Incheon High School’s “ace” Kim Taeyeon held off defending champion Gyeongbuk High School to reach the finals of the Presidential Baseball Tournament for the first time in 19 years.
Incheon beat Gyeongbuk 3-2 in the semifinals on Aug. 12 at Mokdong Stadium in Seoul. Incheon will play the final against Gunsan Sangil High School at 1 p.m. on Aug. 14 at Mokdong Stadium.
On the day, Incheon led off with the following starting batting order: Park Jae-hyun (right fielder), Lee Jae-hyo (center fielder), Han Kyu-hyuk (third baseman), Lim Kyu-young (second baseman), Kim Ji-seok (first baseman), Lee Tae-oh (designated hitter), Kim Jun-won (shortstop), Lee Woo-joon (left fielder), and Lee Yoo-chan (catcher).
The opponent, Kyungpook National University, had a starting batting order of Kim Se-hoon (shortstop), Park Kwan-woo (left fielder), Lim Jong-sung (third baseman), Jeon Mir (designated hitter), Lee Seung-hyun (catcher), Jung Hee-chan (first baseman), Lee Stable (right fielder), Park Hyun-hoo (second baseman), and Park Gun-woo (center fielder).
After a scoreless first inning for both teams, the scoring started in the second. In the top of the second inning, Kyungpook National University put runners on first and second with back-to-back singles by Lee Seung-hyun and Jung Hee-chan and a sacrifice bunt by Steady Hwan against Incheon National University starter Park Sang-hyun.
The Incheon bench immediately sent their “ace” Kim Taek-yeon to the mound as the threat of an early run loomed. Kim gave up the first run of the game when he was hit by a pitch while facing Park Hyun-hoo. However, Kim struck out Park Hyun-hoo and Park Gun-woo in succession to prevent further damage.
Incheon fought back in the bottom of the second inning, with leadoff hitter Lim Kyu-young leading off with a single to right. After advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt, Lim made a bold attempt to steal third base two batters later. A throwing error by the opposing catcher at third led to the tying run scoring.
After Kim Taek-yeon struck out the side in the top of the third inning, Incheon took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the inning with a leadoff solo home run by Park Jae-hyun.
The first time Kim and Jeon faced off was in the fourth inning. In the top of the fourth, Kim faced Jeon Mir, who led off the inning, and induced a grounder to the pitcher. With two on and two out, Kim induced a grounder to third base to end the inning.
Incheon tied the game in the top of the fifth with a fielding error. With one out in the top of the fifth, Park Gun-woo led off with a triple to right-center field, but second baseman Lim Kyu-young, who was playing forward defense, made a throwing error on the next batter, Kim Se-hoon’s grounder.
The back-and-forth flow continued. In the bottom of the fifth, Incheon had runners on first and third after leadoff hitter Lee Woo-jun doubled to left-center field, followed by a sacrifice bunt by Lee Yoo-chan. Park Jae-hyun, who had hit a home run in the previous at-bat, followed with an RBI single to left center to bring the lead back to 3-2.
Kim and Jeon faced off again in the top of the sixth inning. This time, it was Kim who came out on top. Kim threw a powerful fastball to get the leadoff hitter to swing and miss. With runners on first and second, Kim made a quick throw to second base to end the inning.
Two batters later in the top of the eighth, Kim allowed a single to left field in her third at-bat against Jeon Mir. However, Kim struck out the next batter, Lee Seung-hyun, on a wild pitch to end the inning.
In the top of the ninth inning, Kim struck out the leadoff batter, Jung Hee-chan, on a grounder to second base, and then struck out the next batter, Lee Seong-hwan, on a swinging strikeout. With the pitch count limit (105 pitches), Kim handed the ball over to Jung Joo-young and walked off the mound. Kim showed off his best pitching, combining his precise control with 74 strikes out of 105 pitches, while also striking out nine batters. 스포츠토토
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Jung Ju-young gave up a single and a walk to put runners on first and second base. Jo Young-woo, who came on in relief, closed out the game and secured a spot in the final for the first time in 19 years after winning the tournament in 2004.