South Korea’s Under-24 baseball team, led by head coach Ryu Jung-il, swept past Chinese Taipei to advance to the final of the Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) 2023.
South Korea defeated Chinese Taipei 6-1 in the third game of the preliminary round at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan, on Aug. 18.
South Korea, which won 3-2 against Australia on Sept. 16 and lost 1-2 to Japan on Sept. 17, finished second behind Japan (3 wins) with a 2-1 record in qualifying.
The team will play for gold against “nemesis” Japan at 6 p.m. on Sept. 19 at the same venue.
Korea took advantage of a shaky start from Chinese Taipei’s Wang Yen-chung.
Wang Yancheng struggled with his pitches, throwing seven consecutive balls as he struggled to control his zero.
Korea took advantage. Kim Hye-sung (Kiwoom Heroes) and Kim Do-young (KIA Tigers) drew back-to-back walks, and a throwing error put runners on first and third.
Noh Si-hwan (Hanwha Eagles), Korea’s No. 4 hitter, lined a clean single to left field to open the scoring.
Kim Hwi-jip drew a walk to load the bases, but Kim Hyung-jun (NC Dinos) struck out to end the threat.
After getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the second inning, the Koreans broke through in the bottom of the inning.
After a leadoff single by Kim Joo-won (NC), Park Seung-gyu (Commerce) laid down a sacrifice bunt that was misplayed by the opposing catcher, putting runners on first and second with no outs.
Choi Ji-hoon (SSG Landers) then put runners on first and second with an unsuccessful sacrifice bunt, but Kim Hye-sung and Kim Do-young exploded for back-to-back singles to make it 3-0.
Korea continued to pile on the runs.
The next batter, Yoon Dong-hee (Lotte Giants), drew a walk off the bat of reliever Zhang Guohao to load the bases.
Noh Si-hwan struck out, but with two outs, Kim Hwi-jip (Kiwoom) took advantage of Zhang’s first pitch for a clean double to center field.
Kim, who had hit a pinch-hit home run in the ninth inning against Japan the day before, started against Chinese Taipei and picked up a valuable RBI.
South Korea jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but gave up a run in the top of the fourth inning.
Starting pitcher Won Tae-in (Samsung Lions) was hit by a solo home run over the left field fence by Taiwanese shortstop Liu Ji-hung in the top of the first inning.
Won was rattled again when he gave up a double to Wei Chung-hwa in the next at-bat that landed in right field.
However, Won got Ho Hung-you to fly out to left field and Lin Jing-kai to strike out to end the threat.
The Korean offense took another step forward in the bottom of the fifth.
Leadoff hitter Kim Hyung-jun hit a huge double over the center field fence, and Kim Joo-won followed with a triple to right field that beat the first baseman.
The Koreans were unable to add another run as they were shut down by Taiwanese left-hander Wang Hsiu-hsuan in relief.
The Koreans had runners on second and third in the bottom of the sixth inning, but were unable to extend their lead as Kim Hyung-joon’s well-hit ball was snared by Taiwanese center fielder Guo Dian-hsin with a diving catch.
Korea utilized its bullpen from the sixth inning onward, with Kim Young-gyu (NC), Choi Seung-yong (Doosan Bears), Choi Ji-min (KIA), and Jung Hae-young (KIA) each pitching one inning of relief to end the game without allowing another run.
Won Tae-in earned the win, pitching five innings of three-hit ball (one home run) with five strikeouts and one walk.
Kim Hwijip went 1-for-2 with a run, a walk, a hit-by-pitch and two RBIs. Kim Joo-won also went 3-for-4 with a home run and an RBI. 슬롯