The 16th World Port Tournament ended on Sunday with a new champion. For just the second time in tournament history, Taiwan took the Cup. This year’s tournament featured teams from The Netherlands, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Cuba and Curacao.
In an extra-innings matchup against Japan, Chinese Taipei scored the winning run on an error. Not quite the storybook ending you might hope for going into a tournament but a win’s a win.
Japan’s second place finish is the highest they’ve ever placed in World Port history. Heading into the final game both teams had the highest number of wins in regular tournament play with five apiece.
Japan’s team didn’t go home empty handed. Aside from their silver medals, three of their players walked away with individual awards. Best Batter honors went to Takuya Okura, who led the tournament in batting with a .448 average. He also was top of the leader board in hits and RBIs. He accumulated 13 hits, 9 RBIs and 5 runs. Daisuke Yamagami, who had a .60 ERA took home Best Pitcher honors. Yamagami won two of his three starts giving up just 1 earned run in 15 innings while striking out an average of one batter/inning. He was also perfect against lefties throughout the tournament. The Most Popular player award went to Koya Araki.
Chinese Taipei’s slugger Chen Yi Huang took home the derby title with 15 dingers while hometown hero Dwayne Kemp was awarded the MVP trophy. Kemp had an excellent tournament batting .421 with 8 hits, 3 runs and 6 RBIs. The Press Award went to his teammate, fellow infielder Shurendell Mujica also from the home club Neptunus Curacao. Hitting .429, Mujica had the second-best average in the tournament but with 9 runs, including 2 doubles and a triple, he was tops in slugging percentage with .619. Shurendell scored four times and batted in 5. He also walked four times and took two for the team while striking out just twice all tournament.
The next World Port Tournament is scheduled for 2019. However, it has always alternated years with Honkbalweek. and that tournament has reportedly been canceled indefinitely. We’ll have to wait for 2018 to see if the organizers in Rotterdam are interested in turning World Port into an annual event.