This year’s end has seen several countries make the international baseball headlines with tournaments hosted, including Nepal’s first-ever national championship, a national champion crowned in Sri Lanka, and the Hong Kong Invitational Tournament return after several successful renditions in past years. A fourth Asian tournament failed to make headlines as scores were not released online, but was a historic moment for Southeast Asia, as Cambodia hosted the region’s first international tournament from December 9-11. The Cambodian International Invitational Tournament (CIIT) was the first recorded international games played in the country.
Unlike the other tournaments, this one featured national squads, with selections from Cambodia, Malaysia, and Vietnam taking place. They were joined by two other sides, the Golden Bats and the ‘Mix Team’. None of the three national sides are currently ranked by IBAF. It appears that the CIIT was not IBAF-sanctioned, though the presence of non-national squads would not necessarily factor into the decision-making. Games were played on a two-hour time limit, and all but two of nine games were four or five innings.
The tournament got off to an historic start as the host side no-hit Malaysia 4-2 over four innings, the first of what would be two no-hitters on Day 1. The second was between two youth sides, as a 15-and-Under tournament was played in the afternoon on each day.
Viet Nam narrowly missed making it back-to-back no-hitters, tying the Mix Team 2-2 in five innings in Game 2. Viet Nam beat Malaysia 6-3 and Cambodia topped the Mix Team 14-2 to wrap up the first day of play.
Day 2 saw the Golden Bats drill Malaysia 13-1, with the hapless Gulf of Thailand neighbours managing only a single hit to escape its second no-no. Cambodia continued its dominance with a 9-1 victory over Viet Nam, who denied the hosts their second no-hitter with a single hit, committing 10 errors in the contest.
Sazali Husain, ambassador for Malaysian baseball and a pitcher on the national team, explained, “This is a young team [and we viewed this as] preparation for future tournaments. It was the first national experience for them.”
It was the first action for a Malaysian national team in five years, where it was joined at the Southeast Asian Games by Viet Nam, who also had not played since. Cambodia last sent a national team to the Asian Cup in 2009.
The final day of play had Cambodia trouncing Viet Nam 13-2 to finish with a perfect 4-0 record. Vietnam was 1-2-1, and Malaysia lost all three of its games. The host nation was the class of the tournament, outscoring opponents 40-7 and committing only 12 errors. Viet Nam had the most errors in the tournament and gave up the most runs, while Malaysia scored only six runs on four hits in three games, though they had the fewest miscues at 11.
9 December 2016
8:30 Game 1 Cambodia 4 – Malaysia 2 (4)
10:30 Game 2 Mix Team 2 – Vietnam 2 (5)
14:00 Game 3 Vietnam 6 – Malaysia 3 (4)
15:00 Game 4 Cambodia 14 – Mix Team 2 (3)
10 December 2016
9:30 Game 5 Golden Bats 13 – Malaysia 1 (4)
11:00 Game 6 Vietnam 1 – Cambodia 9 (5)
15:30 Game 7 Golden Bats 12 – Mix Team 6 (6)
11 December 2016
7:30 Game 8 Golden Bats 7 – Mix Team 2 (4)
9:30 Game 9 Cambodia 13 – Vietnam 2 (5)
Final Records RF RA H E
Cambodia (4-0) 40 7 17 12
Golden Bats (3-0) 32 9 16 12
Vietnam (1-2-1) 11 37 8 27
Mix Team (0-3-1) 12 35 10 21
Malaysia (0-3) 6 23 4 11
Pictures copyright Sazali Husain.