With every pitch, every out and every inning, it was crystal clear the Bay County, Mich., players were gaining confidence.
However, even with darkness rapidly approaching, Bay County manager Dan Revette could see it’s still difficult to score runs against Chinese Taipei.
Chinese Taipei scored three runs over the first two innings and then held off Bay County, 3-1, Monday night in a winner’s bracket game at the Pony League World Series.
The game ended just before nightfall. A power outage in the afternoon that hit a section of Washington that includes Washington Park left Lew Hays Pony Field without lights. That made the game a rush to complete before it became too dark.
“I really didn’t think we should have started the last inning,” Revette said.
The twilight, however, didn’t cause any misplays by Chinese Taipei or Bay County, who combined to play the best game of the World Series so far. The lighting situation did cause a change in the schedule. The other winners’ bracket game between Hilo, Hawaii, and Los Mochis, Mexico, which was scheduled for 8 p.m., was postponed and will be played at 10 a.m. today as the first of five contests.
By playing and winning Monday, Chinese Taipei catches a break in the schedule. It is the only team remaining in the World Series that will not have to play at least two games today to stay in the tournament.
Bay County will play Levitttown, P.R., at 12:30 p.m. The winner plays Chinese Taipei at 5:30 p.m.
“We’re ready. We have all our pitchers available, even if we have to play two games,” Revette said.
And playing two games would mean a rematch with Chinese Taipei, which Bay County would like to have after outscoring the Asia-Pacific Zone champion 1-0 over the final five innings.
“We played a whale of a game,” Revette said. “We’re going to do the best we can to stay in this the rest of the week, and I think we can. I’d like to see (Chinese Taipei) again.”
Though Bay County played well, Chinese Taipei was even better, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first inning, then getting a second-inning solo home run that was originally called a foul ball.
Zong Chi Chiang was hit by a pitch from Bay County starter Cameron Floyd with one out in the first inning and scored on Tay Yu Chiu’s double for the game’s first run. Wei Hung Tu’s single drove in Chao Yu Yeh, who had doubled, to make the score 2-0 after one inning.
Wei Lee opened the bottom of the second with a drive that hugged the left-field line and carried over the fence. The home-plate umpire originally called the ball foul, but after conferring with the third-base umpire he reversed the call and Lee had a homer that pushed Chinese Taipei’s lead to 3-0.
Bay County then received three shutout innings of relief from Drew Schultz and one from Wakeman Edelbrock, but the offense could muster only one run.
Starter Lu We Chiang and relievers Yi Lin Chiu and Chun Hsiao Chen combined on a four-hitter with eight strikeouts.
Bay County scored in the sixth when Logan LaCourse reached on a fielding error and Nick Dardas doubled into the right-field corner.
“We stayed right with them,” Revette said. “I’m proud of the way we stayed in there and battled. Each pitcher I put out there was more confident.
“But I’ve been to the World Series seven times. I’ve seen Chinese Taipei and I know they’re well-coached, disciplined and they don’t give you extra outs. You have to earn everything you get.”