Little League World Series

Game 31: Asia-Pacific 14 vs. Southwest 2

Like Apples and Pears

Chinese Taipei reasserted its dominance in Sunday’s Little League Baseball World Series Consolation Game, topping Pearland, Texas, 14-2

Author: Allie Weinberger

Source: South Williamsport, Pa.

Date/Time: Sunday, August 29, 2010, 11:00am ET

Chinese Taipei slugged out eight hits in the first inning, driving in nine runs and going through a pair of Southwest pitchers before even taking the field in Sunday’s Little League World Series Consolation Game at Howard J. Lamade Stadium, ultimately taking a mercy-rule 14-2 win over a Texas side that couldn’t overcome the early deficit.

The Pearland White Little Leaguers were no match for a potent Chinese Taipei side, as Asia-Pacific’s bats woke up for 14 hits after getting just four off Japan in Saturday’s International Championship.

“It was a great game other than the top half of the first inning,” said Southwest manager Mike Orlando.

Texas stepped to the plate for the first time more than 20 minutes into the contest already in a 9-0 hole and could never recover facing Taiwanese pitcher Wei-Chih Chen, who threw a complete-game four-hitter after being lifted with just one out in the first in Saturday’s extra-innings loss to Japan.

“Before the game [yesterday] in the bullpen, he was actually pitching well. But yesterday after he pitched about 19 pitches, I called a time out to ask if he was OK,” said manager Tung-Yu Ho through interpreter and coach Cola Yeh. “He said he was feeling nervous, so I took him out in preparation for either the championship game or the third-place game.”

Hsun-Hao Shih’s no doubter highlighted Asia-Pacific’s first-frame outbreak, giving the visiting side a one-out 3-0 lead with a towering home run that landed two-thirds of the way up the hill in left field. Chinese Taipei would score the next six runs with two outs, aided by three wild pitches, a pair of errors and a passed ball in the inning.

In the bottom of the third, the Texas All-Stars cut into Asia-Pacific’s then 13-run lead by a pair when Chris Legey legged out a triple from the nine-spot with one down. Beau Orlando trumped his teammate’s three-bagger seconds later, taking Chen deep to right. The two-run shot cut the score to 13-2.

Chinese Taipei tacked on another run in the fourth to make it 14-2, needing to keep the Southwest champs to just two scores to complete the mercy-rule victory. But Texas would get just a single baserunner in the final half-inning, unable to score him as the Southwest champs saw just four hitters come to the plate.

“Obviously, [Texas] can play in the top four teams, [so] they’re always strong, you can’t ever count them out,” said Ho. “You never know, especially a USA team, [if they can come back]. They have a really strong hitting lineup… so we tried to get a big lead.”

Pearland got just four hits and five baserunners in the loss, while 10 of 12 Chinese Taipei batters recorded at least one hit. Chen-Wei Chen went 3-for-4 on the day, while Shao-Fei Huang and Hsun-Hao Shih both went 2-for-2 with a pair of runs scored. Wei-Chih Chen struck out four in the shortened affair – fanning the side in the bottom of the first – and issued a single walk to get the win for Asia-Pacific.

“They had some good sticks, we knew that,” said Orlando. “I thought we were gonna see some more bunts. The Taipei team is very aggressive, and we knew that they’re all fast kids, so they take advantage of any small miscue where a player bobbles the ball… but they were definitely fast and they had some power.”

And now, for both these teams, it’s time to watch the championship game – and then head back home and back to school, friends and normal life.

“It’s meant a tremendous amount to me and team, the support we’ve had since we started this thing,” Orlando said. “Every team that we beat while getting here, they were all very gracious losers and let us know that they were now our fans. And through districts, regionals – our fan base grew larger and larger. I heard from a lot a lot of people, and that means a lot.

“I don’t know how they adjust to being regular kids again, though,” he added, “but they’ll figure it out.”