South Korea’s U-18 youth baseball team advanced to the bronze medal match of the World Baseball Softball Federation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup (World Youth Baseball Championship).
South Korea, led by head coach Lee Young-bok (Chungam High School), beat the Netherlands 3-1 in the final match of the super round in Taipei, Taiwan, on the 9th.
As a result, South Korea finished fourth in the super round and entered the bronze medal match. South Korea, which started the super round with one win and one loss with preliminary results, lost to Japan (1-7) and the United States (1-5), but recorded two wins and three losses by beating the Netherlands on the day.
The U.S. and Puerto Rico were also tied with South Korea with two wins and three losses. Even in the winner-win method, they could not determine the ranking. In the end, South Korea beat Puerto Rico to become fourth among six teams after comparing its performance index, TQB (Team Quality Balance·(scoring innings)-(scoring innings·defensive innings).
South Korea will play the bronze medal match against the U.S., ranked third in the super round, at 3 p.m. on the 10th. If they win this game, they will win the medal for the first time in four years since the bronze medal at the 2019 tournament. South Korea faced the U.S. in the super round and lost 1-5.
South Korea scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning with one out and runners on first and third base, with Park Ji-hwan (Se Sang-hwa) hitting a timely hit on a surprise bunt and Cho Hyun-min (Chungam High School)’s infield grounder. At the bottom of the third inning, Cho Hyun-min hit a timely double to right field in a two-out, second base chance and ran away 3-0.
South Korea gave up one run in the top of the fourth inning, but maintained a two-run lead in the remaining innings to achieve a valuable victory.
Cho Hyun-min, who started as the fifth batter and third baseman, became the first contributor to the victory with one hit, one walk, and two RBIs in two at-bats. Jung An-seok (Hwi-moon High School) also had two hits and one run in three at-bats.
Starting pitcher Yoon Sun-yeop (Jang Chung-go) blocked 3⅔ innings with 5 hits, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts, and 1 run. Park Kun-woo (Chungam High School), Kim Taek-yeon (Incheon High School), and 안전놀이터 Jeon Mir (Gyeongbuk High School) blocked the remaining 5⅓ning without losing a point.
Meanwhile, Japan and Taiwan will face off in the finals of the tournament. Japan and Taiwan, which secured at least second place in the super round, will play the final match of the super round on the afternoon of the 9th. Regardless of which team wins, both teams are confirmed to reach the final. The final match to determine the final winner will be held at 7 p.m. on the 10th.