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Mustang-9 & Mustang Asia-Pacific Zone Championships

Following three days of competitive action at the Tanauan Sports Academy in Tanauan City, Philippines, two teams from the host nation came away with the Asia-Pacific Zone's Mustang-9 and Mustang titles. In the Mustang-9 age division, Tanauan City completed a four-game undefeated run to the title, after defeating Sulawesi, Indonesia decisively in the championship game, while, in the Mustang division, Manila capped a three-game streak of wins with a convincing win over Jakarta, Indonesia in the championship game.

Mustang-9 scores:

Day 1
Tanauan City, Philippines 24   Sulawesi, Indonesia 9
Tanauan City, Philippines 23   U.P. Los Banos, Philippines 9

Day 2
Tanauan City, Philippines 15   Manila Entom, Philippines 14 (F/6)

Championship Game
Tanauan City, Philippines 23   Sulawesi, Indonesia 2

Tanauan City's championship marks the fourth-consecutive for the Philippines as the Asia-Pacific Zone Champion. Claiming the Zone's automatic bid, Tanauan City advances to the Mustang-9 World Series in Walnut, California and will be slated to face Mexico Zone Champion Tijuana, Baja California on Friday, July 27 at 5 p.m. PST/US.

Mustang scores:

Day 1
Manila, Philippines 20   Hanoi, Vietnam 2
Manila, Philippines 16   Jakarta, Indonesia 0

Day 2
Jakarta, Indonesia 17   Hanoi, Vietnam 6

Championship Game
Manila, Philippines 20   Jakarta, Indonesia 1

Manila's 2018 title makes it six in the last seven years for the nation of the Philippines. Now, the team will advance to the Mustang World Series in Youngsville, Louisiana as the Asia-Pacific Zone's Champion. Manila is scheduled to take on the PONY North Zone Champion in the tournament’s first game at 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 3 at 6 p.m. CT/US.

Bronco Asia-Pacific Championships

Action at the Bronco Asia-Pacific Zone Championships reached an exciting apex Thursday, when Korea and host Japan met in an 11-inning thriller in which the Japanese were able to outlast the Koreans 10-9 thanks to a Kazuki Oishi walk off single to put Japan into the championship game. Unfortunately for the host team, its undefeated opponent, Chinese Taipei, proved to be too much after the competitive marathon the day before against Korea. Both offensively and defensively, Chinese Taipei dominated and rolled to victory 17-0 in the championship game; thus, claiming its seventh PONY Asia-Pacific Zone Bronco title this decade. Chinese Taipei will be making its 17th appearance in history at the Bronco World Series in Los Alamitos, California next month. 

Bronco Asia-Pacific Zone Championship Game: Chinese Taipei 17   Japan 0   (F/6)

Chinese Taipei's starting pitcher Po-Han Song pitched a gem for his team in the championship game. Song pitched a shutout and allowed just two hits without walking a batter on the day, while striking out eight. He didn't allow a runner to advance to second base, and he also retired the last 10-consecutive Japanese hitters he faced.

Chinese Taipei shot out of the gate in the top of the first inning, as Shoo-Lun Lin singled and came around to score on the next at-bat, which was a triple hit by Shoo-Wei Lin. To-Yu Lin followed with an RBI double of his own to left field. Siang-Jyun Syu singled behind him, bringing home To-Yu Lin from second base and giving Chinese Taipei an early 3-0 lead thanks to the first four hitters in the lineup all collecting hits.

Chinese Taipei broke through in the top of the third inning, when it batted through the order and scored eight runs in the process. Five batters collected hits for CT in the inning. Chinese Taipei manufactured four runs in the fifth and two runs in sixth, highlighted by Syu's solo home run to left field, to give itself plenty of insurance runs to win decisively. 

Chio-Feng La paced the CT offense with three hits, as seven batters recorded multi-hit games and three recorded multiple RBI. Cheng-Jung Tsai led the team with three runs scored.

As the PONY Asia-Pacific Zone champion, Chinese Taipei receives the Zone's automatic bid to the Bronco World Series. Chinese Taipei will face the Caribbean Zone Champion in the tournament's first game, Friday Aug. 3 at 10 a.m. PST.

Thursday Results
China 11   Hong Kong 0 (F/6)
Philippines 19   Vietnam 1 (F/4)
Korea 18   Philippines 3 (F/4)
Chinese Taipei 17   Indonesia 0 (F/5)
Japan 10   Korea 9 (F/11)

Watch the semifinal game of Japan vs. Korea below:


Pony Asia-Pacific Zone Championships

Fans at Atom Home Stadium Ginowan were expecting a clash of two titans Friday at the Pony Asia-Pacific Zone Championships in Okinawa, Japan. The tournament's championship game featured undefeated host Japan and the 2014-16 AP Zone Champions from Chinese Taipei. In pool play action between the two teams Wednesday, Japan narrowly edged Chinese Taipei 7-6. 

Fans got what they came for, as the championship game went into extra innings tied 7-7, after Japan pulled off a two-run comeback in the bottom of the seventh. In the top of the eighth, Yung-Sheng Wu's RBI single proved to be the eventual game-winner for Chinese Taipei. Trailing by a run with two runners in scoring position with one out, Japan hit into a double play to end the game, giving Chinese Taipei its fourth AP Zone title in five years. As the Zone champion, Chinese Taipei has earned the Zone's automatic bid to the DICK'S Sporting Goods Pony World Series in Washington, Pennsylvania, and following a year's absence in 2017, will look to defend its 2015-16 World Series titles.

