By Darryl G. Smart
They will be talking about Brock Dykxhoorn in Taiwan for a long time.
The right-handed pitcher, from Goderich, that spends lots of time in Norfolk County, put the Uni-President Lions on his back and helped carry them to the Taiwan Series championship Sunday against the CTBC Brothers. And in the process earned the Outstanding Player award.
“The atmosphere around the stadium was incredible and the energy from the fans is unlike anything most baseball fans have ever seen,” Dykxhoorn said. “It was an honour to play for the Lions this year and I’m so happy we could win the title.”
To say Dykxhoorn was a big part of the Uni-Lions success is an understatement. After earning the win in a 4-2 victory in Game 1 of the series, the Uni-Lions dropped three-straight 9-1, 5-1, and 6-3.
Cue the comeback, and Dykxhoorn’s dominance.
Dykxhoorn was handed the ball in Game 5 and didn’t let anyone on the Brothers touch it. He struck out nine, and threw a 126-pitch, three-hitter in the 6-0 victory.
“Getting the start in Game 1 was a real honour and I was happy to be able to get the team a win to start the series,” Dykxhoorn said. “When I started Game 5, we had our backs up to the wall being down 3-1 in the series and to be able to have my first career complete game shutout in that situation was an unbelievable feeling.”
With the momentum, the Uni-Lions forced a seventh and deciding game thanks to a 12-1 win in Game 6. In Game 7, the Uni-Lions once again called upon Dykxhoorn and his arm to close things out in the eighth and ninth innings to earn the save in the 7-4 victory to win it all.
“To get the ball in the final two innings of Game 7 to close out the series and win the championship is something I’ll never forget,” Dykxhoorn said. “This entire season has been pretty incredible.”
Especially considering the 25-year-old had no idea if he was going to play baseball at all this year.
“With Covid happening during spring training I went the first half of the season without a job and wasn’t sure what the prospects were of me playing this year,” Dykxhoorn said. “Luckily I got the opportunity to come over here to Taiwan at the half way point of their season.”
In July, the Uni-Lions announced that they had acquired Dykxhoorn. At the time, the Uni-Lions finished third at the end of the first half of the Chinese Professional Baseball League season with a 26-34 record.
Dykxhoorn came in and became a workhorse, pitching 69.2 innings, posting a .625 earned run average, with 48 strikeouts in 13 games. The Uni-Lions surged as well, winning the second half of the CPBL season with a 32-27-1 record, to punch a ticket to the Taiwan Series.