Jason Pan in Chinese Taipei
The 2012 season of the CPBL (Chinese Professional Baseball League) opened this past weekend as fans showed their support for the game with large crowd at the ballparks.
Getting off to a roaring start, the first contest saw the Brother Elephants overcame the Uni-President Lions 5-3, in front of a capacity 10,000 crowd at Taipei City's "Tienmu Stadium".
A number of VIPs and dignitaries attended the season-opening ceremony, with entertainment featuring kid's favorite cartoon characters, Open-Jian and Hello Kitty.
Brother rookie pitcher Lin Yu-Ching was the winner on his first outing, through five innings of work with only one earned run, as his team led 4-1 after the half-way mark.
American lefty Ryan Cullen got the save, coming in the eighth frame to preserve the victory.
Lions slugger Chang "The Jungle Prince" Tai-Shan smashed a solo homer in a losing cause.
The Uni-President team fought back to split the weekend opening series of Chinese Taipei pro league, by downing the Elephants 6-2 at New Taipei City's Hsinchuang Stadium.
Japanese right-hander Kamada Yuya threw 6 and 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out eight and scattering six hits to pick up the victory.
Kamada, an eight-year veteran with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows of the NPB, thus helped Japanese compatriot Nakashima Terushi (new Lions skipper) to earn his first managerial win in the CPBL.
Nakashima, a veteran NPB player from 1998 to 1989, was a coach with Japan's Nippon Ham Fighters and Korea's SK Wyverns before joining the Uni-President Lions last year.
Lions outfielder Kuo "The Cannon" Jun-Yo clobbered a two-run shot in the four-run rally during the 2nd frame, to entertain the over 6,000 fans at the ballpark.
In the other match-up also with a crowd of over 6,000, the Lamigo Monkeys doubled up on the Sinon Bulls 4-2 at Lamigo's home ballpark in Taoyuan County (in northern Taiwan).
American right-hander Ken Ray pitched into the 6th inning for Lamigo and gave up only one run to pocket his first victory of the season.
Second baseman Kuo Yen-Wen, the former Cincinnati Reds prospect, ripped a three-run homer in the 2nd frame and guaranteed the Monkeys' winning margin.
Kuo's blast ensured the opening CPBL weekend had a home run in each of the games, for the fans to anticipate more big blast fireworks throughout the season.