Thu, Jul 11, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Kaohsiung high schooler signs with US’ Pirates

Staff writer, with CNA

Cheng Tsung-che, a 17-year-old infielder and former student of Pu-Men Senior High School in Kaohsiung, holds Pittsburgh Pirates mascots at a news conference yesterday after the Major League Baseball team confirmed signing him.

Photo: Flight International via CNA

High-school infielder Cheng Tsung-che has signed a contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates that includes a signing bonus of US$380,000.

Cheng, who attends Pu Men Senior High School in Kaohsiung, is the first player from the school to pursue his baseball dream abroad and the 10th Taiwanese player to sign with the Pirates organization.

Accompanied by his parents, the 17-year-old signed the contract after completing a physical.

Cheng thanked his parents, the team and its scouts, and his management company, along with coaches and friends.

“Thank you for helping me to become who I am now. I won’t stop working hard in the future,” he said, expressing his hope of reaching the Major Leagues one day and promoting Taiwan to fans around the world.

Cheng, who has been praised for his speed and defensive skills, has mostly played shortstop in high school.

He has been named Best Shortstop at the junior amateur level in Taiwan, received the Best Batter Award at last year’s Nike All-Taiwan Baseball Camp and was named to the best nine-man team as shortstop at the Fubon under-18 Future Star Game.

Cheng was also selected for Taiwan’s national team, playing in this year’s World Baseball Softball Confederation under-18 Baseball World Cup. He is to train with the team in Matsuyama, Japan, from July 25 to Aug. 1.

“After coming back to Taiwan, I will return to the team as quickly as possible to win the World Cup with my teammates,” Cheng said of the tournament, which is to be held in South Korea from Aug. 30 to Sept. 8.

“It is a dream come true to play professional baseball in the United States,” Cheng added. “I look forward to competing and learning with players from all over the world.”

Cheng will be hoping to make more of a mark in the Major Leagues than other Taiwanese signed by the Pirates, as only Wang Wei-chung made it up from the minors, and he did it with a different team.

“The Pirates have shown the most initiative during the signing process,” Cheng said. “They told me the organization would do their best to develop me as a player.”

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