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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Royals open up a two-game lead in series

Royals open up a two-game lead in series

Royals overwhelm a tired-looking Braves outfit 15-3 Friday to improve their record to 6-4 in their 30-game national series.

FRIDAY saw the two Cambodian National Baseball teams lock horns in Game 10 of their 30-game series. In the match, the Royals overwhelmed the Braves 15-3 to take a 6-4 lead.

The Royals started their pregame warmup at 8am Friday, with Mich Phea returning to the lineup for the first time since August 8, having left the national team to help his family on their farm. He was picked up by the Royals, who signed him to a contract worth US$92 per month, making him the highest-paid baseball player in the country.

The 24-year-old right-handed batter has the best statistics of anyone in the league. "If you're talking abut stats, Phea's got it all," said Cambodian Baseball Federation President Joe Cook by email. "He's way beyond comparison."

The Royals worked out early to ensure their team was well prepared, with Phea playing third base, and hitting fourth as the cleanup man.

The Braves also took all day working on and off the field, but looked tired, and none of their players seemed to be in good condition.

Braves hurler Chea Theara got into trouble from his very first pitch, and by the fourth inning he had given up eight runs and eight hits for his worst game so far.

"I had a bad day, I wasn't focus,"said Theara. "I got so tired today, been trained so much. I couldn't relax."

"I gave my personal best, but they got a good team, and our offense was flattened," he added.

Braves new signing Nget Vanna said of the Royals: "They've got a serious team. They knew what they were doing better than we did. Our players went silly and careless during the game time: One mistake to the next. The errors killed us throughout the game. They played hard ball, and hit very hard at us."

Joe Cook opined that the Braves has many rookies in their lineup, and that although they were very tired, they also didn't use much thinking.

"Overtraining will lead to exhaustion and losing [games]," said the CBAF President. "The Braves need to stay focused, and not worrying about the Royals' superstars, Mich Phea or Moun Chanton. [They need to] get their head in the game and be smart, not overloaded.

"If [they play] this kind of game, they can't beat Malaysia or Vietnam."

A trade was made between the national teams over the weekend that saw the Royals' Choey Sovann swap places with the Braves' Lim Sophal.

Sovann, who played in the Asian Cup earlier in the year, signed to the Braves on a $47-per-month contract, while Sophal signed to the Royals for $32 per month, to become the best-paid rookie in the league.

Currently, 32 players remain playing with no contract or salary out of a total of 68 players on the national team, with the CBAF still desperate to attract more sponsorship and donations to pay for the running costs.

CBAF overheads run to around US$1,300 per month, and the national team demands a monthly input of $3,200, to pay for food, shelter, transport, and salaries for the players.

CBAF pays for coaches, scorekeepers, umpires, managements, and field crews.

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