In a sign that Cambodia could soon go toe-to-toe with the best in the world, a select team from the Cambodia Baseball Federation (CBF) did not get intimated and made a determined stand to defeate a visiting team from baseball powerhouse Taiwan.
Taiwan is among the global powerhouses in baseball. From 1970 to 1996, Taiwan won 16 Little League World Series crowns. The Taiwan Men’s team also won silver in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona and Gold at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha.
Over seven innings, the Cambodian batters decimated the Taiwanese side, 15-6, in an exhibition match at the CBF ballpark in Bronze Lake Village, Kampong Thom province on Monday.
Nhem Thavy, president of the CBF, said it was an exciting game against a tough opponent. Mr Thavy noted that some of the visitors actually played professionally or is connected with the Taiwan national team.
“They (the Taiwanese) were good. Even the women, they played really well,” he said.
Two of 15 Taiwanese players were women. The Taiwanese delegation, which came from Taipei, also included two coaches and one umpire.
Taiwan opened the scoring, before the Cambodian batters surged ahead in the middle innings. “Actually, it was the Taiwanese team that scored first. We went ahead and then they scored two late runs for the final score,” he noted.
The day before, the same Taiwan team manhandled a Cambodia Baseball Association (CBA) selection, 11-4, in Kampong Speu province.
According to Mr Thavy, it is too early to say that Cambodia can beat the best baseball teams in the world. “But it is a good start. It also showed the potential that we have in baseball,” he said.
He also lauded the Taiwanese team for coming and playing with Cambodian teams. The Taiwanese team came to Cambodia for a series of exhibition matches. They arrived on Nov 1 before departing on Tuesday.
Mr Thavy said they are planning to invite a team from Singapore to come next for exhibition games.
“It’s good for Cambodian players to be exposed to international teams and competitions,” he pointed out.
After the Asean countries, according to him, they plan to invite baseball teams from other parts of the world. “We want also to play with teams from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and some other countries that are good in baseball,” he said.