Won Tae-in’s good pitching + Kim Joo-won 3 hits’ Korea overpowered Taiwan 6-1…Final against Japan on the 19th
South Korea defeats Taiwan and qualifies. It’s a Korea-Japan game once again.
South Korea’s baseball team, led by Ryu Jung-il, defeated Chinese Taipei 6-1 in the third game of the Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) 2023 Qualifier at the Tokyo Dome in Japan on Monday, improving to 2-1 in qualifying.굿모닝토토 도메인
With the win, Korea will have plenty of time to rest before facing Japan in the final at 6 p.m. on Nov. 19 at the same venue. Chinese Taipei, who lost to Korea, will play Australia for third place at 11 a.m. on the 19th.
Hope in the loss to Japan didn’t dampen spirits
After a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Australia in the first game of the preliminary round on Saturday, Korea lost 1-2 to Japan the following day. Despite a frustrating start to the tournament as they were unable to get a handle on Japanese starter Chihiro Sumida’s pitches, the fact that Korean starter Lee Yi-ri minimized the damage by giving up just two runs in six innings was a big win for both the team and the players.
After the game, coach Ryu Jung-il said, “Lee Yi-ri had some early trouble, but he handled it well. He gave up three hits, but I think he pitched well. The other two pitchers, Oh Won-seok and Choi Jun-yong, also pitched better than expected. The bats had chances in the early innings, but it was unfortunate that they couldn’t string them together. I think we finished the game well thanks to Kim Hwijip’s solo shot in the top of the ninth,” he said.
Lee, who stayed on the mound until the sixth inning, said, “It’s my first time starting against Japan, but I think I had fun and pitched well, and I’m looking forward to future tournaments.” “Compared to the WBC (in March), the lineup was different, but I think I hit well because the batters set their own strike zones, but I got out of a big jam and didn’t give up too many runs,” Lee said after the game.
Another player, Kim Hwijip, also played a key role in the victory. In the top of the ninth inning, Kim pinch-hit for Son Sung-bin and launched a huge solo shot over the left field fence. There was a moment of silence in the Tokyo Dome as the home run hit, a blow that caught both the Japanese players and fans off guard.
“I knew they were going to use a left-handed pitcher in the top of the ninth inning, so I thought I could come in (as a pinch-hitter),” Kim told reporters in the mix zone after the game. It’s a very difficult decision to pinch-hit for the manager, and I wanted to repay his faith in me.”
When asked about his chances of starting against Chinese Taipei, he said, “I could come from behind, or I could start. “I think everyone has a role to play,” he said. “It would have been great if the team won, but I think we need to prepare well for Taiwan so that we can win the game and have a good chance at the final. I’m going to prepare for the rest of the tournament to fulfill my role, and I’m going to cheer hard. I think I have to play to help the team win. I don’t have any big ambitions, but I will prepare according to my role.”
Lineups and starting pitchers for both teams
-Taiwan: Guo Teng-hsin (center fielder)-Chiu Hsiu-chung (left fielder)-Chun Jie-hsien (designated hitter)-Liu Ji-hong (third baseman)-Yue Chung-hua (right fielder)-Hsieh Heng-you (first baseman)-Lin Jing-kai (second baseman)-Zhang Chung-yu (shortstop)-Dai Fei-feng (catcher), starter Wang Yancheng.
-South Korea: Kim Hye-sung (second base)-Kim Do-young (third base)-Yoon Dong-hee (right fielder)-No Si-hwan (first base)-Kim Hwi-jip (designated hitter)-Kim Hyung-joon (catcher)-Kim Joo-won (shortstop)-Park Seung-kyu (left fielder)-Choi Ji-hoon (center fielder), starter Won Tae-in.
Compared to the previous day’s game against Australia, there are no changes to Taiwan’s lineup except for a change in catcher. After being held scoreless for 18 consecutive innings from the first inning of the first game against Japan on the 16th to the ninth inning of the second game against Australia on the 17th, Taiwan will be looking to keep the momentum going as they scored six runs in the top of the 10th inning.
South Korea went with a right-handed batting lineup as they did against Japan, with Kim Hwijip, who saved the day with a solo shot against Japan, batting fifth. The coaching staff hopes that Kim will continue the form he showed in his last at-bat.
Chinese Taipei turned to left-hander Wang Yen-chung, who plays for Rakuten in the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) second division. South Korea, which used up Moon Dong-ju and Lee Yi-ri in the previous two games, turned to Won Tae-in. Won has three international tournaments under his belt: the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (to be held in 2021), the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March of this year, and the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games (to be held this year) last month. This will be Won’s fourth international competition.
Won struggled at the Tokyo Olympics with an 8.44 ERA in four games and five and a third innings, and at this year’s WBC, he did not meet expectations with a 6.23 ERA in three games and four and a third innings. At the Asian Games, however, he pitched a perfect game with a 0.00 ERA in two games and 10 innings, helping his team win its fourth straight tournament.
South Korea, which held a week-long call-up training camp in Daegu from June 6, identified its starting pitchers early, and Won, who has experience starting for the national team, was one of them. Won successfully completed a practice check on Nov. 11, when he started the second game of a practice match against Chinese Taipei. After traveling to the Tokyo Dome, he trained to adjust his condition.
