TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan faced long-term rival South Korea in the opening round of the Asian Baseball Championship, with a strong outing by starting pitcher Hsu Ruo-hsi (徐若熙), leading the home team to a victory 4-0 at the first official game held at Taipei Dome.
A crowd of 16,647 fans was on hand to see Hsu strike out 10 batters as South Korea went three up and three down, three times during the first five innings. Hsu tossed 77 pitches over seven innings, throwing 65 for strikes, per Liberty Times.
Hsu handed duties to 18-year-old reliever Sun I-lei (孫易磊), who closed out the game. Sun was able to protect a four-run lead and seal the victory for Taiwan.
Tossing both the first pitch and earning the first win in an international competition at the Taipei Dome was a moment in history that was not lost on Taiwan starting pitcher Hsu Ruo-hsi (徐若熙).
After the game, he said, “Taipei Dome is perfect. The fans were screaming as soon as I stepped on the pitcher's mound. It was a special feeling, and I am happy the coaches chose me for the first game, and that I could live up to their expectations.”
Fans treated to first win in international competition at Taipei Dome. (CNA photo)
Hsu was aided by Taiwan’s offense, which notched 10 hits in the game. Lin Chen-fei (林承飛) was the first to get a hit in the Taipei Dome. "I didn't think about getting the first hit in the Taipei Dome. I just thought about getting on base and helping our offense,” Lin said after the game.
The eight-day Asian Baseball Championship is a biennial event that serves as a qualifier for the Olympics, though baseball will not be included in the 2024 Paris Olympics. However, it is scheduled for a comeback in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
Taiwan and South Korea are in Group A, along with Hong Kong and Palestine. Meanwhile, Group B consists of the Philippines, Pakistan, and Thailand. A super round is scheduled for Friday and Saturday (Dec. 8–9), with finals set for Sunday (Dec. 10), according to the Baseball Federation of Asia (BFA).
Apart from competitions at the Taipei Dome, the BFA has scheduled other games for the Asian Baseball Championships at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium and New Taipei's Xinzhuang Baseball Stadium.