USA won called game, Korea vs China Postponed

August 14th, 2008

At the second day of Olympic Baseball 2008, after a tough lost vs Korea, USA rebound against Netherlands with 7-0, but Korea vs China Games Suspended and Postponed.

Game 5: Game Summary(Box Score)
Team           1 2 3  4 5 6  7 8 9  R  H  E LOB
United States  0 1 0  4 0 0  1 1    7 10  0   7
Netherlands    0 0 0  0 0 0  0 0    0  1  0   2

Who will win if a college pitcher (Stephen Strasburg) vs. a AAA pitcher (Shairon Martis)? The answer surprise everyone, Strasburg struck out 11 through seven innings but Martis last less than three inning and allow five runs.

Strasburg allowed just one hit and walked one as the U.S. rebounded from a tough 8-7 loss to South Korea the previous night.

Matt LaPorta belted a three-run homer and Matt Brown added a solo shot. Jason Donald had three hits and an RBI.

The game was called with the Netherlands having the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, causing players on the losing team to vent a little.

“Every run we score against the USA is important and anything is possible,” said catcher Sidney de Jong. “With the bases loaded and no outs, we may score eight or we may score three, but everything you take into the next game is important.”

That wasn’t the case though for USA manager Davey Johnson.

“I’m not good at waiting and neither are my guys, but I’m glad they called it when they did,” said Johnson. “When you’re down seven to zip your chances of scoring against my pitching staff is not very good.”

Brown homered to start the second inning, and the U.S. added four more runs in the fourth. Terry Tiffee doubled to begin the frame and Brown walked. With one out, LaPorta homered. Donald doubled in a run later in the inning.

The Americans added another run on a wild pitch in the seventh and Dexter Fowler had an RBI groundout in the eighth.

Game 6: Game Summary(Box Score)
Team    1 2 3  4 5 6  7 8 9  R  H  E LOB
China   0 0 0  0 0 0         0  2  0   3
Korea   0 0 0  0 0 0         0  3  0   2

And another surprise came from China vs Korea game, the host use their pitching to let Asian opponent quiet for five innings, and after a combined two-and-a-half hour rain delay, they must wait until Aug. 17 to try to break a 0-0 deadlock. The game will be played on the Wukesong Baseball Main Field at 18:00.

Sloppy USA falls, Japan can not win

August 13th, 2008

At the evening game of Olympic Baseball on first day, Korea proved they can beat USA and Cuba once again show their ability at international baseball.

Game 3: Game Summary(Box Score)

Team          1 2 3  4 5 6  7 8 9   R   H  E LOB
United States 1 0 0  0 2 1  0 0 3   7  12  1   7
Korea         0 2 1  0 3 0  0 0 2   8   9  1   3

From Jeff Faraudo of Bay Area News Group:

The U.S. baseball team had a chance Wednesday to answer Cuba.

But it couldn’t close the deal.

The day after two Cuban players said Japan will be their chief competition for a gold medal in what may be the final Olympic baseball tournament, the Americans dropped their opener, falling 8-7 to South Korea.

The Americans rallied from a 6-4 deficit to take a 7-6 lead on Matt Brown’s two-out, two run single in the top of the ninth but closer Jeff Stevens surrendered two runs in the bottom of the ninth, sabotaging himself with a wild pick-off throw that put the winning run 90 feet from home plate.

The South Koreans capitalized when Lee Jong-wook delivered a sacrifice fly to center to score Lee Taek-keum with the winning run.

Stevens, who pitches in the Cleveland Indians’ organization, came on as the fourth pitcher for the U.S. and immediately gave up a line-drive double down the left-field line to Jeong Keun-woo.

Jeong moved to third on a groundout scored the tying run when second baseman Jayson Nix threw wide to the plate after scooping up a ground ball. Lee was safe at first on the fielder’s choice.

Things went from bad to worse when Stevens fired a pick-off attempt over the head of first baseman Brown, sending Lee to third.

USA Manager Davey Johnson said Brown was listening to instructions from the dugout and didn’t see Stevens’ throw.

“That was basically the ball game,” Johnson said.

The U.S. hit two home runs, the first a solo shot leading off the sixth by Nate Schierholtz, who plays for the Giants’ Triple-A club in Fresno. Mike Hessman blasted a solo shot in the ninth.

The U.S. faces the Netherlands today (Beijing time) and will play the powerful Cubans on Friday (Beijing time). A’s prospect Trevor Cahill is expected to draw the starting pitching assignment against Cuba.