Before the game, manager Ryu Jung-il said, “Our opponent is a left-hander, so we have a lot of right-handed batters. Kim Hui-jip, who hit a home run the day before, will bat fifth. The key will be how many runs Won Tae-in doesn’t give up. As in the previous game, the start should be a long one. He has pitched in the Tokyo Dome before. I think he’ll do well,” he said, wishing Won a good start.
“In a shortened game, the first run is important, so we need to score quickly. We gave up the first run, and that’s why our team is playing a difficult game. I hope the starters can go at least four or five innings, and then we can have a must-win game later.”
Coach Ryu Jung-il and key players’ comments before the game
Compared to the team we faced at the Asian Games, many people say that the current Taiwanese team is relatively weak. However, the team was not to let their guard down. “There were only a few players from the Asian Games, but I heard that a lot of Taiwanese players went to the United States. I think Taiwan’s power will be strong at the WBC and the 2028 LA Olympics,” he warned.
For now, with the primary goal of reaching the final, the coaching staff planned to maximize the resources available to them after the original selection. “If we were winning, (Kim) Young-kyu or (Choi) Jimin would have gone to the must-win group. So I played (Oh) Won Seok-yi, and he was surprisingly good. There’s no tomorrow now. We can go all the way,” he said.
Kim Hwijip, who became the centerpiece of the batting order thanks to his home run the day before, said, “I got a lot of calls after the game, especially from my family (laughs). I have to do well today, and that’s important. I’ll do my best to make it to the final,” he said.
Choi Ji-hoon, who had struggled in his previous two matches, said, “A lot of people came from Korea. “As the most senior player on the team, I have to do something, but it’s hard physically, and my confidence has dropped a lot this year, so even if I try to overcome it, it’s not easy. I’m sorry that the results aren’t coming and it keeps getting worse. I just need to play well. I hope I can win today and play at 6 p.m. (final) instead of 11 a.m. (third place match).”
Won Tae-in gets off to a clean start and the other team responds with a leadoff hit
Won Tae-in got out of the first inning with a clean sheet. The leadoff hitter, Guo Tenshin, tried to hit a surprise bunt to the first baseman on a 1-0 pitch, but the ball rolled quickly to first baseman Noh Si Hwan. Noh caught the ball and beat the throw to first base for the first out.
After retiring the first batter on two pitches, Won Tae-in also retired the second batter, Chiu Zhiqing, on two pitches. The result was a fly ball to right field. He threw a relatively high six-pitch count to third baseman Chen Jeshuen, but after inducing a grounder, second baseman Kim Hye-sung calmly threw the ball to first base to end the inning. Won Tae-in only threw 10 pitches in the first inning. His fastball reached 149 km/h.
In the bottom of the first inning, the Korean bats rattled Chinese Taipei starter Wang Yen-chung. The pitcher got himself into trouble. Tablesetters Kim Hye-sung and Kim Do-young drew back-to-back walks to put runners on first and second with no outs. Third baseman Yoon Dong-hee flied out to right field, but when Noh Si-hwan stepped up to bat, Wang Yancheng’s throw to second sailed into the outfield, allowing second baseman Kim Hye-sung to reach third.
With runners on first and third and the count 2-1, Noh swung hard at a pitch that landed in front of the left fielder, allowing Kim to score from third with ease. Korea took the lead.
Kim Hui-jip drew a walk to load the bases for South Korea. Wang Yancheng’s pitch count was slowly approaching 30 pitches. Facing Wang Yancheng with the bases loaded, Kim Hyung-jun drew a full count, but failed to capitalize with a grounder to the second baseman. Second baseman Lin Jingkai and shortstop Zhang Zhengyu completed the double play with a flawless defense, and the team had to settle for a single run in the bottom of the first inning.
Won Tae-in, who survived a bases-loaded situation, helped the bats come through with a big inning in the second.
Won gave up the first hit in the second inning. Leadoff hitter Ryu Ji-hong gave up a double to the left field fence. Left fielder Park Seung-kyu tried to throw out the runner at second base after a fence play, but Ryu stole second.
With the bases loaded and Jung Hwa at second, Won Tae-in got a break with a fly ball to left field. Park Seung-kyu ran to foul territory, but he stayed focused and caught the ball, relieving Won of his burden. With the help of his defense, Won struck out Hsieh Heng-you before inducing a swinging strikeout of Lin Jing-kai. After allowing a foul home run, Won composed himself and struck out the side with a cut fastball.
In the bottom of the second, leadoff hitter Kim Joo-won was hit by a pitch on a 1-2 count that hit the mound once and sailed past the second baseman. South Korea’s second straight leadoff hitter. With the bases loaded, Park Seung-gyu tried to lay down a sacrifice bunt, but catcher Dai Pei-feng, who wanted to catch the runner at first instead of the batter, threw the ball to second. However, shortstop Jang Jeong-yu failed to make the catch. The official score was a catcher’s error.
After Park Seung-kyu, Choi Ji-hoon tried to move the runners over with a sacrifice bunt.