Mon, Feb 05, 2018 - Page 11 News List

Taiwanese make Japan league

Staff writer, with CNA

Taiwanese baseball players, from left, pitcher-outfielder Tseng Chi, pitcher-infielder Hsieh Yu-ying and outfielder Shen Chia-wen pose for the media in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Lo Chih-peng, Taipei Times

Three Taiwanese players yesterday made the Japan Women’s Baseball League (JWBL) after successful tryouts, marking the first time Taiwanese are to play in the league.

Pitcher-infielder Hsieh Yu-ying and outfielder Shen Chia-wen are to play for the Kyoto Flora, while pitcher-outfielder Tseng Chi is to join the Aichi Dione.

“We will do our best to hopefully soon make the starting lineup,” Hsieh told a news briefing in Taipei. “By joining the league, we also hope to encourage others to follow.”

Tseng said the three are aiming to soon become fully integrated into their teams.

“Hopefully, we can blend into the teams as soon as possible,” said Tseng, whose younger brother, Tseng Jen-ho, made his MLB debut in September last year with the Chicago Cubs.

JWBL representative Aya Sugiura said the players were recruited not only on the strength of their baseball skills, but also because of their desire to help other female players in Taiwan.

“In their tryout interviews, all three said they wanted to play pro baseball in Japan, because they hoped to later become coaches and promote women’s baseball in Taiwan,” Sugiura said.

The three players are all graduates of the University of Taipei’s Department of Ball Sports.

Because Taiwan does not have a professional women’s baseball league, most female college players either give up the sport after graduation or play softball instead, department head Lin Chi-chuan said.

The four-team JWBL, which was founded in 2009, offers an opportunity for Taiwanese women to continue their baseball careers and realize their dreams of going pro, he said.

Meanwhile, local baseball commentator Tseng Wen-chen said that the three women are “trailblazers” who are paving the way for others to follow.

“It might be somewhat of an exaggeration, but I think they are like Chen Chin-feng,” he said, referring to the first Taiwanese to enter the MLB with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2002.

The three women are scheduled to join their respective teams next month in preparation for the start of the season in April.

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