Game 4: Game Summary(Box Score)

Team  1 2 3  4 5 6  7 8 9  R  H  E  LOB
Japan 0 0 1  0 1 0  0 0 0  2  9  1    7
Cuba  0 1 1  0 2 0  0 0 X  4  9  1   12

From AFP Havana, Cubans use win to celebrate Castro’ 82 birthday.

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who has not been seen in public since falling ill two years ago, quietly turned 82 on Wednesday, as many Cubans instead celebrated an Olympic baseball victory.

Castro, who has not been seen in public since a July 2006 stomach operation for an undisclosed illness, maintains local and international influence through comments in newspapers, and has appeared in videos with visiting heads of government.

But Castro’s birthday coincided with an Olympic baseball match in China between Cuba and Japan and many on the baseball-crazy Caribbean island were glued to their radios to follow the game.

“Of course it’s the birthday of the Commandante (Castro) who I respect more than anyone, but it’s also an important match for our baseball team,” said one government worker, celebrating his team’s 4-2 victory.

And losing some best player to Major League Baseball might influence Japan’s Olympic goal, write AP.

If only Daisuke Matsuzaka, Ichiro Suzuki and Kosuke Fukodome had been in China instead of the majors, Japan might have done better against Cuba in their Olympics opener Wednesday night.

Alfredo Despaigne went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and Norge Luis Vera pitched six solid innings to carry Cuba past Japan 4-2 in a rematch of the finals from the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006 — and a preview of the finals, if both teams live up to expectations.

“It was a very difficult game,” Cuba manager Antonio Pacheco said. “It’s always important to win your first game in the Olympics.”

Each starting lineup featured five players from the Classic finale, which Japan won 10-6. The teams actually have met since then, with Cuba beating Japan in the semifinals of the lower-profile Baseball World Cup last November.

“Today, just today, they are better than us,” Japan manager Senichi Hoshino said. “But the Japanese team is good.”

The Cubans have owned the Olympics, winning three of the four gold medals, including the last one, and taking silver the other time. With baseball going off the schedule in 2012, and not guaranteed to return after that, Cuba would love nothing more than to go out on top. And Japan, with only one silver and two bronzes, would also like to leave a better impression on the history books.

On Wednesday, Fidel Castro’s 82nd birthday, the weather was miserable — hot, humid and a constant haze that looked like a fireworks show had just ended. Then rain came in the eighth inning, although loud supporters of both teams never stopped cheering and chanting.

The teams made nice before things got started at Wukesong Baseball Field, exchanging pins before the head of Japan’s baseball federation threw the opening pitch to Cuba’s catcher.

Some inside heaters in the early innings set a different tone. So did a fastball to the backstop on the first pitch from hulking reliever Pedro Luis Lazo against Munenori Kawasaki, who was 2-for-2 with two runs at the time, and a hard slide to break up a double play by Hiroyuki Nakajima, Kawasaki’s pinch-runner after he ended up singling off Lazo.

Both teams wasted great chances to break things open in the early innings, but neither pushed more than one run across at a time. Cuba led 1-0 in the second and 2-1 in the third, but Japan tied it again in the fifth.

Japan starter Yu Darvish, likely to join “Dice-K” as a big-league starter one day, got out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the second, then struck out Cuba’s cleanup hitter Alexander Malleta with the bases loaded in fourth. But after opening the fifth with a walk and a hard-hit double, he was gone.

Despaigne greeted reliever Yoshihisa Naruse with a liner to left that drove in both runners.

There were fewer scoring threats after that, with fresh arms from the bullpen dominating hitters possible drained by the muggy weather.

Takahiro Abe opened the ninth with a single off Lazo, but he was stuck there. Lazo retired the next three batters, ending the game with a called strikeout of Nakajima.

Vera (1-0) gave up two runs on seven hits with two strikeouts. Lazo gave up two hits and fanned two in three innings for the save.

“I already know that I have the talent,” Vera said. “Next time, I think I need to have more control.”

Darvish (0-1) allowed four runs in four innings, with four walks, seven hits and six strikeouts.

“He was not in good form,” his manager said. “He didn’t do his job today.”

So first day’s four games is over, unexpectedly Korea let world knows their performance of World Baseball Classic can be reproduced, and Cuba remain one of the favorite team to win another Gold in final Olympics.

