Kim Hwi-jip (Kiwoom Heroes), who hit a pinch-hit solo shot against Japan at the Asia-Pacific Baseball Championship (APBC) 2023, will start the final game against Chinese Taipei.
National team manager Ryu Jung-il announced that Kim Hwijip will bat fifth in the lineup for the third qualifying game against Chinese Taipei at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan, on April 18.
This will be the first time Kim Hwijip, who wears the Korean flag for the first time, will start in the lineup.
He was recognized for his batting performance in the previous day’s game against Japan, when he hit a pinch-hit solo shot with two outs in the top of the ninth inning with South Korea trailing 0-2.
South Korea needs to beat Chinese Taipei, which has an identical 1-1 record in qualifying, to reach the final. Japan qualified with three wins.
Kim’s task will be to bat in the center of the order with No. 4 hitter Noh Shi-hwan (Hanwha Eagles) to bring home the winning run.
South Korea battled back from an early deficit against Australia in the first game and avoided a loss in the second game against Japan.
“It’s important to score first in the short game, but we scored first, so it was a difficult game,” Ryu said before the game, emphasizing that “we need to score quickly (today).”
As for Won Tae-in (Samsung Lions), he said, “I hope he can go four or five innings.” “There’s no tomorrow, so after him, Kim Young-gyu (NC Dinos) and Choi Ji-min (KIA Tigers) will be in the lineup,” he added.
Regarding Lee Yi-ri (KIA), who pitched against Japan, he said, “He must have felt a lot of things himself. When he was throwing over 80 pitches, they were throwing around 50.”
Lee threw 96 pitches in six innings, allowing six hits (one home run), three walks and two runs (two earned), while Japan’s Chihiro Sumida needed just 77 pitches in seven innings, allowing three hits, seven walks and no runs. 토토