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Updated: July 9, 2017
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Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
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Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2017 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Henk Seppen & Marco Stoovelaar)

Chinese Taipei wins World Port Tournament

ROTTERDAM (Neth.) - Chinese Taipei is the winner of the 16th edition of the World Port Tournament. In an attractive all-Asian Final, Taipei won 3-2 against Japan in 10 innings.

It marks the second time that Chinese Taipei has won the event. The team won the tournament for the first time in 2011. Japan has never won the World Port Tournament.

After the Final, which took almost four hours, the individual and team awards were handed out. Dwayne Kemp of the Netherlands was named Most Valuable Player.

The Netherlands finished in fourth place, which is its lowest position since 2007, when it also ended in fourth position. Cuba, which was the tournament-winner two years ago, ended on a surprising fifth and last place, something which has happened never before. Cuba particpates with a national team in the event since 1997 and since then, it had won the event seven times, while finishing in second place twice. From 1985 to 1995, La Habana represented Cuba in five tournaments, winning the event three times and finishing in third place twice.

...Dwayne Kemp was named Most Valuable Player...
...Hans den Oudendammer, Director of Rotterdam Topsport,...
...handed out the Award...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Curaçao, which made a very good impression and participated with a competitive team, finished in third place, just as it did two years ago.

In 2015, the Netherlands and Cuba met in the Final. This year, these two teams faced each other in the game for fourth and fifth place. This years finalists Chinese Taipei and Japan were to meet in that game two years ago, but that rained out.

Final Standings:
1. Chinese Taipei, 2. Japan, 3. Curaçao, 4. The Netherlands, 5. Cuba.

Individual Awards:
Most Valuable Player: Dwayne Kemp (Netherlands).
Most Popular Player: Koya Araki (Japan).
Best Hitter: Takuya Okura (Japan).
Best Pitcher: Daisuke Yamagami (Japan).
Homerun King: Yi-Hung Chen (Chinese Taipei).
Donald Bax Press Award: Shurendell Mujica (Curaçao).

(July 9)

The Final was an attractive game that offered some nice defensive plays and good hitting, but also some solid pitching. And several pitching and defensive changes, which are custom for Asian teams.

It was Japan that opened the score right away in the top of the first inning off of starter Chih-hung Cheng. Hiroto Kobukata led off the game with a double, advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Masaki Otani and scored on a single by Takuya Okura. A strikeout-caught-stealing-double-play ended the at bat.

After Japan had left two runners behind in the second inning, Taipei came alongside in the bottom of the at bat off of starter Kazuma Okada. Yi-hung Chen led off with a single and moved on a sacrifice bunt by Chun-kai Liao. Next batter Chia-yu Lin walked and then Hsin-chuan Wang followed with a runscoring single.

In the following innings, it was Japan that got the most runners in scoring position. However, the squad left 16 runners behind in total, including ten in scoring position. Taipei stranded 13 runners, including three in the tenth inning, but that was because the game ended on a walk-off single.

Japan left runners on third base in both the third and fourth inning. Taipei then answered by scoring a run in the bottom of the fourth to take a 2-1 lead. And the same players were involved, who also scored the first Taiwanese run in the second inning. Yi-hung Chen again led off with a single, moved on a sacrifice bunt by Chun-kai Liao, reached third base on a single by Chia-yu Lin, then scored on another runscoring single by Hsin-chuan Wang.

Hereafter, the game belonged to the defense of both teams.

Trailing 2-1, Japan appeared to turn the game its way in the top of the fifth inning when it got the bases loaded with no outs. But the team was unable to score! Masaki Otani led off with a single and Takuya Okura walked. Hereafter, Chien-lung Huang became the fourth Taiwanese pitcher. He walked Yudai Nakanishi, which loaded the bases. A force out at the plate then followed on a grounder by pinch-hitter Naoyuki Wakiya. A flyout and strikeout then closed the at bat.

...Players and staff-members of...
...Chinese Taipei celebrate...
...the tournament-win...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Japan left a runner behind on third base for the fourth and fifth time in the seventh and eighth inning. With one out in the seventh, Takuya Okura and Yudai Nakanishi singled. A force out followed, which brought Okura to third base, then Cheng-hao Wang became the new pitcher and closed with a strikeout. In the eighth, Ryota Maeda led off with a single, moved on a sacrifice bunt and a single, but also stranded on third base.

Taipei got into scoring position only twice in the fifth through eighth inning, reaching second base twice.

In the top of the ninth, Japan came alongside with two outs! Takuya Okura led off with a walk and with that reached base for the fifth consecutive time in this game. He moved on a sacrifice bunt by Yudai Nakanishi and reached third on a grounder by Naoyuki Wakiya. Japan then got another baserunner when pinch-hitter Takuma Hirayama was awarded first base on catcher's interference. Hereafter, Ryota Maeda hit the ball into left-centerfield for a runscoring single to tie the score at 2-2.

Taipei got close to winning the game in the bottom of the ninth off of reliever Takahiro Yamamoto, the fourth pitcher for Japan. With two outs, Ching-han Ko drilled the ball into left-centerfield for a double. Next batter Han Lin then singled into short rightfield. While the ball was fielded quickly, Ko was waved home to provoke a perfect play and that indeed came from three players who didn't start the game. Rightfielder Ryoto Maeda threw the ball to first baseman Naoyuki Wakiya, who got it in time to catcher Takuma Hirayama to tag out the sliding Ko and end the inning. Maeda entered the game in the seventh inning, Wakiya took over at first base in the fifth inning and Hirayama came into the game in the top of the ninth inning as pinch-hitter and became the third catcher for Japan in the bottom of the ninth.