As for USA and Japan, they both need to regroup and forgot their lost, and face the other six game at the Preliminaries.

Lim Chang Yong not for Olympic

July 4th, 2008

Because Daniel Rios did not pass drug test, South Korean closer Lim Chang Yong is not get permission to play Beijing Olympics, according to Kyodo.

The Yakult Swallows have refused to release South Korean closer Lim Chang Yong to play for his country at the Beijing Olympics, senior Yakult official Kesanori Kurashima said Friday.

”We were gladly willing to have Lim go to the Olympics, but then we had the unexpected doping test failure by Daniel Rios, making it difficult for us to release him,” Kurashima said. ”Lim has agreed to our decision.”

Last week, Yakult announced the release of Rios after the right-handed starter was handed a one-year suspension for failing a drug test.

Yakult has informed the Korea Baseball Organization of its decision.

Lim joined Yakult this season on a two-year, $800,000 deal with a club option for a third year after posting a 104-66 career record with 168 saves in South Korea. He has earned 19 saves and had a 2.17 ERA as of Thursday.

Not good news for Korea Team.

Final Olympic Qualifier is over!

March 14th, 2008

After eight days of competition, IBAF Final Olympic Qualifying Tournament is over, South Korea, Canada, Taiwan qualify for Beijing Olympics baseball, Canada finishes first, Taiwan loses to South Korea, finishes third.

“The goal coming in was to qualify for the Olympics,” said Canadian starter Brooks McNiven of Vancouver, “and open everybody else’s eyes that we’re not just cruising into this but that we’re here to win.”

2004 Olympic silver medal winner Australia miss even with a win over South Africa.

“It was tough going out there today and that could certainly be classed as one of the ugliest wins of all time, but there were a few things there really worth noting,” manager Jon Deeble said. “We could very well look back at that game for producing things like James Linger’s first hit for Australia and Brad Tippett’s first win, two things youre likely to see a lot more of for many years to come.”

2008 IBAF Final Olympic Qualifying Tournament Final Recap is here.

Game 25 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Mexico 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 2 6 0
Spain 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0

WP: Alvarez Ramirez (1-1) LP: Gutierrez Gutierrez (0-1)

RECAP BOX SCORE

Game 26 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Australia 4 0 3 2 0 0 3 1 0 13 14 4
South Africa 0 7 0 1 1 0 0 0 2 11 14 1

WP: Tippet (1-0) LP: Townend (0-1) HR: Luke Hughes

RECAP BOX SCORE

Game 27 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Korea 0 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 9 2
Chinese Taipei 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 3 7 2

WP: Kim, K. H. (2-0) LP: Lee C.-C. (0-1)

RECAP BOX SCORE

Game 28 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E
Germany 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 5 2
Canada 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 6 1

WP: Green (2-0) LP: Fries (1-1)

RECAP BOX SCORE

Final Standing (2008/3/14)

COUNTRY GP WO LO AVE GB
KOREA 7 6 1 857 – (QUALIFYED)
CANADA 7 6 1 857 – (QUALIFYED)
CHINESE TAIPEI 7 5 2 714 1.0(QUALIFYED)
MEXICO 7 4 3 571 2.0
AUSTRALIA 7 4 3 571 2.0
GERMANY 7 2 5 286 4.0
SPAIN 7 1 6 143 5.0
SOUTH AFRICA 7 0 7 0 6.0

Korea, Canada and Chinese Taipei got the qualification

March 13th, 2008

Before last day of IBAF Final Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Canada and Chinese Taipei won and get the tickets to Beijing, join the Korea who advanced a day early to 2008 Olympics.

The three team will joined the United States, host China, Cuba, Japan and the Netherlands at the Beijing Games 2008 Olympics.

Official Recap is here.

Game 21 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Spain 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2
Australia 3 3 0 3 0 0 0 0 ? 9 13 0

WP: Mowday (1-0) LP: Hernandez Diaz (0-2) HR: Ben Risinger (2inning, 3 runs)

RECAP BOX SCORE

Game 22 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Mexico 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 7 1
Germany 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 2

WP: Ortega Salinas (1-1) LP: Marquez Ramirez (1-1) HR: Carlos Valencia (9inning, 1 run)

RECAP BOX SCORE

Game 23 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Korea 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 8 1
Canada 3 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 ? 4 9 2

WP: Richmond, S. (2-0) LP: Ryu (0-1) HR: Mattew Rogelstad (2, 1inning, runs), Nicholas Weglarz (3, 4 inning, 1 run)

