Archive for the 'Korea' Category

Nicaragua to Host U-23 WBSC Championship; Panama Under 15

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

Nicaragua will host the Under 23 WBSC championship in 2018, playing the games at the newly constructed 15,000 seat Dennis Martinez stadium at a date yet to be determined. Despite all the points awarded for this event the No 2 United States and No 5 Cuba will not be playing in the tournament. The United States did not play in the qualifying round, while Cuba did not qualify. Below are the teams who have qualified for the games:

Africa (1) - to be determined
Americas (4) - No. 9 Venezuela, No. 6 Mexico, No. 11 Puerto Rico, No. 16 Dominican Republic
Asia (3) - No1. Japan, No.4 Taiwan and No. 3 South Korea
Europe (2) - No. 8 Netherlands, No. 14 Czech Republic
Oceania (1) - to be determined
Wildcard (1) - No 13 Nicaragua

The Under 15 Hosts will be Panama. The teams competing in that tournament are:

Africa (1) - to be determined
Americas (5) - No. 2 United States, No. 16 Dominican Republic, No. 5 Cuba, No. 15 Panama, No. 18 Brazil
Asia (2) - No. 1 Japan and No. 4 Taiwan
Europe (2) - No. 20 Germany and No. 8 Netherlands
Oceania (1) - to be determined

Ho Ho Not a Merry Christmas for Kang and Park

Monday, November 27th, 2017

While they were teammates in Korea they were called the Ho brothers because of their same last name, even though they are not related. Jung-Ho Kang was the first to go the United States to play in the major leagues. He had a successful first couple years but things have not been going so well lately. Byung-Ho Park followed him to the major leagues a year later and found major league pitching and the game a little more challenging than the Korean version.

It has not been a Happy Holidays for these two Korean superstars. Jung-Ho Kang, who was hoping to get his swing back after missing all of last year because of visa issues, was released by the Aguilas Cibaenas. The Dominican team did not have a lot of time to wait for him to start hitting. After 31 games into the season Kang was hitting just .143 with a .219 OBA and a .202 slugging percentage. In the competitive Dominican Winter league the Aguilas is .5 games behind the leading Cibao Gigantes. They needed a bat in their lineup to generate offense, not an automatic out who has trouble making contact (31 whiffs in 91 at bats). Even after his last 10 games his slugging average stood at .194. He was hitting just .125 against right handed pitching.

Kang sat out last season after his third drunk driving conviction in Korea. He was unable to get a work visa to come to the United States based on his last conviction, a hit and run which resulted in a felony conviction. He was also suspected in a sexual assault case in a hotel room in Chicago that has remained unresolved, possibly because of his time out of the country.

For Byung-Ho Park the news is not quite as bad. He signed a contract with the Nexen Heroes for about $1.4 million. The bad news is that he may have to forfeit his contract with the Twins for $6.5 million, $12 million for the next two years. In order to finalize his one year contract with the Heroes details of his remaining contract with the Twins must still be ironed out.

For the Twins he was playing in the minor leagues. His first year in the major leagues he hit just .191 with 80 whiffs in 62 games. The power appeared with his 12 homeruns but there was just too much swing and miss in his swing. Last year he did not see the major leagues, hitting just .253 with only 14 homeruns and a .415 slugging percentage in AAA. That is not what the Twins were looking for when they paid him his big contract four year multi million dollar contract.

If Jung-Ho Park can not get his work visa to come to the United States finalized the Nexen Heroes could sign him to a one year contact and the two Ho brothers could be reunited, though not in a fashion they were hoping when they went to the major leagues a couple years ago.

Japan Blanks Korea to Win Asian Championship

Monday, November 20th, 2017

In the first ever Asian championship from the three professional Asian Leagues featuring players 23 and under Japan continued their domination, blanking Korea 7-0 in the final and finishing undefeated in the three games. Kazuto Taguchi pitched seven innings of shutout ball, allowing just three hits to lead Japan to the victory. Tsuyoshi Ishizaki and Yasuaki Yamasaki each worked a perfect inning of shutout ball to complete the shutout. The attendance figure was listed at 30,498, a little less than the crowd that would attend Yomiuri Giants games, but a good crowd for this series.