And so, the game went into extra innings.

In the top of the tenth inning, Koya Araki led off with a single and moved on a sacrifice bunt, but stranded on second base.

Taipei then decided the game in the bottom of the tenth inning. Chia-wei Huang led off with a single, then his pinch-runner Wei-ming Huang moved on a sacrifice bunt by Yi-hung Chen. Next batter Chun-kai Liao then reached on an infield-hit, which kept Huang on second base. The bases got loaded when a fly into leftfield by Chia-yu Lin ended in an error. The two baserunners of course initially waited whether or not the ball was caught and advanced when the ball dropped. Hereafter, Hsin-Chuan Wang hit the ball into short centerfield for a walk-off single that gave Taipei a 3-2 victory and the tournament-win.

...Left: Kazuma Okada was the starting pitcher for Japan...
...Right: Tzu-peng Huang pitched in relief for Chinese Taipei...

...Left: Masaki Otani steals 2nd base in the 5th inning; Short stop Chun-kai Liao has no control over the ball...
...Right: Chun-kai Liao reaches on an infield-hit in the 10th inning; 1B Naoyuki Wakiya receives the ball...

...Left: Cheng-hao Wang was the winning pitcher for Chinese Taipei...
...Right: Taipei Coach Ying-nan Li is tossed in the air by his players after winning the Final and the tournament...

...Left: Taiwan Ambassador Representative Tai-chu 'Tom' Chou also is tossed in the air during the celebrations...
...Right: Bart Volkerijk, President of the Organizing Committee, addresses the spectators during the Award Ceremony...
...He thanked all players, coaches, officials, sponsors and everyone involved for a successful tournament...

...Left: KNBSB-President Ron Schel hands out the award for the Most Popular Player to Koya Araki (Japan)...
...Right: Marco Stoovelaar of De Telegraaf-newspaper and Grand Slam * Stats & News hands out...
...the Donald Bax Press Award to Shurendell Mujica (Curaçao)...

...Left: KNBSB-President Ron Schel hands out the 4th Place Trophy to...
...Netherlands Team Manager Sidney de Jong and Pitcher Diegomar Markwell...
...Right: Anthony Begina, Minister Plenipotentiary of Curaçao, hands out the 3rd Place Trophy... player Shurendell Mujica and Manager Raymond Van Gurp...

...Left: Erik van Jarwaarde, Director of tournament-sponsor Vendit, has handed out the 2nd Place Trophy to...
...Japan Manager Kazutoyo Hayase and Pitcher Kosuke Fukushima...
...Right: Bart Brinkman, Business Manager Maritime & Offshore of Rotterdam Partners, has handed out...
...the 1st Place Trophy to Chinese Taipei Manager Shun-i Hsu and Infielder Ming-chueh Tsai...

...Chinese Taipei is the winner of the 16th edition of the World Port Tournament...
(© Photos: Henk Seppen)

...Left: Lou Prince and Ray Martin sing 'Take Me Out To The Ball Game' during the 7th inning stretch...
...Right: Ray Martin, Lou Prince and Tommy Scott, the 'Dutch Rat Pack', perform during the 7th inning stretch...
(© Both Photos: Marco Stoovelaar)

Chinese Taipei - Japan 3-2 (10 inn.)
Japan100000001 0-2131
Chinese Taipei010100000 1-3111
(one out when winning run was scored in the tenth inning)
pitchers Japaninn.SOBBHRER
Kazuma Okada3.131522

Ryosuke Fujii3.1-31--

Akira Yamaguchi1.12----

Takahiro Yamamoto, L (1-2)1.11-51-

pitchers Chinese Taipeiinn.SOBBHRER
Chih-hung Cheng1.111311

Wen-hao Cheng1.1-11--

Tzu-peng Huang1.1 (*)213--

Chien-lung Huang, H (1) 2.2312--

Cheng-hao Wang, BS (1), W (1-0)3.111411
(*) - T.P. Huang pitched to two batters in the fifth inning
Box Score
HP-Edwin Louisa (Neth.), 1B-Fabrizio Fabrizi (Italy),
2B-Stenar van Groningen Schinkel (Neth.), 3B-Winfried Berkvens (Neth.),
LF-Martijn Bosschaart (Neth.), RF-Ken Macri (Belgium).
Official Scorer-Brendy De Smet (Belgium).
Play-by-Play Scorer-Huub Nelissen (Neth.).
Technical Commissioner-Johan Brandsma (Neth.).
Public Address Announcers-Hélène van Eijk, Jason Houtkamp.
Scoreboard Operator-Lex Looijen.
Starting Time-1:33 PM.
Time Played-3:48 hrs.
Site-Neptunus Familiestadion, Sportpark Abraham van Stolkweg, Rotterdam (site Neptunus).

Game Notes:
Ceremonial first pitch thrown by Jannelieke Aalstein, interim-director of Rotterdam Partners.
'Take Me Out To The Ball Game' performed by Lou Prince and Ray Martin.
After 'Take Me Out To The Ball Game', the 'Dutch Rat Pack' (Lou Prince, Ray Martin, Tommy Scott) performed an additional song.

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