RECAP BOX SCORE

Game 24 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Chinese Taipei 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 2 0 4 5 2
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 2

WP: Chiang (2-1) LP: Armitage (0-2) HR: Chih-Hsien Chiang (7 inning, 1 run)

RECAP BOX SCORE

Current Standing (2008/3/13)

COUNTRY GP WO LO AVE GB
KOREA 6 5 1 833
CANADA 6 5 1 833
CHINESE TAIPEI 6 5 1 833
MEXICO 6 3 3 500 2.0
AUSTRALIA 6 3 3 500 2.0
GERMANY 6 2 4 333 3.0
SPAIN 6 1 5 167 4.0
SOUTH AFRICA 6 0 6 0 5.0

Final three teams almost reveal

March 12th, 2008

After one day rest, Korea get the ticket to Beijing by winning five streak, Virtually Clinches the Olympic Berth. And Canada also closing in on a trip to Beijing Games, won a ticket by thumps Spain in Olympic baseball qualifier.

Taiwan shuts out Australia in crucial games, clears way to Olympic Games, a win against South Africa will assure Taiwan of a spot in the Olympics.

For Australia, life is not so good, especially after they lost to Chinese Taipei. They need to beat Spain and South Africa and rely on Canada dropping their final games against Korea and minnows Germany. NATIONAL coach Jon Deeble has slammed the international baseball federation and accused rival countries of conspiring to ensure reigning Olympic silver medallists Australia didn’t qualify for Beijing.

Game 17 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Germany 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 0
Korea 2 3 0 6 1 0 12 10 0

WP: Son, M. H. (2-0) LP: Henkenjohann (0-2) HR: Donald Lutz (2 inning, 1 run)
RECAP BOX SCORE

Game 18 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Spain 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
Canada 4 0 1 4 0 2 11 12 1

WP: Periard (2-0) LP: Leal (0-1) HR: Nicholas Weglarz (2, 3 inning, 1 run)
RECAP BOX SCORE

Game 19 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1
Mexico 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 2 ? 5 9 0

WP: Campos Machado (1-0) LP: Mostert (0-1) HR: Karim Garcia 2 (1, 4inning 2runs, 2, 8inning 2 runs)
RECAP BOX SCORE

Game 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 2
Chinese Taipei 0 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 ? 5 7 1

WP: Yang (2-0) LP: Mildren (1-1)
RECAP BOX SCORE

Current Standing (2008/3/12)

COUNTRY GP WO LO AVE GB
KOREA 5 5 0 1.000
CANADA 5 4 1 800 1.0
CHINESE TAIPEI 5 4 1 800 1.0
AUSTRALIA 5 2 3 400 3.0
GERMANY 5 2 3 400 3.0
MEXICO 5 2 3 400 3.0
SPAIN 5 1 4 200 4.0
SOUTH AFRICA 5 0 5 0 5.0

Korea remain unbeaten

March 10th, 2008

After four days of IBAF Final Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Korea is 4-0 and the only team remain unbeaten, and 5 to 6 to Canada is a heart breaking lost for Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), and Canada improve 3-1 at Olympic Qualifier, Mexico finally got first win.

Of course, host Taiwan keen to secure Beijing baseball berth.

“Baseball is the sport we pay most attention to,” an official with the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee told reporters. “It’s best if we can get in, otherwise we won’t care about the Olympics as much.” “Baseball is so important that if we’re not in the Olympics, people will be very disappointed,” said Richard Lin, secretary general of the island’s Amateur Baseball Association. “It’s our national sport and this chance at the Olympics is hard to get.”

Official Recap is here.

Game 13 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
South Africa 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 3 0
Germany 0 0 1 0 0 2 1 0 ? 4 10 1

WP: Fries (1-0) LP: Terry (0-1)
RECAP BOX SCORE

Game 14 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Korea 1 0 1 5 1 2 1 3 0 14 16 1
Spain 0 0 0 0 4 1 0 0 0 5 11 1

WP: S. W. Kim (1-0) LP: Olivera Cavero (0-1) HR: Seung Yuop Lee (2, 8 inning, 2 runs)
RECAP BOX SCORE

Game 15 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E
Canada 0 2 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 6 16 2
Chinese Taipei 2 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 5 10 1

