Posted on 27 July 2011.
News from Seoul, Korea: Vietnam Finishes First in Pony Baseball for Southeast Asia
Pony Baseball Asia-Pacific Zone U-12 Baseball Championships in Seoul, Korea (July 17-21, 2011)
Vietnam Finishes 5th Overall in U-12 Pony Baseball Asia Pacific Zone Baseball Tournament in Seoul, South Korea and Wins Over Philippines in U-12 Southeast Asia Championship Game
• Vietnam 10, Philippines 1 (Southeast Asia Championship)
• Vietnam 14, Indonesia 3 (Pool Play)
Seoul, South Korea, 23 July 2011 — Vietnam had its best finish ever in the Pony Baseball Asia Pacific Zone Baseball U-12 Championships (this was for the “Bronco” Division for 11 and 12 year old players) when its team composed of 7th and 8th grade boys from the capitol city of Hanoi finished 5th among 9 team in the 2011 Pony Baseball U-12 Asia Pacific Zone Baseball Championships at Tancheon Stadium in Seoul, Korea, held from 17-21 July 2011. The tournament was won by Taiwan, who will represent the Asia Pacific Zone in the Pony Baseball World Series in Monterey, California in August, 2011. Importantly, Vietnam won a special playoff game to determine the Pony Baseball U-12 Champion of Southeast Asia, in which it handily defeated the Philippines National Pony baseball team by a score of 10-1. Pony Baseball, founded in 1951, is one of the oldest youth baseball organizations in the world, with more than 500,000 youngsters playing baseball in its leagues around the world (see www.pony.org).
Vietnam finished the Seoul tournament with a 2-2 record with wins over Indonesia by a 14-3 score and the win over the Philippines. Vietnam finished behind teams from traditional Asian baseball powers Taiwan, Japan, and two teams from Korea, but finished ahead of Philippines, Russia, Hong Kong and Indonesia. The wins over Philippines and Indonesia are significant and show the quick rise of Vietnam to potentially becoming a Asian baseball power in the future. This was Vietnam’s first win over Philippines in youth baseball after losing three games in a row dating back to 2009 – Philippines had won all three previous meeting by mercy rules. Although Vietnamese children have only played baseball for three years, Philippines has been playing baseball for more than 60 years, and is traditionally known as the top Southeast Asia country in baseball (one gold medal and one silver medal in the Southeast Asia Games), while Indonesia has played for more than 20 years and has twice earned the Bronze medal in the Southeast Asia Games. It is a great accomplishment for the Vietnamese youngsters from the Hanoi Youth Baseball Club who have now achieved the rank of top U-12 Pony baseball team in Southeast Asia even though there is no baseball field in Hanoi for practice or games, and the team has no pitcher’s mound for practicing. In April, 2011, Vietnam’s team defeated the Seattle Klouters, a team of all-star Little League and Pony baseball players from Seattle by a score of 6-2 in a friendly game in Hanoi, and also won the 2011 Vietnam Open Baseball Classic in January 2011, defeating teams from Indonesia, and teams of American and Japanese children studying in Hanoi.
In the game against Indonesia held in Seoul, Korea on 20 July 2011, Vietnam jumped to an early 5-0 lead in the first inning, en route to a lopsided 14-3 win. The game was called after 4 ½ inning due to mercy rules because Vietnam lead by more than 10 runs. In that game, Vietnam team captain right fielder Nhu Ngoc “Rabbit” Quoc Thinh, an 8th grader at Nguyen Truong To Middle School, blasted a 240-foot solo home run over the left field fence in the second inning. Vietnam then broke the game open by scoring 8 runs in the third inning.
Vietnam was lead by Quoc Thinh, who hit one home run, one triple and three doubles in the four-day tournament, who went 3-3 and scored 3 runs in the win vs Philippines, and third baseman / Pitcher Ben Nguyen Treutler (8th grade, Doan Thi Diem Middle School), who scored three runs and stole 7 bases versus Indonesia. Ben batted .667 for the tournament on 6-9 hitting, stole 15 bases, scored 7 runs, and had 5 RBI’s in the tournament, with a .727 OBP.
Pitcher Yuki Kijima, an 8th grader at the Japan School of Hanoi, was the winning pitcher for Vietnam in their wins over Indonesia and Philippines, pitching a complete game gem versus Indonesia, allowing just three hits, while striking out 5 Indonesian batters. Ben Nguyen Treutler also pitched well for Vietnam, closing the victory over the Philippines team with two innings of relief by retiring 6 consecutive batters, including striking out four consecutive batters at one point. Yuki and Ben baffled the Indonesia and Philippines hitters with a variety of pitches. Reliever Nguyen Tuan Anh (8th Grade, Doan Thi Diem Middle School) also was perfect in relief for Vietnam during the tournament, including retiring three consecutive batters from Japan.
