Photo courtesy of Jeff Jones, Capture Inc. Photographic Services
WASHINGTON, Pennsylvania- After six days, sixteen games and a rain delay, lasting one hour and two minutes, Chinese Taipei and Maui, Hawaii went at it in a winner-take-all championship game at Lew Hays PONY Field for the Roy Gillespie Trophy.
It was the third-consecutive year the championship game pitted the West Zone Champions against the Asia-Pacific Zone Champions and both teams made their way to the championship game relatively easy.
Maui's road included a 3-0 record with victories against Paderborn, Germany in Game #6, 9-0, Laredo, Texas in Game #12, 6-5 and Bay County, Michigan, 19-3.
This was Maui's second appearance in the DICK'S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series championship game, first since 1980, and the fourth championship game appearance for the state of Hawaii.
Chinese Taipei also boasted a 3-0 record going into the championship game, with wins against Los Mochis, Mexico in Game #5 and Game #15, 5-0 and 9-2 respectively and against Chesterfield, Virginia, 10-0, in Game #11.
This was Chinese Taipei's seventh championship appearance in the last nine years, and the 13thchampionship appearance all-time.
With both teams fresh, throwing ace pitchers, scoring started in the second inning, when Chinese Taipei catcher Lin, Chen Hsun belted a solo homerun in the thick, humid, Washington, Pennsylvania air, to right field, giving Chinese Taipei a 1-0 lead after two innings.
Chinese Taipei tacked on five runs in the bottom of the third, starting when Wang, Hao Che scored on a throwing error by Maui third baseman Andre Beaudoin and Chang, Hung Chieh scored on the same play, by way of an error by Maui second baseman Micah Kele.
On the play, Chinese Taipei starting pitcher Lin, Tzu Wei was injured rounding second and was replaced on the base path.
Due to being replaced, the book on Lin, Tzu Wei closed, allowing no runs, one hit, two walks and seven strikeouts over three innings.
The other three runs came off RBI singles by Huang, Kai and Li, Han Sheng, as well as an RBI hit by pitch with the bases loaded for Wang, Hao Che.
After exploding for 19 runs and 19 hits, Maui's bats were at a stalemate against Chinese Taipei, mustering just one hit in the first three innings, until right fielder Konnor Palmeira cranked a moonshot to dead center off Chinese Taipei's Chang, Hung Chieh, making it 6-1.
Chinese Taipei earned the run allowed in the top of the fourth, back in the bottom of the fourth, when Li, Han Sheng drove in Shen, Po Yu on a sacrifice fly to center field, making the score 7-1 after four.
Maui starting pitcher, Kaipo Haole's day ended after four innings, allowing seven runs, five earned, six hits, four walks and five strikeouts.
Maui got to Chang, Hung Chieh again in the sixth, when Hauoli Caliva sent the second solo home run of the game for Maui to left field, cutting the lead to 7-2.
In the bottom of the sixth, Huang, Kai doubled to right center, scoring Shen, Po Yu, making the score 8-2 and ending the relief outing for Maui's Graydon Tanaka.
Kaeo Kamau entered in relief of Tanaka and the first batter he faced was Chinese Taipei's home run threat, Lin, Chen Hsun.
On the second pitch of the at-bat, Lin, Chen Hsun crushed his second home-run of the game, a two-run home run to right field, making it 10-2.
The home run was Lin, Chen Hsun's sixth home run of the 2016 DICK's Sporting Goods PONY League World Series, tying the all-time record with Javier Lopez of Los Mochis, Mexico (2013) and Mario Feliciano of Bayamon, Puerto Rico (2013).
Tanaka's book closed after the home run, allowing two runs, both earned, two hits and two strikeouts over one and one-third innings.
The second run of the home run was added to Kamau's book was then pulled from the hill.
Andre Beaudoin took over for Maui and Chinese Taipei added its eleventh run with an RBI groundout by Wei, You Bo.
Chinese Taipei would walk-off to win in ten-run fashion when Wang, Hao Che singled the ball of Beaudoin, scoring Chen, Yen Kai, ending the game with a 12-2 victory in six innings.
Both runs scored while Beaudoin was on the hill were inherited runners of Kamau, ending his line, allowing three runs, all earned and two hits, without recording an out.
Haole picks up the loss for Maui and Lin, Tzu Wei picked up the win for Chinese Taipei.
Despite not picking up the win or loss, Chang, Hung Chieh was stellar in relief, allowing two runs, both earned, four hits and five strikeouts in three innings.
For the second straight year, the West Zone Champion, this year Maui, was unable to upend Chinese Taipei and finishes as the runner-up in the 2016 DICK'S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series.
Chinese Taipei on the other hand, wins its second-consecutive DICK'S Sporting Goods PONY League World Series, the first country since Puerto Rico in 2006 and 2007 to accomplish that feat. The 2016 championship also marks the eighth all-time for Chinese Taipei, moving it into second place on the list of all-time championships behind California's 21.