lamigo Monkeys slugger Wang Po-jung kept up his hot-hitting form to lead the visitors to a 16-9 victory against the Uni-President Lions in Tainan, while the Fubon Guardians seized two late runs for a 3-2 win against the Brothers Baseball Club in New Taipei City yesterday.

Wang, nicknamed “The King” by fans, had another productive day with five hits, a home run and a double and scored four runs to wrap up another three-game sweep of the Lions.

Lamigo were ungracious guests at the Tainan Municipal Baseball Stadium, shutting out the hosts 3-0 on Friday.

Wang hit a solo homer in a 7-3 win on Saturday and finished the three-game sweep by setting a league record 27 hits by one team in one game.

The Lions were outclassed by Lamigo who took a three-game sweep against the Lions in their home stand series in Taoyuan last week.

The media spotlight was on Wang throughout the week, with several Japanese baseball scouts attending Lamigo games to follow last season’s Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) most valuable player award winner, with the intention of contracting him to Japan next season.

Saitama Seibu Lions executive Hisanobu Watanabe, who was a Chiayi-Tainan Luka player-coach from 1999 to 2001, observed Wang with the Japanese scouts at the weekend.

The Seibu Lions are only one of five Japanese clubs interested in signing Wang, including the Hanshin Tigers, the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks, the Orix Buffaloes and the Chiba Lotte Marines, media reports said.

“I know several foreign teams are following my development. If I have the opportunity, of course I would like to play outside Taiwan after this season, but we have to wait and see,” Wang said on Saturday.

Under CPBL rules, players can be signed by professional teams outside the league only when they finish three seasons, which for Wang would be mid-next year, so he could not play until 2019.

However, officials are considering amending the rule to include financial compensation for the team holding the player’s contract if they sign to play with overseas teams.

Wang is No. 1 in Taiwan with a 0.415 average, No. 2 in total hits with 45, No. 2 in RBIs with 30 and has the league-best eight stolen bases.

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