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2019: U-18 Baseball World Cup - Epic Lo performance helps Chinese Taipei end USA dominance

2019: U-18 Baseball World Cup - Epic Lo performance helps Chinese Taipei end USA dominance
29/12/2019
USA was the four-time defending champions, but they met a star player in Lo Wie Chieh who proved to be the difference in the final. The announcement of Chinese Taipei as U-18 baseball champions became the WBSC's most liked Facebook post ever.


Left fielder Lo Wie Chieh was the hero for Chinese Taipei as the world No. 4 surprised four-time defending world champions USA to claim the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup for the first time.

The left hand hitter denied extra-base hits to USA's Colby Halter in the second and Robert Hassell in the third. "This is a World Cup," Lo said. "I thought I had a chance on those balls and I took it. You need also to be lucky, to make those plays."


2019 Series: Year in Review
U-19 Softball World Cup - USA first to three-peat as U-19 world champs
U-18 Baseball World Cup - Epic Lo performance helps Chinese Taipei end USA dominance
U-12 Softball Mixed World Cup - WBSC makes huge step on gender equality with first-ever mixed event
U-12 Baseball World Cup - Chen hits Chinese Taipei home in new home for U-12 baseball
Softball Olympic Qualifiers - Mexico in Olympics for first time as softball field complete
Baseball Olympic Qualifiers - Israel's historic first time in Olympic baseball tournament
Development - Africa Dev Programme & Women’s Baseball lead impressive year of growth
Premier12 - The “biggest int’l baseball event in recent history”
WBSC - Huge year sets up foundation for bright future
Baseball5 - Continues to spread like "wildfire"
President Fraccari: “2019 - The biggest year in int’l baseball, softball history”
Men’s Softball World Championship - Argentina clinch historic title as Europe hosts for first time
Chinese Taipei wins U-12, U-18 Baseball World Cups, Asian Championship, Fed of the Year


Before batting in what would prove to be the winning run in the top of the eighth. "The USA pitchers are confident about their fastball and I was looking for a fastball," Lo said about the match winning hit. "We have been playing against each other many times, we know each other."

Chinese Taipei would win 2-1 and Lo, who signed a professional contract just before the U-18 Baseball World Cup and joined the Uni Lions of the Chinese Professional Baseball League right after the tournament, was centre of the amazing celebrations after the final.

Manager Chou Tsung Chih praised his players: "We have been together for two months and the players have kept improving. I’ve seen this team play better and better".

Politician Tsai Ing-wen, the highest elected official in the respective territory, congratulated the Chinese Taipei National Team before her millions of followers on Facebook and Twitter.

The announcement that Chinese Taipei were the newly crowned U-18 World Champions after their 2-1 victory smashed the record for WBSC’s most-liked Facebook post, having registered over 73,000 likes via 2,600 shares at the time of writing, while Tsai’s Facebook post generated over 118,000 likes.

It was Chinese Taipei's third title at this age group after stepping onto the top of the podium in 1983 and 2010 and broke a run of four successive titles for USA.

Nine-time champions USA had four players in the All-World Team: outfielders Robert Hassell and Pete Crow-Armstrong, designated hitter Tyler Soderstrom and relief pitcher Alejandro Rosario.

USA manager Jack Leggett had a hug and a kind word for each player and each member of his delegation after the Championship game. "We played hard, but we came just one run short. Chinese Taipei played very well. I believe this game was a perfect fitting for a World Championship game."

The two plays by Lo in left field made a difference. "We hit the ball well [but] they made the great plays and we lacked one more key hit. We played a great ninth inning, I think we showed what kind of character we have. USA Baseball will be there again, in the hunt for the gold."

The hosts Korea earned a bronze medal after a stunning finish to the bronze medal game, coming from behind to beat Australia 6-5 with Lee Juhyeong hitting a homer with one out and a runner on board in the top of the ninth to reverse Australia's lead.

The U-18 Baseball World Cup has been a huge hit ever since it was born as a AAA World Cup in 1981 during the tenure of Robert Smith as the President of the International Baseball Federation.

With the tournament a haven for future professional stars - such as Japan’s Yu Darvish and Shohei Ohtani; Korea’s Shin-soo Choo; Cuba’s Yasiel Puig and Aroldis Chapman; and Clayton Kershaw, Bryce Harper, Francisco Lindor, Manny Machado and Buster Posey, who all played for USA Baseball’s U-18 National Team - the U-18 Baseball World Cup was initially a yearly event but in 1997 changed to being played every other year with Cuba, who didn't participate in the 2019 edition, the most successful country with 11 titles, followed by USA with nine, Korea (5), Chinese Taipei (3) and Canada (1).

WBSC has already granted hosting rights for the 2020 edition to Sarasota and Bradenton, Florida, USA.