02/11/2019 - 17/11/2019

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II Premier12 2019 - Official Payoff

Jaehwan Kim’s 3-run homer lifts Korea past USA

Jaehwan Kim’s 3-run homer lifts Korea past USA
Korea moved to 2-0 and remain unbeaten in the Premier12. USA outhit Korea, but couldn't find the clutch hit to produce more runs.

No. 3 ranked Korea defeated no 2. ranked USA, 5-1, in the Super Round of the Premier12 in at the Tokyo Dome.

Korea moved its Super Round record to 2-0 and remain unbeaten in the tournament. The US team outhit Korea 13-9 but wasn’t able to produce with runners in scoring position, leaving 14 runners on base.

Korea jumped ahead in the bottom of the first. Ha Seong Kim hit a one-out single to centre field, and one pitch later he swiped second base to put himself in scoring position. Jung-Hoo Lee singled a line drive to right field to put runners at the corners, and then Jaehwan Kim rocketed a fastball over the right field fence for a pivotal three-run homer, giving his team the early lead.

“I was looking for a good pitch to hit, so I tried to be aggressive and I was just a bit lucky,” said designated hitter Kim during the press conference.

“I’m very happy with the first win. It was a team effort, we all worked together to get the win. Now we’ll start thinking in the next game and get ready for tomorrow”.

However, the key of the game was the lack of success by USA to find the clutch hit to produce more runs.

“I think the story of the game was just the ability to get the big hits," said USA manager Scott Brosius.

"We left 14 runners on base, we had our opportunities but couldn’t take advantage of it. And Korea did it in the first inning with a home run with two outs. We’re obviously disappointed with the result tonight. We came here to get the first win of the Super Round."

In the top of the first inning USA loaded the bases with no outs, but Hyeonjong Yang escaped the jam with back to back strikeouts.

In the second inning the US threatened with two runners in scoring position after consecutive singles by Connor Chatham and Jo Adell. But again Yang escaped when Bohm hit a grounder to shortstop. And in the top of the fifth USA again left two runners on base after back to back singles by Bobby Dalbec and Andrew Vaughn.

In the sixth inning finally USA got on the scoreboard. Yang left a pitch in the middle of the zone and right fielder Brent Rooker nailed a home run to make it 3-1. Two outs later, Yang allowed a single and a double to Chatham and was pulled out of the game. Youngha Lee took the ball and struck out Alec Bohm to preserve the 2-run lead.

Yang exited the game after 5.2 innings and 92 pitches, and earned its second win of the tournament. He allowed 10 hits and one run, with two walks and seven strikeouts.

“Today our starting pitcher was very succesfull to avoid damage during the first two or three innings,” said Korean manager Kyungmoon Kim.

Brosius agreed with Kim. “Yang did a really good job, especially with runners in scoring position. We had our chances in the first innings, but he made great pitches in key situations to keep us scoreless."

Korea added one more run in the bottom of the seventh. With a runner on first base and two outs, right-hander Wyatt Mills gave up a Ha Seong Kim fly ball to centre field, but Drew Waters misread it and couldn't complete the catch, allowing Min Woo Park to score from first. Jung-Hoo Lee then doubled in Kim to get a 5-1 lead.

USA had opportunities also in the last two innings of the game, but again the Korean pitchers avoided any damage.

Korea improved its record to 2-0, and tomorrow will face Chinese Taipei at ZOZO Marine Stadium, at 7:00 p.m. At the same time, USA (0-2) will play against Japan at the Tokyo Dome.

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