Taiwan baseball teams advance after regional events canceled

TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan’s baseball authorities said Monday that its national teams in three different age brackets are automatically qualified to advance to the PONY Baseball world series events to be held later this year, after event organizers announced last week the cancellation of the Asia-Pacific regional competitions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Taiwan’s Chinese Taipei Baseball Association (CTBA) said it has received notification from PONY Baseball and Softball that since Taiwanese teams have won championship titles in its Pony Bronco League (players 11 to 12 of age); Pony League (13 to 14) and Palomino League (15 to 18) in 2019, they have all been granted berths to compete in this year’s world series events.

The Pony Bronco league world series will be staged in Texas from July 31 to Aug. 3, while the world series of the Pony League will be held Aug. 7-12 in Pennsylvania and the Palomino League is slated to be held July 31-Aug. 3, also in Texas, according to the CTBA.

The CTBA said it is scheduled to hold tournaments within the country in May in closed-door format due to the COVID-19 pandemic to come up with national squads to compete in all three world series in the U.S. this summer.

The Ministry of Education’s Sports Administration, however, will make a final decision on whether to send national teams to these events in the U.S. before June 10, depending on whether the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided by then, the CTBA said in a press release.

CTBA’s comments came after PONY Baseball announced April 2 the cancellation of all the 2020 Asia-Pacific Zone tournaments due to the pandemic.

“Due to the proliferation of COVID-19 throughout the Asia- Pacific Zone, we have decided to cancel all 2020 Asia-Pacific Zone tournaments,” PONY President Abraham Key was quoted as saying in a press release.

“The safety of our players, their families and our host countries is foremost in our minds. We are working on contingency plans for Asia- Pacific Zone participation in our 2020 World Series events,” it added.

PONY Baseball and Softball is a Pennsylvania-based non-profit organization that has since 1951 organized annual baseball and softball leagues and tournaments.

It organizes world series for different age group, featuring regional champion teams from the Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean, Europe, Mexico and four domestic zones in the U.S. to compete for the world championship titles.

Over 500,000 players annually play PONY in over 4,000 leagues throughout the U.S. and over 40 countries worldwide, according to its website.