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Royals take control; Braves can't get it right

Royals take control; Braves can't get it right

The Royals make it 9-4 in their favour in the Cambodian National Baseball League with three straight wins over the weekend

CAMBODIAN National Baseball team the Royals pushed their lead over the Braves to five games Monday with a trio of wins over the weekend.
In Game 11 Saturday at Baribo field in Kampong Chhnang province, the Royals took apart their national counterparts with a 10-4 victory, forcing Braves manager Touch Samon to hold a heated meeting with players at the clubhouse after the game. Touch let his displeasure be known, grilling the team members about how they had given up 25 runs in the past two games.

"Are the Braves as bad as the real Braves in the MLB?" asked Cambodian Baseball Federation (CBAF) President Joe Cook by email. "At least [Atlanta Braves manager] Bobby Cox has still got his job."

The Braves made some changes to their lineup ahead of the Game 12 Sunday, in the hope of improving their performance, and they almost paid dividends, with the Braves falling just short to lose 5-4 to the Royals in one of the most entertaining matches of the series so far.

Having gone down four runs through the first five innings, the Braves muscled up to score two runs in the sixth, before tying things up in the eighth. However, the monsoon rains hurt the struggling western provinces team, with a slip in the ninth affording the winning run for the Royals.

To compound matters for the Braves, Royals star pitcher Moun Chanthorn returned Monday for Game 13 after being on the disabled list for over a week. Despite playing some of their best baseball, the Braves again found themselves on the wrong end of the scoreboard, 3-0.

Easy for the outfielders
"Nobody in Cambodia wants to face Chanthorn," said Joe Cook. "He's very stingy. He doesn't allow many runs or hits in a game." Cook noted that Hector Navasero, president of Philippines Amateur Baseball Federation, had expressed an interest in the Cambodian pitcher after witnessing his performance against Indonesia at the eighth Asian Baseball Cup May 25.

"When Chanthorn is on the mound, the rest of the outfielders are just relaxing and drinking Tiger beers," Cook said of the national team league games. "Sometimes, the fielders are completely asleep and don't notice the game is over."

Chanthorn gave up five hits, struck out 14 batters and recorded 11 strikeouts in a row to help his side shut out the Braves in Monday's Game 13. However, the Braves received commendations for their efforts to allow just three runs by the Royals.

"The Royals have been hot lately," Cook said. "It doesn't matter what they do; they still get the job done." The CBAF president called upon the help of any international baseball enthusiasts to help the Braves reverse their current slump.

Cook also reiterated his need for sponsors of the National League teams, which he funds almost exclusively from his salary in the United States.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) recently confirmed its interest in helping to develop baseball in Cambodia and, although not providing sponsorship, plans to dispatch a volunteer coach to strengthen the national team.

Members of the CBAF, JICA and the National Olympic Committee are to meet today in Phnom Penh to discuss rules and regulations of the National Baseball Tournament, which will be held in Prasat Balang district, Kampong Thom province from November 23-27.

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