Taiwan's high school baseball championship set to open, will help form team for U-18 World Cup qualifier

Taiwan's high school baseball championship set to open, will help form team for U-18 World Cup qualifier
The 19-team, 11-day event will begin on 28 May and will help Chinese Taipei select its team for the U-18 Asian Baseball Championship, a qualifier for next year's WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Florida.

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- With a record-breaking 19 top high school baseball teams and a total of almost 400 players set to participate, the annual E-Sun Cup island-wide tournament will begin on 28 May in New Taipei City and Taoyuan County.

Teams representing their cities will compete for 11 days. Their players will try to earn a chance to represent Chinese Taipei in the Baseball Federation of Asia (BFA) U-18 Baseball Championship to be held in Kaohsiung City in September. The Asian Baseball Championship is a qualifier for the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup 2020.

Of the past 13 editions, teams from two baseball hot spots -- Taoyuan County and New Taipei City -- have won it 10 times, where the most successful teams in the tournament's history were born. Teams from New Taipei City have emerged as a new powerhouse in Taiwanese high school baseball, as they won four of the last five championships.

Past E-Sun Cup players include pitchers Chen Hu of (CTBC Brothers of Chinese Professional Baseball League, CPBL) and Chen Kuan-Yu (Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball, NPB). The latter played for Chinese Taipei in both the 2015 and 2019 WBSC Premier12.

According to Chinese Taipei Baseball Association (CTBA), the host of the National Tournament, this year’s E-Sun Cup will be played behind closed doors to comply with the COVID-19 pandemic prevention recommendation by the Central Epidemic Command Center. However, the tournament will be available to fans on various broadcasting platforms such as MOD, YouTube, LINE Today, Yahoo! Sports and Twitch. Games of the last four days of the tournament will also be available on cable via VideoLand Sports and ELTA TV channels on MOD.

The island of Taiwan has hosted 900 baseball games across all levels since January 2020. They are likely to be as many as 1300 by the end of June.

The E-Sun Cup is known as the "Taiwan Koshien", as a comparison to the world-famous Japanese High School Tournament.

World No. 4 Chinese Taipei are baseball's defending U-18 world champions, after having knocked off USA in the final of the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup 2019.

CPBL and the and Women’s Professional Softball League (TPWSL) became the first pro baseball and softball leagues in the world to open the 2020 season. Both leagues are now welcoming a limited number of fans.