Taiwan wins IBAF 12U baseball title (update)
- Submitted by: manso
- 07 / 17 / 2011
Taipei, July 17 (CNA) Taiwan won the first IBAF 12U Baseball World Championship in Taipei on Sunday by edging Cuba 3-2 in the tournament's championship game.
The triumph was a major boost for youth baseball in Taiwan, which has seen a decline in fortunes in recent international tournaments.
It was once a powerhouse in Little League baseball but has not won a Little League World Series -- which pits teams composed of players from single school districts against each other -- since 1996.
The IBAF tournament was the first time national teams of players of Little League age (12 or under) had ever competed on a world stage, and Taiwan grabbed the opportunity to shine.
Taiwan rode a strong complete-game outing from starter Tseng Wei-en to emerge victorious over a team that it had lost to 6-2 in the preliminary round.
Tseng yielded only five hits and struck out one over six innings.
The Cubans threatened to mount a comeback in the bottom of the sixth, pulling to within one when Mailon Alonso drove him a run with a two-out single, but Tseng then retired pinch-hitter Yerandy Hernandez on a groundout to short, setting off a wild celebration.
Yeh Chao-yu drove in Taiwan's first run in the top of the second after Yang En-chieh reached second on a throwing error, but Miguel Vargas hit a solo home run in the bottom of the inning to tie the game.
Taiwan responded in the top of the third, when Wan Chao-ching drove in two runs with a clutch two-out triple, giving Taiwan a 3-1 lead that Tseng successfully held.
The game was originally slated to open at 3 p.m., but was delayed until 5 p.m. due to heavy rains. Despite the unpredictable weather, 9,200 people packed into Tianmu Baseball Stadium for the final. (By Hsiao Po-hsiang and Alex Jiang) enditem/ls