The final competition of the 29th Asian Baseball Championship took place at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium tonight (October 20), and Chinese Taipei defeated Japan 5-4 to win the first gold in the championship in 18 years, taking home the team's 5th gold cup in history. Taichung Mayor Shiow-yen Lu watched the entire game and rooted fervently for Chinese Taipei. At the closing ceremony, she also presented Chinese Taipei with the gold cup, which has successfully retained the championship title in Taiwan.
During the opening ceremony of the Asian Baseball Championship, Mayor Lu presented members of the Chinese Taipei team with fresh fruits on behalf of the citizens, and she also stayed for the full duration of tonight's championship match with Chinese Taipei Baseball Association President Chung-liang Ku and Prince of the Forest Tai-shan Chang. Together, they held cheer megaphones in their hands and became the fans of team Chinese Taipei. During the 1st half of the 2nd inning, Chinese Taipei's bases were loaded, and Chin-te Chang hit a triple after Japan scored the first run. This cleared the bases and gave Taiwan a 3-1 lead, and Mayor Lu jumped up from her seat ecstatically, cheering on Chinese Taipei with the capacity crowd.
During the 2nd half of the 7th inning, with 2 outs and a runner on the base for Japan, Chinese Taipei was only leading by one point; after the 20-year-old emerging talent, Fireball Man Chih-jung Liu, took to the pitcher's mound, he struck out 5 batters in 2.1 innings, averaging speeds of above 150km/h to successfully contain the Japanese batting lineup. He was awarded MVP (Most Valuable Player) of this year's championship, and when Chinese Taipei defeated the opponent by one point, Mayor Lu exclaimed Chinese Taipei is the champion repeatedly!
"After 18 years, Chinese Taipei has finally clinched gold once again!" Chinese Taipei Baseball Association President Chung-liang Ku thanked his colleagues for organizing the matches over the last several days. He also expressed his overwhelming joy after Chinese Taipei beat Japan to clinch the first gold since 2001.
The biennial Asian Baseball Championship is organized by the Baseball Federation of Asia and hosted by various Asian countries according to a rotation system. Since its inception in 1954, this year's 29th Asian Baseball Championship saw the participation of 8 teams from Japan, China, Korea, Hong Kong, Philippines, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and this year's host Chinese Taipei. The tournament was held at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium and Taichung Baseball Field during October 14-20.
Chinese Taipei has exhibited remarkable performance this year; as the second-ranked team in group A, Chinese Taipei encountered second-ranked South Korea and the top team in group B China in the Super Round. Chinese Taipei defeated both teams and competed head to head against Japan in the final game to clinch gold and in turn it is guaranteed a spot in the final Olympic Qualifier next year.
The Sports Bureau emphasizes that the city government has strived to promote baseball, successfully hosting a number of major international competitions in Taichung and receiving the title of “World Baseball Capital” by International Baseball Federation (IBAF). After the successful conclusion of this year's Asian Baseball Championship, the WBSC Premier12 preliminary round in Taiwan will take place at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium from November 5 to 7. The hosting of several international baseball competitions by Taichung in succession signifies the city's flourishing baseball development. The Sports Bureau welcomes baseball fans throughout Taiwan to come to Taichung to support Chinese Taipei.