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Updated: October 31, 2018
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(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Henk Seppen)

Uni-Lions evens Taiwan Series against Monkeys

TAINAN / TAOYUAN (Taiwan) - On Tuesday (October 30), Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions evened the best-of-seven Taiwan Series, which opened last Saturday, after winning against Lamigo Monkeys.

The Championship-Final of the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) began with two games at Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium in Taoyuan, the home site of opponent Lamigo Monkeys. In the regular season, the Monkeys finished in first place in both the first (38-22) and second half (35-25) to become the winner of the season. With that, the team automatically qualified for the Taiwan Series and began the Final with an one-game win advantage.

Uni-Lions, which finished in second place, met Fubon Guardians in the Play-Offs to decide the second finalist. Uni-Lions won the series 3-1 to reach the Taiwan Series.

In the opening game of the Taiwan Series, defending champion Lamigo Monkeys recorded a comfortable 15-6 victory to take a 2-0 lead in the Final. The following day, Uni-Lions won 4-2.

On Tuesday, Game 3 was played in Tainan at Tainan Municipal Baseball Stadium, the home of Uni-Lions. There, the home-team won 10-4 to even the Series at 2-2.

Game 4 will be played on Thursday in Tainan.

(October 31)

...Chieh-Hsien Chen hitting for Taiwan during the 2014...
...Haarlem Baseball Week in the Netherlands...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions defeated Fubon Guardians in the best-of-five Play-Off Series. On October 22, at Xinzhuang Baseball Stadium in New Taipei City, the team won 9-8 in Game 4 to win the Play-Offs 3-1 and reach the Taiwan Series after a 5-year absence. In the game, Uni-Lions trailed 4-2 after three innings, but then scored three runs in the fourth. In that at bat, with two outs, the team got the bases loaded and Chieh-Hsien Chen was the batter. Chen led the Chinese Professional Baseball League this year in basehits. He underscored that he is one of the best hitters in the CPBL by hitting a single through the middle to bring in two runs and tie the score.

In 2014, Chen participated in the Haarlem Baseball Week in Haarlem with the National Team of Chinese Taipei. A year later, he again traveled to the Netherlands with the Taiwanese Team to participate in the World Port Tournament in Rotterdam.

Uni-Lions added two runs in both the fifth and sixth inning. However, leading 9-4, the team saw Guardians come back from the seventh inning to narrow the deficit to 9-8. Uni-Lions was outhit 13-11, but won the game.

Uni-Lions opened the Play-Offs on October 19 at home in Tainan with a 4-1 win. In the first game, the score was tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the ninth, but then Fu-Lin Kuo belted a walk-off, 3-run homerun.

Fubon Guardians then won Game 2, also played in Tainan, with a convincing 11-2 score. The Series then moved to New Taipei City, where Uni-Lions took the lead again by winning 4-2 in Game 3.

...Po-Jung Wang playing for Taiwan during the 2014...
...Haarlem Baseball Week in the Netherlands...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
In the opening game of the Taiwan Series, the Monkeys needed one inning to decide the game en route to a 15-6 victory. The team trailed 1-0 halfway the second inning, but then rallied for a record ten runs in its second at bat. The Monkeys collected 20 basehits in the game. Four of them were hit by Po-Jung Wang, who participated in the 2013 World Port Tournament and 2014 Haarlem Baseball Week with Taiwan.

Highlight in the productive second inning was a grand slam homerun by Shih-Hao Liu off of Lions-starter Ryan Verdugo. The 31-year old Mexican-American lefthander pitched in one Major League-game, which he did in 2012 for Kansas City Royals. Thereafter, Verdugo played in Mexico and in the Minor League for several clubs. In February of this year, he was signed by Uni-Lions. On October 7, Verdugo threw the first Perfect Game in the 29th year history of the CPBL. That day, Uni-Lions played against Chinatrust Brothers. Verdugo, who needed only 92 pitches, retired his 25th, 26th and 27th consecutive batter in the top of the ninth inning. However, he was unable to celebrate his Perfect Game, as the score still was 0-0. But moments later, the celebrations started as Fu-Lin Kuo led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk-off homerun!

Following Liu's grand slam homerun, Yin-Lun Lan also homered. The home-team added three more runs n the third inning when Po-Jung Wang hit a 2-run homerun and Hong-Yu Lin added a solo-homerun.

On Sunday, Bumblebee, a character of the Transformers-movie franchise, threw the ceremonial first pitch. The Lions initially again faced a deficit, trailing 2-0 after six innings, but this time, the team came back and turned the game its way, winning 4-2.

...Chih-Chieh Su after hitting a homerun for Taiwan during...
...the 2014 Haarlem Baseball Week...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
The Lions-pitching held the Monkeys scoreless from the sixth inning on. In the top of then seventh, the Lions scored one run, then took the lead by scoring twice in the eighth at bat. In the ninth, the team added its fourth run.

As in the first game, both teams started with an American pitcher, Michael Nix for the Monkeys and Josh Roenicke for the Lions. In the fourth inning, the Monkeys opened the score on a double by Yu-Hsien Chu. The team doubled its lead in the fifth when Yin-Lun Lan led off with a homerun.

After a pitching change, Lions scored its first run in the seventh inning when Chih-Chieh Su homered. Like Chieh-Hsien Chen and Po-Jung Wang, Su also played for the Taiwanese National Team during the 2014 Haarlem Baseball Week in the Netherlands.

In the eighth inning, Lions took the lead. With the bases loaded, pinch-hitter Chia-Yi Mai batted in two runs with a single.

On Tuesday, in Game 3, Monkeys took the lead for the third time by scoring three runs in the top of the first inning. But thereafter, the team was held scoreless until the eighth inning by six relievers. In the bottom of the first, the Lions rallied for four runs off of American Zeke Spruill to take a 4-3 lead.

The home-team then took more distance from the fourth inning on and went on to win 10-4. Leading 8-3, the team gave up a run in the top of the eighth, but answered with two of their own.

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