Championship Game Final: Chinese Taipei 8   Japan 7   F/8

It was a back-and-forth contest all morning long, as fans witnessed five lead changes and two ties at different points in the Championship Game of the 2018 Pony Asia-Pacific Zone Championships in Okinawa, Japan. Japan got on the board first in the bottom of the third inning, when Kairi Nakahodo cashed in Atsuki Watanabe from third base on a single past third base. But Chinese Taipei countered with three runs of its own in the top of the fourth inning. Cheng-Yi Chen walked, before the CT offense followed with back-to-back-to-back singles, scoring Chen and leaving the bases loaded for Chia-Hsiang Liu. Liu knocked a single into right field, scoring Tzu-Ching Yang from third and Po-Wei Huang from second (3-1).

Japan tied the game back up at three in the bottom of the fourth thanks to two costly Chinese Taipei errors that cost the team two runs. Japan retook the lead in the bottom of the fifth, when Nakahodo crushed a triple to left field and Kosei Kaida followed it up on the next at-bat with an RBI base knock to left as well.

Chinese Taipei rebounded in the top of the sixth inning thanks to a Sin-Jie Wu three-run home run to center field. Yang and Huang, both reached base prior to the Wu three-run home run by way of errors. The Japanese chipped at the Chinese Taipei lead in the bottom of the sixth thanks to a Tomotaka Nohara RBI triple to center field, but with one full inning left to play, the host team still trailed a run.

Japan's odds at pulling off a comeback slimmed, when, in the top of the seventh, Chen hit a triple to left field, and with two outs, Huang cashed him in from third on a single to left field, giving Chinese Taipei a 7-5 lead. As they had done earlier in the game and all tournament long for Japan, Nakahodo and Kaida led the offensive charge in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Nakahodo tripled to right field and came home to score on Kaida's triple during the next at-bat, giving Japan a runner 80 feet from home plate, down a run. On the following at-bat, Ryusei Arakawa hit a ground ball to the pitcher Shu-Wei Kuo. Kuo opted to go to first for the out, as Kaida dashed home and scored the game-tying run (7-7).

In the top of the eighth, Kuo reached on a fielder's choice and was moved to second on another fielder's choice, bringing Wu to the plate, who had gone 0-for-2 up to that point in the game off the bench. But on the first pitch he saw, Wu knocked the ball into center field, as Kuo came around to score, scoring the eventual game-winning run and giving Chinese Taipei a lead it would not surrender.

Japan had one last chance in the bottom of the eighth. Ikki Asahi led off the inning by reaching on an error at second base. Nohara then singled to center. Watanabe bunted both runners up a base, as Asahi was pinch ran for. Unfortunately for Japan, the game ended on a double play during the next at-bat, and the previously undefeated host team lost 8-7 in a game that will go down in PONY history as one of the Asia-Pacific Zone's best.

The year 2018 marks Chinese Taipei's 12th PONY Asia-Pacific Zone title in the Pony 14U age division this century (2000-01, 2005, 2007-09, 2011-12, 2014-16, 2018) and its 17th since the team first qualified for the Pony World Series in 1994. As the Zone champion, Chinese Taipei has earned the Zone's automatic bid to the DICK'S Sporting Goods Pony World Series in Washington, Pennsylvania, and will face off against the winner of Game #1 between the North Zone Champion and Caribbean Zone Champion in Game #5 Saturday, Aug. 11 at 5:30 p.m. ET/US.

Colt Asia-Pacific Zone Championships

Solid pitching was the name of the game for Korea in its 6-0 victory over Japan in the championship game of the 2018 Colt Asia-Pacific Zone Championships in Nanjing, China Friday. Led by Hong-Ju Kang, who went 5.2 innings strong and tossed six strikeouts, while allowing just three hits, the Korean pitching staff of Gun-Woo Park and Wang-Gun Lee combined to record an impressive shutout when it mattered most. It is the third-consecutive year that Korea has won the PONY Asia-Pacific Zone title. Now, they’ll advance to face the world’s best at the 2018 Colt World Series in Marion, Illinois.

Kang and Japan’s starting pitcher Katsuki Honda went pound for pound through the first three innings of the game, before the Korean offense finally broke through in the bottom of the fourth. Woong-Chan Lee singled with one out, and Min-Hyeok Kim brought him home when he tripled to right field. Providing his own run support, Kang singled, scoring Kim and completing the scoring for the inning (2-0).

The defending Zone champions were able to add to their lead in the following inning, when, with a runner on first, Hyeok-Gyung Kwon singled to left. An error allowed Hyun-Kyu Choi to score from first on the play, and Kwon came around to third base. Jun-Seo Sim singled on the first pitch he saw during the following at-bat, scoring Kwon, as Korea took a more comfortable lead, after five complete (4-0).

The most exhilarating play of the game came in the bottom of the sixth, when Jun-Sang Kim hit an inside-the-park home run on a ball to center field that also scored Park (6-0). Park and Lee shut the game down in the top of the seventh, sealing the team victory and Kang’s win.

On the day, defensively, Korea only allowed one runner to reach second base. Korea also retired the last nine-consecutive Japanese batters it faced.

As the PONY Asia-Pacific Zone Champion, Korea has received the Zone’s automatic qualifying bid to the Colt World Series in Marion, Illinois. The team will open against the PONY East Zone Champion in Game #2 at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 3 CT/US.


Scores earlier in the week:

Thursday, June 21
Japan 12   China Pony 2 (F/5)
China Pony 10   China Host 9

Wednesday, June 20
Japan 8   China Pony 7
Korea 12   China Host 2 (F/5)
Korea 8   China Host 0

Tuesday, June 19
Korea 7   China Pony 5
Japan 9   China Host 3
Korea 9   Japan 1
China Pony 3   China Host 2

Photos (Click image below to view the full gallery):

2018 Colt Asia-Pacific Zone Championships

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