Little League World Series

Game 8: Asia Pacific 18 vs. MEA 0

Small Ball Does The Job Big Time

Kaohsiung, Chinese Taipei goes station-to-station in 18-0 victory over Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

Author: Mark Price

Source: South Williamsport, Pa.

Date/Time: Saturday, August 21, 2010, 6:00pm ET

When Tung-Yu Ho managed Chinese Taipei to a championship in the 1996 Little League World Series, he was accustomed to seeing the ball fly a little higher and farther than it did tonight against Saudia Arabia.

“Obviously for this team, if the batting is not well…[then we] gotta do it more basic, use more speed,” said Tung-Yu.

If “doing it basic” is what Ho calls the display his team put on Saturday night, then perhaps other teams should try keeping the ball in the park as well. Asia-Pacific scored 18 runs on 16 hits, including just four extra base hits (all doubles). But this was more than enough, as the Middle East and Africa (MEA) representatives were never able to shake off the pressure put on by Chinese Taipei’s relentless baserunning.

“They ran the bases very fast, which I think was difficult for us to adjust to,” said Saudi Arabia manager Jeffrey Barnett. “They were very fast, very aggressive. I was impressed.”

Chen Chen-Wei hustled out a double to short right to begin the offensive onslaught for Chinese Taipei. A subsequent series of walks and singles set the table for Hung Chun-Yi, who hit a two-run double to give Asia-Pacific six runs before Saudi Arabia came to the plate.

Chinese Taipei scored two runs to push its lead to 8-0 at the end of the second, which was highlighted by Huang Shao-Fei’s double to center field.

In the third inning, Chinese Taipei doubled its run total without hitting a double, triple or home run. Powered by a string of eight-consecutive singles, the Asia-Pacific All-Stars scratched and clawed their way to an insurmountable lead.

Cheng Wei-Chung best exemplified the Asia-Pacific style of play in the top of the third, filling two different offensive roles, scoring twice and bringing in a run with his bat.

With the score at 10-0, Cheng entered the game as a special pinch runner. As the first pitch of the new at-bat crossed the plate, Cheng faked a steal, attempting to draw a throw from catcher Braden Barnett so the runner at third could score. The very next pitch, he hustled from first to third on a single to right.

Cheng himself would score to make it 12-0, and as soon as he reached the dugout, he was instructed by his manager to turn around and pinch hit. With runners on first and second, Cheng dropped down a bunt, which Saudi Arabia pitcher Bradlee Sumner threw into the outfield. Each runner advanced two bases, pushing the score to 13-0.

Cheng would come around again to tally the final run of the third, moving the score to 16-0 in the favor of the Asia-Pacific All-Stars.

Chinese Taipei called upon Huang Shao-Fei to finish the no-hit bid in the fourth inning, but Jacob Ksiazek denied the Asia-Pacific pitchers, glancing a single off the third baseman’s glove to end the draught for Saudi Arabia.

Huang was not fazed.

“It’s just part of the game,” he said. “Just keep pitching and do the best I can.”

Asia-Pacific promptly eliminated the scoring threat by throwing out Ksiazek when he attempted to steal second on a wild pitch.

Huang then closed out the game by inducing a ground ball to the shortstop and striking out Tanner Beachy swinging.

Chinese Taipei used four pitchers in the game, all of whom will be available for the next contest against Canada Monday at 2:00 at Volunteer Stadium. Saudi Arabia will face Panama in a Pool D elimination game tomorrow at 3:00, also at Volunteer Stadium.