WP: Green (1-0) LP: Chiang (1-1) HR: Nicholas Weglarz (6 inning, 1 run), KUO-HUI LO (2, 6inning, 3 runs)
RECAP BOX SCORE

Game 16 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Mexico 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 3 1 7 11 1
Australia 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 1 0 4 11 1

WP: Silva Sandoval (1-0) LP: Bright (0-1)
RECAP BOX SCORE

Current Standing (2008/3/10)

COUNTRY GP WO LO AVE GB
KOREA 4 4 0 1.000
CANADA 4 3 1 750 1.0
CHINESE TAIPEI 4 3 1 750 1.0
AUSTRALIA 4 2 2 667 2.0
GERMANY 4 2 2 500 2.0
SPAIN 4 1 3 250 3.0
MEXICO 4 1 3 0 4.0
SOUTH AFRICA 4 0 4 0 4.0

Korea and Chinese Taipei got three wins

March 9th, 2008

Day three of the 2008 IBAF Final Olympic Qualifying Tournament is ended, Australia still in the baseball action, Taiwan downs Germany according to CNA and Taipei Times, CBC sports and Canadian press write about Canada’s baseball team loses, and Korea won again.

The official recap is here.

Game 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Chinese Taipei 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 9 0
Germany 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 1

WP: Chang (1-0) LP: Hughes (0-1)
RECAP BOX SCORE

Game 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Canada 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 2 0 5 8 1
Australia 0 0 4 0 4 0 0 2 ? 10 14 1

WP: Kent (1-0) LP: McNiven (0-1) HR: James Van Ostrand (2 inning, 1
run), Mattew Rogelstad (7 inning, 2 runs), Ryan Radmanovich (8 inning, 2runs)

RECAP BOX SCORE

Game 11 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Spain 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 5 1
South Africa 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 1

WP: Leal Gonzalez (1-0) LP: Armitage (0-1)
RECAP BOX SCORE

Game 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Mexico 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 7 1
Korea 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 4 ? 6 10 0

WP: K. H. Kim (1-0) LP: Silva Escalante (0-1) HR: Miguel Ojeda (5 inning, 1 run)
RECAP BOX SCORE

Current standing (2008/3/9)
COUNTRY GP WO LO AVE GB
KOREA 3 3 0 1.000
CHINESE TAIPEI 3 3 0 1.000
AUSTRALIA 3 2 1 667 1.0
CANADA 3 2 1 667 1.0
GERMANY 3 1 2 333 2.0
SPAIN 3 1 2 333 2.0
MEXICO 3 0 3 0 3.0
SOUTH AFRICA 3 0 3 0 3.0

Canada, Korea and Chinese Taipei get the second win

March 8th, 2008

On the second day of the Final Olympic Qualifier, Canada, Korea, Chinese Taipei and Germany Win, but South Africa, Australia, Mexico and Spain lost.

Baseball America let us know more about players from minor league, and The China Post describe detail on Chinese Taipei beat Mexico, Seung-woo Kang of The Korea Times wrote an article about Korea hammers Australia, you can also get the game recap form IBAF new official websites.

Game 5 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ? ? 0 5 1
Canada 0 0 1 2 6 0 1 ? ? 10 10 0

WP: Periard (1-0) LP: Dancer (0-1) HR: Chris Robinson (1, 7inning)
RECAP BOX SCORE

Game 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Chinese Taipei 0 0 2 2 0 0 0 2 0 6 13 0
Mexico 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 7 0

WP: Yang (1-0) LP: Ortega (0-1)
RECAP BOX SCORE

Game 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Australia 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 ? ? 2 10 0
Korea 4 2 4 6 0 0 ? ? ? 16 13 1

WP: Ryu (1-0) LP: Wiltshire (0-1) HR: Seung Yuop Lee (1, 3 inning, 3Runs)
RECAP BOX SCORE

Game 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Germany 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 7 0
Spain 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0

WP: Marquez-Ramirez (1-0) LP: Hernandez (0-1) HR: Sascha Lutz (1, 8inning)
RECAP BOX SCORE

Current standing (2008/3/8)

TEAM W-L    PCT.    GB
CANADA 2-0    1.000    —
CHINESE TAIPEI 2-0    1.000    —
KOREA 2-0    1.000    —
AUSTRALIA 1-1    0.500    1.00
GERMANY 1-1    0.500    1.0
MEXICO 0-2    0.000    2.0
SOUTH AFRICA 0-2    0.000    2.0
SPAIN 0-2    0.000    2.0

Korea is happy about their first win

March 8th, 2008

The first step is the most important.” Korean national baseball team manager Gyeong-moon Kim said.

