In the Taiwan Junior Baseball Championship last weekend, powerhouse Shan Hua Senior High School of Greater Tainan edged Ren Yi High School of Chiayi City by scoring the winning run in the ninth inning to earn a narrow 4-3 victory that propelled them to the round-of-16.
Having adopted a new, expanded format of 51 teams this year, the high-school baseball championship — known as the “Black Leopard Banner” — was restructured by the Chinese Taipei Baseball Association (CTBA), the body in charge of developing amateur baseball.
In other results, Tainan Senior Marine Fishery Vocational School blanked Tatung High School of Taipei 15-0 to advance in the tournament, while Cheng Te High School of Hsinchu County also grabbed a berth with a lopsided 24-0 triumph over Tung Shih Vocational High School of Greater Taichung.
Photo courtesy of the CTBA
Among the other teams reaching the round-of-16 were several perennial contenders, including Ku Pao Vocational High School of New Taipei City, Taoyuan County’s Ping Cheng High School, Nan Ying Vocational High School in Greater Tainan and Greater Taichung’s Si Yuan High School.
“The competition is organized by the CTBA and the sports council. We want to expand youth baseball to all high schools. Already, we are seeing positive effects, with more students wanting to sign up for school teams next year. So the tournament will definitely be larger next year,” CTBA secretary-general Richard Lin said.
“We are looking to emulate the success of Japan’s Koshien competition [a national high-school baseball championship], which has built up a near 100-year-old history with rich traditions,” Lin added, “We hope to sustain the initiative with the support of the public and private sectors, as well as the participation of every high-school team in the nation. Perhaps then the Black Leopard Banner competition can become as long-lasting as the Koshien.”
With the preliminary rounds all wrapped up, the teams willl take a break at the end of the year before the round-of-16 contests start on Thursday next week at the Tianmu Baseball Stadium in Taipei. The championship final is scheduled for Jan. 12.
The value of such competitions can be seen in a previous national high-school championship known as the “Golden Dragon Banner,” which was held 1995 and 2003. Many of the event’s participants went on to become big stars in overseas leagues.
Notable players from that era are known as the “Golden Dragon Banner” generation. They include some of the nation’s biggest international stars, such as Chen Wei-yin, currently with the Baltimore Orioles; former New York Yankee Wang Chien-ming; Kuo Hong-chih, a former Los Angeles Dodger; Kevin Huang, formerly at the Boston Red Sox in the minor leagues; ex-Detroit Tiger Ni Fu-te; the Cleveland Indians’ Lee Chen-chang; Chen Chin-feng, another former Dodger; and Chang Chih-chia, who played for the Seibu Lions in Japan.
Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei on Thursday crashed out of the first round of the women’s singles at the Madrid Open, while Ashleigh Barty eased past Shelby Rogers as the world No. 1 prepares to try to reclaim her French Open title in Paris later this month. Veteran world No. 65 Hsieh fell to a 6-2, 6-4 defeat to Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia in 1 hour, 33 minutes in the Spanish capital. The Taiwanese can now concentrate on the doubles, in which she has teamed up with Elise Mertens of Belgium and been handed the No. 1 seeding and a bye into the second
Argentine soccer icon Diego Maradona received inadequate medical care and was left to his fate for a “prolonged, agonizing period” before he died last year, an expert medical panel said on Friday. In a 70-page document, the panel said that Maradona, who succumbed to a heart attack on Nov. 25 last year at the age of 60, “started to die at least 12 hours before” the moment he was found dead in his bed. Maradona died just weeks after undergoing brain surgery on a blood clot. A panel of 20 experts was convened by Argentina’s public prosecutor to examine the cause of death
WEEKEND MATCHES: Hang Yuan FC’s first game against CPC FC was a tense affair with no one scoring until the 80th minute, but after a flurry of goals Hang Yuan prevailed 2-1 Tainan TSG (Taiwan Steel Group) have had to postpone their trip to Hong Kong to play in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup qualifiers. The AFC on Monday delayed the AFC Cup East Zone Group J qualifier matches in Hong Kong — which were to be held from Friday next week to May 20 — until June 23 to 29 due to international travel and quarantine challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As defending champions of the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL), Tainan TSG are representing Taiwan in Group J against Mongolia’s Athletic 220, and Hong Kong’s Eastern Long Lions and Lee
FURIOUS FANS: The biggest game in English soccer was postponed amid chaotic scenes after about 200 protesters made their way onto the pitch and set off flares Manchester United’s English Premier League clash against Liverpool on Sunday was postponed after furious United fans stormed Old Trafford in protest at the club’s owners, while Gareth Bale scored a hat-trick as Tottenham Hotspur thrashed Sheffield United 4-0. Manchester City would have been crowned champions for the third time in four seasons if second-placed United had lost to Liverpool, but Pep Guardiola’s side saw their hopes of a title party put on hold after the biggest game in English soccer was postponed amid chaotic scenes. The Glazer family, already unpopular for their leveraged buyout of the club 16 years ago that saddled