Defending champion Korea moves to 2-0 in Group C

Defending champion Korea moves to 2-0 in Group C
07/11/2019
Defending Premier12 champion Korea are in the box seat to qualify for the 2019 Super Round in Tokyo.

No. 3 ranked Korea defeated no 10 ranked Canada 3-1, and will guarantee a Super Round spot with a win tomorrow.

Star left-handed starter Kim Kwanghyun cruised through Canada’s line up allowing only one hit and two walks over six innings of work. Manager Kim Kyungmoon asked his star closer Cho Sangwoo to work a five-out save.

“I needed Cho in the eighth,” commented Kim Kyungmoon during the post-game press conference.

“He did so well that I thought he could finish it off for us.”

Kim Kwanghyun said he trusted a lot his breaking pitches: “You don’t want to challenge a line up like Canada’s with too many fastballs. Our game plan was changing speeds and locations to keep them off balance.”

Korea took the lead in the top of the sixth. Rightfielder Min Byunghun reached on a one-out single and stole second. Canada’s starter Rob Zastryzny walked shortstop Kim Haseong and was relieved by Chris Leroux. Leroux recorded the second out, but walked the bases loaded, which brought designated hitter Kim Jaehwan to the plate to drive in the go-ahead run.

“I got a very good pitch to hit,” said Kim Jaehwan through an interpreter. “I think I was lucky. The middle of our line-up has been criticized. I hope my hit gets everybody going.

Kim Kyungmoon commented: “Canada’s starter was very good. I felt much better after he left.”

“Rob Zastryzny was superb. We went to the bullpen in the sixth because he was out of gas. He actually gave us 10 or 12 pitches more than what we really wanted. Sometimes you need to tip your hat. Give credit to Korea for very good pitching and for making the defensive plays. We didn’t beat ourselves, we got beaten.”

Canada made it a one-run game in the bottom of the eighth. Center fielder Dalton Pompey singled to lead off the frame against reliever Ham Deokju. Shortstop Wes Darvill followed with an RBI-double to right field.

Korea gave the call to star closer Cho Sangwoo who got out of the jam with back to back strike outs. Cho retired Mike Saunders on a 154 kph (96 mph) fastball.

Korea added an insurance run on three base hits against reliever Dustin Molleken in the top of the ninth.  The third was an RBI-single by right fielder Min Byunghun.

Before the game WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari presented a plaque to KBO Commissioner Chung Un Chan and Jin OK Dong, CEO of the Shinhan Bank.

Home plate umpire Jairo Mendoza (Nicaragua) left the game after being hit by a foul tip off the bat of Korea’s catcher Yang Euij. Third base umpire Placido Polanco (Dominican Republic) took over at home, while reserve umpire Ha We Chin (Chinese Taipei) stepped in. Mendoza was checked up at the local hospital and returned to the ballpark in a stable condition.