Lee Juhyeong homered with one out and a runner on board in the top of the ninth to reverse the lead and drive Korea to the U-18 Baseball World Cup bronze medal. Korea came from behind to beat Australia, 6-5.
Korea sensed it was going to be easier when it built a 3-0 lead in a couple of at-bats. Leadoff hitter Lee Juhyeong was hit by pitch. He reached first after a scare, after being hit in the head, then Kim Jichan bunted him to second and Lee scored on a base hit by left fielder Park Juhong.
In the top of the third, it looked like Australia had given up. As many as three errors made a base hit by Kim Jichan enough to score two more runs.
Korea’s starter Lee Minho was not going to live an easy afternoon. He loaded the bases in the bottom of the third and got the first out at home plate with a good play on a sneaky swinging bunt by Jailyn Rae. Catcher Christopher Burke drove one of his offerings over the head of Lee Juhyeong for a three-RBI double. It was the first of three doubles for Burke.
Korea thrived on the fourth defensive error by the Aussie with a sacrifice fly by catcher Kang Hyeonwoo to make it 4-3 in the top of the fourth.
Australia tied it again in the bottom half of the frame when third baseman Liam Mc Donald singled off reliever Heo Yundong and brought Byron Armstrong home from second.
Burke got his third double against Lee Seunghyun to lead off the bottom of the eighth. He then reached third on a groundout and scored on a base hit up the middle by Solomon Maguire, the 16-year old outfielder.
Korea was down by the two last outs when Lee Juhyeong stepped to the plate in the top of the ninth. Korea’s centre fielder worked the count full and then was all over a fastball that William Sherriff delivered belt high. His two-run homer proved to be a game-winner.
Right-hander So Hyeongjun needed only 13 pitches, nine of them were strikes, to get the last three outs.