TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Wei Chuan Dragons won Game 7 of the Taiwan Series against the Rakuten Monkeys at Tianmu Stadium on Sunday evening (Nov. 13), winning their first professional league championship in 24 years.
The Dragons ran out to a five-run lead in the first inning, and ultimately held on to win the game 6-3, the fifth championship in team history. The win made Dragons manager Yeh Chun-chang (葉君璋) the first coach in the history of Taiwan’s professional baseball league to lead two teams to the championship, per PTS.
Tianmu Stadium was a sea of red as Dragon supporters wore team colors at their home stadium. Champagne filled the air when the Dragons rushed the field after the final out.
The Dragons won the league championship in just their third year in the league, later winning three consecutive championships from 1997–1999, though few could imagine it would take another 8,769 days to secure another title.
Wei Chuan Dragons celebrate winning Taiwan Series. (CNA photo)
This victory was not assured going all the way to Game 7 against the Monkeys, who would get on the board first with an RBI single from designated hitter Liao Chieh-fu (廖健富) in the first. But the Dragons responded quickly in the bottom half of the inning as Monkey’s starter Jake Dahlberg struggled with control, giving up five base-on-balls in one inning.
He ultimately exited the game, pitching just two-thirds of an inning and putting his team in a deep hole as the Monkeys fell behind 5-1 after the first inning. The Monkeys would go on to score two runs in the top of the second inning, though that would be the extent of scoring as Dragons starter Drew Gagnon would settle down and complete six solid innings.
The Dragons later turned to closer Jake Brigham to seal the victory in the ninth. After the win, Dragons manager Yeh Chun-chang (葉君璋) thanked Wei Chuan Chair Wei Ying-chun (魏應充) for the opportunity to coach the team as well as the support of fans.
"I feel that this MVP does not only belong to me but to the entire Wei Chuan Dragons and the fans," said Dragons Game 6 starter Hsu Jo-hsi (徐若熙), who was voted MVP for the overall series. Hsu was the starter for two games in the championship series, going 11 innings with 11 strikeouts.