Taiwan’s hopes at Bronco World Series dashed by a rules blunder
Unable to deploy its top pitchers because of a misunderstanding of the rules, Taiwan’s team of 11 and 12 year olds was eliminated from the 2015 Pony International Bronco World Series by Puerto Rico on Monday.
Despondent at not having its best pitchers available, the Taiwanese players were uninspired and lost 17-0 in five innings to a team they had defeated 11-8 the night before to stay alive in the double elimination tournament.
Taiwan, which lost its opening game of tournament on Friday, needed a win on Saturday and two wins on Sunday to climb back into contention and play for a spot in the championship game.
Comprised mostly of players from Xizhi Elementary School in New Taipei, the Taiwanese team had planned to send its top four pitchers to the mound in the semifinal showdown against Bayamon of Puerto Rico, the Bronco division Caribbean champion.
Ace Pitcher Ruled Out
Ace Wu Chih-lun was ruled out with an injury before the game, however, and the other three — Yang Cheng-yu, Hsiao Yang-chen and Wang Hsiang-en — were ruled ineligible to pitch when Taiwan’s manager Chang Yao-teng presented the team’s lineup before the game.
According to Pony League rules, pitchers cannot pitch two days in a row if they throw more than three innings the first day.
In Taiwan’s two wins on Sunday, Yang, Hsiao and Wang all pitched more than three innings, leaving them unavailable for the semifinal.
Chang said that prior to the tournament, he double-checked the rule with the organizers and was told that pitchers could not throw a second day in a row if they pitched three innings “per game.”
Coaching Staff Held
“The coaching staff should be held responsible for the defeat” because it did not confirm the rules, Chang said.
Once his top pitchers were ruled out, Chang started Shih Chihchien, who the team did not plan to have pitch in the World Series.
Shih retired the Puerto Ricans in order in the first inning, but he had to leave the game when he was injured by a ball hit by Bayamon’s lead-off batter in the second hitting, and the Taiwanese collapsed after that.
Bayamon smashed seven home runs in scoring five runs in the second, four in the third, and eight in the fourth, while Taiwan managed only one hit in the game, which was called after 4 1/2 innings because Bayamon led by more than 10 runs.
Chang said that without its top pitchers, the team’s morale was sapped and it performed far less than its best at the plate or in the field.
It was the second year in row Taiwan finished third at the Bronco World Series, which was held at Los Alamitos, California from Aug. 7 to 10.
The tournament was attended by eight Pony Bronco League teams from around the world, consisting of the champions from the Asia-Pacific region, the Caribbean, Mexico and the United States.