It wasn’t just an off-the-cuff choice. There was a reason for the home run. Ryu Jung-il (60) played the right card for Kim Hwijip (21). I made it to the plate. Ready to take on Japan.
South Korea rode a strong pitching performance from starter Won Tae-in and an explosive batting lineup to a 6-1 victory over Chinese Taipei in the third game of the Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) 2023 qualifier at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday.굿모닝토토
With a 2-1 record in the three preliminary games, Korea advanced to the final. They were tied with Chinese Taipei at 1-1. If we lost, it was a third place match. We had to win, and we did.
It’s not the same Chinese Taipei that we’ve faced recently. Even at the Hangzhou Asian Games, we lost in the preliminary round and then won in the final. In the 2019 Premier12 Super Round, they lost heavily, 0-7.
It was payback time. Korea dominated on the mound and with the bat, and it was especially nice to see the bats come alive. They scored four runs against Australia and Japan combined, but today they scored more than that in one game. We had 13 hits in the two games and 10 hits today. The bats definitely came alive.
We had Kim Hwijip at the plate. She went 1-for-2 with a double, two RBIs, one walk and one hit by pitch. An all-around performance. Korea smiled because of him. Kim continued his performance from the previous day.
Kim hit a solo shot to left field in the top of the ninth inning against Japan the previous day. It was his first home run as a pinch hitter. It was off Kazuto Taguchi, who has 33 saves in the Nippon Professional Baseball Central League this year.
It caught the eye of the coaching staff, including head coach Ryu Jung-il. A day later, he started as the No. 5 designated hitter against Chinese Taipei. Coach Ryu said, “He hit a home run when, so I’m starting him today. The opponent’s starter is a left-hander, so we have to use a right-hander,” he explained. It turned out to be the best choice.
First up, the top of the first inning. Noh Si-hwan singles to make it 1-0. He was up to bat with runners on first and third. He calmly drew a walk to load the bases. Although there was no follow-up hit, it was a “snow baseball” that bothered the opposing pitcher, Wang Yancheng, the Taiwanese starter, who was sent down without completing the second inning.
In the bottom of the second inning, the bats came alive. Kim Hye-sung and Kim Do-young singled to make it 3-0, and the bases were loaded. Noh Si-hwan struck out to end the inning, but Kim Hwijip exploded for a two-run double to center to make it 5-0. It was a wedge hit.
South Korea and Japan during the second game of the Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) qualifier at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan, on Sunday. Kim Hui-jip circles the bases after hitting a solo home run in the top of the ninth inning. 2023.11.17. photo | tokyo=yahoo
In the bottom of the fourth inning, I was a little disappointed with a straight hit to shortstop. I hit it well, but it went straight up. In the sixth inning, I came up to bat with runners on second and third, and I was hit by a pitch.
Next up, Kim Hyung-joon hit a big shot to right-center. It could have been right down the middle. It was caught by the opposing center fielder. Kim Hwijip did not advance.
Kim is a key player for Kiwoom. He is also the starting shortstop. In 110 games this season, Kim hit .249 with eight home runs, 51 RBIs and a .712 OPS. He has punch. His defense is improving. He’s only 21 years old. He has a lot of upside.
He made his mark on the international scene with the APBC. He hit his first home run for the Korean national team. Coach Ryu Jung-il said, “I have a good feeling about Kim Hui-jip. I’m looking forward to seeing her in the final.” She proved that she is not lacking in the starting lineup. I can see that Kim has grown up a notch. The team is smiling, and she is smiling.