2B / Catcher Lam Nguyen Khai Hoan (8th grade, Doan Thi Diem Middle School) had an excellent tournament highlighted by slugging a 250-foot home run over the fence in a friendly game versus traditional Korean school league power Hui Mang Dae Middle School that was played on an off day, and throwing out a runner at 2nd base in the game against Philippines.
Centerfielder Nguyen Tong Hai (7th grade, SIS Middle School) also provided several timely RBI’s for the Vietnam team, and stole 9 bases, after getting on base seven consecutive times after the first game. Vietnam Shortstop Nguyen Kha Duy (7th grade, SIS Middle School) and first baseman Tran Trung Hieu (7th grade, Doan Thi Diem Middle School) played well on defense for Vietnam in the tournament, as did utility player Nguyen Tuan Anh and catcher Kentaro Yamada (8th grade, Japan School of Hanoi) and utility player Nguyen Tuan Anh. Kentaro threw out a runner at second against Indonesia, and provided an RBI in each of Vietnam’s victories. In the game vs Korea, Tuan Anh made several stellar plays at third base, including corraling in a long pop fly that drifted approximately 50 feet out in foul territory toward left field.
Yuki and Kentaro from the Japan School Pony Blue J’s complemented the Vietnamese players on the team well, and made strong contributions in this first ever combined Vietnamese and Japanese team from Vietnam.
Duy, Hoan and first baseman Trung Hieu gained applause and roars of appreciation from the home Korean crowd by turning an excellent 6-4-3 double play early in the opening game of the tournament against South Korea. Vietnam played well against South Korea, down just 7-1 in the 4th inning, before losing 13-1 after emptying its bench in the last inning. Duy also played well in left field vs Korea, catching three fly balls.
Other members of the Vietnam team included: Chu Bao Khanh, Pham Huy Hung and Hoang Nhat Quang, all studying in 8th grade at Doan Thi Diem Middle School, as well as Phan Duc Tri (7th grade, SIS Middle School), who caught a fly ball in centerfield to end the game vs the Philippines, and Nguyen Duc Huy (7th grade, Giang Vo Middle School). The speedy Hung came in off the bench as a designated pinch runner, stealing four bases in the tournament. The coaches of the Vietnam team included Tieu Viet Loc (head coach) and assistant coaches Dang Quyet Chien, Pham Ngoc Phu and Danny Meltzer.
Vietnam employed coach Tieu Viet Loc’s aggressive running game to swipe 28 bases vs Indonesia, and 15 stolen bases vs Philippines.
Hanoi Youth Baseball Club (HYBC) founder Tom Treutler commented: “Vietnam’s success in this tournament shows how far Vietnam baseball has come, and demonstrates the talent and commitment of the kids here. Even though we have only been playing for three years and do not have a baseball field, we topped Philippines and Indonesia, where they have been playing baseball for 60 and 20 years, respectively. Our kids really worked hard for the last few years, so they deserved these wins – the kids and our coaches never gave up, even after being mercy ruled nearly every game for two years straight and losing 34 games in a row at one point. Our coaches set a goal when we started our program three years ago, and that was to be the best in Southeast Asia, and we accomplished that in this tournament, so, I’m happy for these kids and our coaches. The Vietnamese children are very talented in baseball. For example, team captain Nhu Ngoc Quoc Thinh is a former standout youth ping-pong player who has applied his natural athletic ability to baseball, and has discovered his own talent and passion for baseball.” Treutler, who is Vietnam Pony Baseball Country Director and Little League District Administrator added, “2012 will be the biggest year for baseball in Vietnam, as the Hanoi Youth Baseball Club will host the Little League U-14 championships and the Pony Baseball U-12 Championships in Nha Trang or Hanoi. These tournaments will bring 20 top-notch baseball teams to Vietnam, and the winners will advance to World Series tournaments in the United States.” HYBC is licensed by, and operates under the authority of the Hanoi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Hanoi Sports Federation.
HYBC currently has 70 players playing on teams for children aged 8 – 15 years of old, and practices in the My Dinh National Sports Complex in Hanoi. 15-year old fireball pitcher Nguyen Viet Anh from HYBC from the club will play high school baseball in the United States this year.
Pictured below: Team Captain RF Nhu Ngoc Quoc Thinh, showing off his souvenier home run ball (240 foot HR vs Indonesia), and No. 25 Third Baseman / Pitcher Ben Nguyen Treutler (.667 BA, 15 SB and 7 runs scored in tournament).
Link to Seoul Pony Tournament Pictures
Link to Video of Quoc Thinh’s Home Run vs Indonesia
– Nguyen Ngoc Thuy, Chairwoman – HYBC, tel.: +84 98 809 8688; firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thanks to Tom Treutler for pointing this out to us.
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