Ryu Jung-ilho pulled South Korea back from the brink and kept their hopes alive for a fourth consecutive Asian Games gold medal. The team’s eldest brother and signature batsman hit their stride as they swept a tough Japan team.
The South Korean baseball team, led by Ryu Jung-il, defeated Japan 2-0 in the first game of the Baseball Super Round at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games at the Shaoxing Baseball & Softball Sports Centre-Baseball in Hangzhou, China on Friday.
Ryu Joong-il named a starting lineup of Kim Hye-sung (2B-KIUM), Choi Ji-hoon (SSG), Yoon Dong-hee (RB-LOTTE), Noh Shi-hwan (3B-HANWHA), Moon Bo-kyung (1B-LG), Kang Baek-ho (designated hitter-KT), Kim Joo-won (shortstop-NC), Kim Hyung-joon (catcher-NC), and Kim Sung-yoon (left fielder-SAMSUNG). Park Se-woong (Lotte), the most senior member of the Hangzhou Asian Games team, was the starter against Japan.
South Korea was able to take an early lead thanks to Park’s performance. Park shut down the Japanese bats with six innings of two-hit ball, two walks, nine strikeouts, and no runs.
Park was faced with runners on first and third in the top of the first inning, but he showed great situational awareness. He struck out Japan’s No. 4 hitter, Tatsuhiko Sato, on a foul fly to first base and No. 5 hitter, Masashi Maruyama, on a strikeout to end the inning.
Park then retired the Japanese offense in order in the second and third innings. It wasn’t without its ups and downs, including a bases-loaded walk in the fourth and a bases-loaded walk in the fifth, but he overwhelmed the Japanese bats with a fastball in the low 150s. In the top of the sixth inning, he struck out three to complete his Quality Start+ pitching.
After being held in check by Japanese starter Shuichiro Kyo through five innings, the Korean bats broke their silence in the top of the sixth. Kim Hye-sung led off with a single and a Japanese fielding error put runners on second and third, and Choi Ji-hoon laid down a sacrifice bunt to center field.
Yoon Dong-hee drew a walk to put runners on first and third with one out in front of No. 4 hitter Noh Si-hwan, who gave Korea a valuable lead with an outfield sacrifice fly.
Noh came up big again in the bottom of the eighth inning with Korea holding a 1-0 lead. With two outs, he lined a clean single to left field to bring home pinch runner Kim Hye-sung to make the score 2-0.
Korea then put the finishing touches on the game in the top of the ninth inning when Park Young-hyun induced a bases-loaded walk. With his two scoreless innings of relief, Park became the new “patron saint” of Korean baseball.
“Our pitchers, including starter Park Se-woong, saved the day,” said Ryu Jung-il after the game, “and the bats did a great job with Noh Si-hwan’s leadoff sacrifice fly in the sixth inning and RBI single in the eighth.”
With the win over Japan, Korea can now relax and prepare for the second game of the Super Round against China at the same venue on May 5 at 12 p.m. local time. 토토사이트
The Super Round of the baseball competition at the Hangzhou Asian Games pits the top two teams from Group A and B against each other. However, teams that faced each other in the group stage