Kaiserslautern falls to Taiwan in Little League World Series opener, 16-0
Stars and Stripes August 21, 2009
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Kaiserslautern Military Community has one game under its belt in the Little League World Series. It is still waiting for its first hit.
Kaiserslautern was beaten 16-0 in four innings by Taoyuan, Taiwan on Friday at Lamade Stadium in both teams’ opener. Taiwan used four pitchers, each of whom remains eligible for the next game because none exceeded the 20-pitch disqualifying limit.
Cannon Byrd walked in the top of the first off starter Wen Hua Sung to account for Kaiserslautern’s lone baserunner.
“This is a great experience for them to be here,” KMC manager Ed Prince said. “We got kicked in the teeth and didn’t play well, but they hit the ball. We threw our best pitcher at them and there wasn’t much else we could do.”
Taiwan scored six runs in each of the first two innings off Byrd and reliever Chris Holba. Yu Chieh Kao hit a three-run homer in the first as part of a 3-for-3, 6-RBI day. Wen Hua Sung, who homered in the second inning, also was 3-for-3 and drove in three runs.
Kaiserslautern hurt itself by committing six errors that led to seven unearned runs. At that, Prince credited Santee Jackson with some nice plays in center that helped prevent even more scoring.
“It is his first year to ever play baseball,” Prince said. “He is a good athlete and we picked him for that. He patrols the outfield very well and his hitting is coming around.”
Taiwan manager Cheng Ta Lee, whose team is seeking the country’s 18th Little League World Series title, was relieved to get past the first game.
“The German team’s pitching was quite good, and he was fast, but you could tell they were nervous,” Lee said through a translator.
This is the first time since 1999 that a team from Ramstein Air Force Base made it to Williamsport. The 1999 squad qualified through the old European region in the days when the series was limited to eight teams. In this ninth year of a 16-team series, Kaiserslauern is the first military or U.S. civilian team to represent the new European region.
Kaiserslautern is off until Monday, when it takes on Reynosa, Mexico.
“We’ll let them go see their parents tomorrow. I know they haven’t done that much since Poland (for the regionals),” Prince said. “We’ve kept them in the dorms and the compound. But we’ll get serious again on Sunday.”
Ben Brigandi is sports editor of the Williamsport (Pa.) Sun-Gazette