Seunghwan Song's head-first slide to first propels Korea to World Championship final

Seunghwan Song's head-first slide to first propels Korea to World Championship final
22/10/2022
With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the eighth, the left fielder hit a grounder to third. After getting the force out on the bag, Branlyn Jaraba threw to first base for the double play. Song dove to beat his throw, allowing Hanbyul Kim to score the winning run.

Seunghwan Song provided the opportunity for his teammate to score the winning run that put Korea ahead 5-4 in the eighth inning to beat Colombia on Saturday and earn the spot in the IV WBSC U-23 Baseball World Cup final.

Korea came within two strikes from losing, but Catcher Seongbin Son tied it in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI double. After keeping Colombia scoreless in the top of the eighth, Korea scored the winning run thanks to Seunghwan Song's hustle.

Colombia, despite having no chance for the medal round, played bravely with second baseman Carlos Arroyo starring at 4-for-4 with four RBIs.

Colombia got on the scoreboard early against submarine right-hander Unhyun Noh and took a 5-4 lead into the seventh.

It looked like it was over for Korea when pinch hitter Youngwoo Koo bunted into a double play with runners at first and second in the bottom of the seventh. However, Taeyang Han was at second with a 2-1 count and two outs, when Seongbin Son hit a towering fly to left field that found Jorge Puerta playing shallow and became an RBI double that sent the game to extra innings.

Junho Lee, the sixth Korean pitcher, retired the side in order in the top of the eighth.

Korea advanced the tie-break runners on a bunt, forcing reliever Gabriel Hernandez to allow an intentional walk to Taeyun Kim. Seunghwan Song worked a full count, then hit a grounder to third.

Branlyn Jaraba decided to ignore the runner heading home and got the force out on the bag, then threw to first to complete an inning-ending double play. Song hustled along the line and dove to reach first base, beating the throw and allowing Hanbyul Kim to score the winning run.

World No. Korea will be playing in the U-23 Baseball World Cup final for the first time. Korea earned a bronze medal in the first and only U-21 Baseball World Cup in 2016 and lost the U-23 third-place game to Venezuela in 2018.