Korea comes from behind to beat Netherlands in extra

Korea comes from behind to beat Netherlands in extra
25/09/2021
It's the first win in the U-23 Baseball World Cup for the World No. 2 baseball programme.

Three outs away from dropping to a stunning 0-2 start at the III U23 Baseball World Cup, something clicked for Korea.

The world No. 2 rallied from a five-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh inning, then walked off with an extra-innings win to shock the No. 8 Netherlands in an 8-7 victory at Estadio Sonora on Friday evening.

On the second day of Group B play, nothing went right in Korea's first six and a half innings. An opportunistic Netherlands squad took advantage of Korea’s miscues through the afternoon, plating three runs in the first inning, one in the second, and two in the fourth to build a 6-0 lead. Three of the Netherlands’ first six runs scored on Korea errors, and after starting pitcher Eun Cho recorded just two outs, Korea had to dig deep in its bullpen.

Trailing 7-2 headed to the bottom of the seventh, Korea’s bats came alive -- and the Netherlands started to make mistakes of their own. After catcher Hyeong Woo Cho led off the inning with a single on a sinking liner just in front of Max Kops in left field, Sung Hun Lee hit what looked to be a tailor-made double-play ball to short, but Netherlands shortstop Delano Selassa couldn’t handle it. With both runners safe on the error, the floodgates opened.

Do Yeong Kim singled on another sinking liner in front of Kops in left to load the bases, and after Dong Hyeok Kim brought in a run on a seeing-eye single through the right side, Jong Chan Lim delivered the biggest hit of the day. Lim crushed a bases-clearing triple to right field over the head of Julian Rip to pull his team within one. One batter later, Myeong Jun Ko brought in Lim with a sacrifice fly to knot the score at 7-7.

After the Netherlands went scoreless in the top of the eighth inning, Korea came through in the bottom half. Beginning the extra frame with runners at first and second, Korea had Bo Keun Jeong sacrifice the pair to second and third. Following an intentional walk to Jung Hyun Park to load the bases, Do Yeong Kim hit a grounder to first, but Netherlands first baseman Sheadion Jamanika threw wildly to the plate. The ball skipped away from catcher Dave Janssen, and Min Kyu Jung scored to give Korea the walkoff win.

"I made mistakes earlier in the game, and I couldn't forgive myself. I'm so happy and proud I could get that hit," commented Kim through an interpreter.

At 1-1, Korea moves on to take on Panama Saturday morning at 10:30 while the Netherlands, at 0-2, is in desperate need of a win when it faces Colombia at 15:00 local time in Hermosillo.