Rockville Express' Alex Yi-Chen Jou (2) of Taiwan National University of Sports and Physical Education in Taiwan throws to first against the visiting Baltimore Dodgers in a Cal Ripken League game on Friday. PHOTO BY GEORGE P. SMITH The Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts have had a history of international players in their 19-year history, and have recently established a relationship with a new country.
For the past four years, the T-Bolts have had nine players from Taiwan, including three on the current team. According to T-Bolts president Dick O’Connor, this was the first time Taiwanese players were looking to play in an East Coast summer league, having previously played in California.
Three years ago, Taiwanese agent Alan Chang, who represented former Major League Baseball pitcher Cheing-Ming Wang, contacted T-Bolts head coach Doug Remer asking if he was interested in a player from National Taiwan University of Sport, one of the two major universities in Taiwan dedicated to sports. Chang recommended pitcher En-Shih Huang, who became a Ripken League All-Star and currently pitches in the Chinese Professional League.
Chang also began recommending players from another college, National Taiwan Sport University, and from 2015-2017, six Taiwanese players suited up for the T-Bolts. Three more are on the team this summer, with another three on the Rockville Express. According to Adam Lee, who is a contact for the T-Bolts in the Taiwanese community, National Taitung University in Taiwan expressed interest in sending players, so Chang recommended two for the Express. The Express also got infielder Alex Yi-Chen Jou, who played for the T-Bolts last year and would’ve played for them again if the team had a roster spot open.