The South Korean national baseball team, led by Ryu Jung-il, lost 3-4 to Japan in the final game of the Kanext Asia Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) 2023 at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan, on April 19.굿모닝토토
South Korea earned a hard-fought victory in the first game against Australia. They gave up an early lead to Australia, but Kim Hyung-joon tied the game with an RBI single. They fell behind again in the top of the sixth inning when Moon Dong-ju gave up a home run. However, Kim Joo-won’s RBI single in the bottom of the eighth tied the game. In the bottom of the 10th inning, Noh Si-hwan hit a grand slam to win the game 3-2.
In the second game, Korea took a knee to Japan. They had three hits against Japanese starter Chihiro Sumida (Seibu Lions). Trailing 0-2 in the top of the ninth inning, Kim pinch-hit for Son Sung-bin and hit a one-run home run, but the team was unable to score any more runs and lost 1-2.
In the third game against Chinese Taipei, the bats were balanced, and the offense was able to capitalize on the shaky start of Chinese Taipei starter Wang Yen-chung (Rakuten Golden Eagles). They scored five runs in the second inning to take the lead. Won Tae-in gave up a one-run homer to Liu Ji-hong, but Kim Joo-won extended the lead with a wedge single to center field, and the team went on to win 6-1.
Against Japan in the final, it was a hard-fought battle. Korea opened the scoring with a two-run double by Noh Si-hwan, but was chased by a one-run home run by Maki Shugo and tied the game in the bottom of the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Sato Teruaki.
Neither team scored in the regular innings, sending the game into extra innings. South Korea regained the lead in the top of the 10th on an RBI single by Yoon Dong-hee, but Shogo Sakakura tied the game in the bottom of the inning on a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded. After getting Chusei Mannami to fly out to center field, Japan opted to face Makoto Kadoki, but Kadoki got the final out to end the game.
In the official post-game press conference, Japan head coach Hirokazu Ibata was full of praise for the Korean starters. He praised Moon Dong-joo (Hanwha Eagles), Lee Yi-ri (KIA Tigers), Won Tae-in (Samsung Lions), and Kwak Bin (Doosan Bears) for their starts in the tournament.
“We played two games against Korea,” Ibata said. We won the games, but I think it was a small margin. I wouldn’t have been surprised if Korea won two games,” he said, “They hit sharply. We learned a lot from them.”
“The pitchers had good command of their pitches and were able to throw their changeups when they needed to work the count, so you could see that,” he said. “All four starters were throwing over 150 mph. I thought it was scary going forward because we had four great guys.”
Moon Dong-joo of the Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) team./Getty Images Korea
“One of the biggest takeaways from this tournament was that not one of our starters broke down. All four did their job.
Game 1 starter Moon Dong-joo gave up an early run in the first inning, but settled down from there. He gave up a home run in the sixth inning. But he pitched well enough. In 5⅔ innings, he allowed two runs on five hits (one home run) with five strikeouts and four walks.
Lee’s start against Japan was his first in the 2022 Para.