He also mention that he would use starting pitcher Sun-woo Kim (Doosan) as a relief pitcher. Kim will be the starting pitcher in the game against Spain on Mar. 10 and Min-han Son will be the starter in the game against Germany on Mar. 12. But Kim could be brought in as a relief pitcher as a crucial closer.

Korea defeated South Africa 5-0 at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taiwan on Friday. Son stuck out seven batters in six innings with one hit and no loss. Kim had no hit and no loss in two innings. Kyu-min Woo pitched for one scoreless innings to complete the shutout.

The Koreans pounded South African starter Robert Verschuren early, opening their account on an RBI double by Seung-yeop Lee in the first inning. They added two runs in the third inning on consecutive doubles by Dong-joo Kim and Dae-ho Lee, and Taek-geun Lee drove Kim home with an RBI single in the eighth. Jin-young Lee scored In-sung Cho with a double in the ninth to complete the rout.

Seung-yeop Lee has often been touted by other players for his professional spirit and attitude. During his free time, he goes to the health club at the Howard Hotel in Taijung, Taiwan to workout and lift weights. Sometimes, he teaches younger players how to build muscles and get into better shape.

While other players went shopping or watched TV on Wednesday, Lee stayed at the hotel to exercise at the club.

I want to do my best and be ready to play the game in the utmost condition,” he said. “That is why I keep working on these weights.”

Lee is well known for his generosity and thoughtfulness towards his peers and junior players. Kwang-hyun Kim, the youngest member on the national team, said, “Lee is like an older brother or friend because he always takes care of others. I think I should learn from his humble attitude without boasting in spite of his stardom.”

If Lee is seen as very thoughtful and friendly, LA Dodgers’ Chan-ho Park, who served as team leader for last year’s national team, is known for his strong leadership skills.

Due to Park’s strong confidence and pride, he gives off a bit of a cold impression, though he is very charismatic. On the other hand, Lee, who looks soft and gentle, has a mighty spirit. His distinctive character is expected to lead the team to the finals in Beijing.

Before the game, manager Kim hope to got the win early, but it still need nine-inning to finish against South Africa.. “It is vital that we score as many runs as we can in the early innings against the teams considered weaker, as taking advantage of the seven-inning mercy rule would be the best way to save our bullpen pitchers for more critical situations.” “It would be important for us to get our wins early and give us a cushion for the rest of the tournament,” he said. “We won’t risk too much in the goal of winning all of our matches.”

Kim would obviously prefer less of a thriller, as he plans to go all out in the first three games, with contenders Australia and Mexico next in line, gunning for a comfortable lead and wouldn’t want to consume too much energy against an underdog opponent.
Even South Africa is bringing 11 players from its WBC roster to Taiwan, include ace pitcher Barry Armitage, a former Kansas City Royals prospect, Second baseman Jonathan Phillips, who once played rookie ball in the Milwaukee Brewers system, and shortstop Brett Willemburg, they still can not score a run against Korea.

For Korea, all eyes will be on the performance of shortstop Jin-man Park, considered one of Asia’s top defensive players at the position, who made the roster despite a bum shoulder.

Park’s injury makes the left part of the Korean infield an uncertainty, as Dong-joo Kim, whose value clearly lies with his bat, is a liability with his limited range at third base.

If Park fail to prove his fitness, Manager Kim could opt to switch for Son Shi-hun, slightly a better bat but much lesser of a glove, in the games against Australia and Mexico.

At least Kim has good news with batting lineup, which has the potential to be the country’s most productive ever. Expect Seung-yeop Lee, Dong-joo Kim and Dae-ho Lee, Centerfielder Lee Jong-wook, who hits for average and steals bases in bunches, is hitting leadoff, followed by Ko Young-min, a second baseman with a pop in the bat. Outfielders Lee Jin-young and Lee Taek-geun and catcher Cho In-sung combine as a formidable trio at the bottom of the order.

South Korea is currently playing in an eight-team tournament that stakes three tickets to the Beijing Olympics in August. The South Africans, along with Germany and Spain, were considered among the weakest of the eight squads, but host Taiwan and regional powers Australia, Mexico and Canada may be tough competition for the Koreans.

South Korea meets Australia today in their second match of the tournament and Mexico on Sunday.

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