The South Korean baseball team, led by Ryu Jung-il, earned a hard-fought cold-game victory over Hong Kong in their first game of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games. It proved to be more difficult than expected as the batters struggled to time the slower pitches of the Hong Kong pitchers.
South Korea defeated Hong Kong 10-0 in the eighth inning in the first game of their Baseball Group B match at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games at the Shaoxing Baseball & Softball Sports Centre-Baseball in Hangzhou, China on Monday.
“Our starting pitcher Won Tae-in pitched well, and the pitchers who came in after that were supposed to pitch one inning each regardless of the score, and they did a good job,” said Ryu Jung-il after the win over Hong Kong. “The batters were nervous at the beginning, and the Hong Kong pitchers’ ball was slow, so we couldn’t get the timing right and got stuck a bit.”
Korea’s starting lineup was Kim Hye-sung (second base), Choi Ji-hoon (center field), Noh Si-hwan (third base), Kang Baek-ho (designated hitter), Moon Bo-kyung (first base), Yoon Dong-hee (right field), Park Sung-sung (shortstop), Kim Hyung-joon (catcher), and Kim Sung-yoon (left field). Won Tae-in was the favorite to start.
It wasn’t a bad start. Won gave up a double to Jordan Won in the top of the first inning, but promptly struck out Hong Kong’s No. 4 hitter, Nguyen Yau-fang, to end the inning without allowing a run.
In the bottom of the first inning, Choi Ji-hoon hit an infield single, followed by a throwing error by Taiwanese first baseman Ryan Cheung and a walk to Noh Si-hwan to put runners on first and second. Kang Baek-ho struck out, but Choi Ji-hoon, who was at second base when Moon Bo-kyung singled to right, crossed home plate for the 1-0 lead.
Won Tae-in retired the Hong Kong bats in order in the top of the second, third, and fourth innings, but the bats were not clicking. In the bottom of the third inning, with runners on first and second, Kang Baek-ho’s well-placed shot was caught by Hong Kong’s right fielder Ho Bee.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Kim Hye-sung’s RBI double made the score 3-0, but the runners were stranded on first and second with no outs. In the bottom of the fifth, a bases-loaded walk to Moon Bo-kyung halted the flow, and in the sixth, runners were left on first and second and third with no outs.
The frustrating flow was resolved in the eighth inning. Kim Hye-sung led off the inning with a double, and after Choi Ji-hoon’s infield single, Noh Si-hwan’s RBI single made the score 4-0.
With the momentum on their side, South Korea completely wrecked the Hong Kong mound in the ensuing 1-3 at-bats. Kang Baek-ho drew a walk to load the bases and Moon Bo-kyung’s push single made it 5-0. Yoon Dong-hee followed with a two-run double, a throwing error, and Park Sung-sung’s RBI sacrifice fly to center field to make it 9-0 in no time.
The fired-up Korean bats put the game away in the top of the ninth with no outs. Kim Hyung-jun singled, Kim Sung-yoon walked, and Kim Hye-sung hit an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth to secure the called game victory.
While the three-run seventh inning was disappointing, it was encouraging to see the main bats of Kim Hye-sung, Choi Ji-hoon, Noh Si-hwan, Moon Bo-kyung, and Yoon Dong-hee improve their batting average.
Won Tae-in pitched four innings of one-hit ball with eight strikeouts, while Jung Woo-young, Choi Ji-min, Jang Hyun-seok, and Park Young-hyun followed with one inning of scoreless relief.
“The Hong Kong pitchers’ pitches were slow in the first half of the game, but the pitchers in the second half were relatively fast, so the batters timed their pitches well,” said Ryu. “I heard that the pitches shown on the scoreboard here are about 10 kilometers slower than in other stadiums,” he added.
“The batting order won’t change much. Tomorrow against Taiwan, I know a left-handed pitcher is starting, but I don’t know until we have a coaching staff meeting, but I don’t plan to change (the lineup). We’re expecting a fastball pitcher, so we have to be prepared for that.”
South Korea will take on Chinese Taipei at 6:30 p.m. (local time) today in the second game of Group B baseball at the Hangzhou Asian Games. It’s the de facto decider for first place in Group B and a must-win game for a spot in the finals.
Eight countries will compete in the baseball 토토사이트 competition at the Hangzhou Asian Games. The teams are divided into two groups of four, with the first and second place teams from each group advancing to the Super Round.
In the Super Round, teams that played each other in the group stage will have their group wins and losses carried over for ranking purposes, with no rematches. If South Korea defeats Chinese Taipei, it will make things easier for them in the Super Round.