The first two runs of the ball game were driven in by series MVP Shuta Tonosaki. He contributed RBI singles in the fourth and fifth innings to give Japan an early 2-0 lead. Ryoma Nishikawa drove in two more runs in the fifth inning with a double.

Nishikawa also slammed a solo homerun in the seventh to finish the game with three RBIs. Hotaka Yamakawa drove in two runs with a single in the sixth inning.

Korea strung together back to back two out singles in the fifth inning to place two runners on base for the first and only time in the game. Min-Woo Park grounded out to end the threat. The Japanese pitchers retired the next 12 hitters to sweep through the series.

The MVP of the tourney was Shuta Tonosaki, who finished the series driving in four runs. The All Asian Series team was:

Catcher - Ju-Suk Ha (Korea), First Base - Yu-Hsien Chu (Taiwan), Second Base - Min-Woo Park (Korea), Third Base - Ryoma Nishikawa (Japan), Shortstop - Ha-Seong Kim (Korea), Outfield - Shuta Tonosaki (Japan), Go Matsumoto (Japan) and Po-Jung Wang (Taiwan), designated hitter - Kensuke Kondo (Japan), Pitcher - Kazuto Taguchi (Japan)

Asia Series Results

Saturday, November 18th, 2017

In the past the Asia Series would pit the champions of the NPB, CPBL and KBO against each other, adding an All Star team from China and then later on the champion of the ABL. The attendance for these games was lacking resulting in the abandonment of the sponsor and the ending of the series. This year Japan, Korea and Taiwan have renewed the Asian Series, but this time they are pitting All Star teams of 23 and under prospects against each other. Each team is allowed to play three players who fall above that age requirement. Japan usually dominates these events, but the games are always competitive.

Japan 8 Korea 7

Japan rallied for four runs in the bottom of the tenth inning to win the game 8-7. Seiji Uebayashi slugged a three run homer to tie the game and Tatsuhiro Tamura got the walk off double to give Japan the victory. In the top of the tenth Korea had scored three runs to break a 4-4 tie.

Korea scored four runs in the fourth inning. Ha-Seong Kim started the inning off with a solo homerun. Jung-Hoo Lee ended the scoring with a two run double. Japan rallied back with Hotaka Yamakawa slugging a two run homer in the sixth. In the ninth the Korean pitchers got a little wild, walking two and giving up a hit to load the bases. Yota Kyoda walked to force in the tying run to send the game into extra innings.

Korea got the fireworks started in the tenth with an RBI double from Ji-Hyuk Ryu and a two run double from Ju-Suk Ha, who had driven in a run earlier with a sacrifice fly in the four run fourth. After the Korean bullpen could not protect a one run lead in the ninth, they failed to protect a three run lead in the 10th. With two runners put on base for the extra inning rule Uebayashi slugged a one out 3-run homer to quickly tie the game. Ryoma Nishikawa singled and stole second. Tatsuhiro Tamura ended the game with a double.

Korea 1 Taiwan 0

It was a pitcher’s duel. Kuan-Yu Chen gave up only one run in his 5.2 innings of work. Gi-Yeong Im only allowed two hits in his seven innings of shutout ball. He struck out seven and walked three.

A two out walk and a triple from Jung-Hoo Lee in the sixth inning scored the only run of the game. Pill-Joon Jang got the last four outs, striking out three to seal off the victory for Korea.

If Japan beats Taiwan tomorrow Korea and Japan will play in the championship. If Taiwan wins the series will knot into a three way tie for first at 1-1. A tie breaker will identify the two teams to square off in the championship match.

Kia Tigers KBO Champs

Monday, October 30th, 2017

The reign of the Doosan Bears is over just as the four year reign of the Samsung Lions ended with the Bears first championship two years ago. The Kia Tigers ended the Doosan Bears two year run with their first championship since 2009, a 7-6 thriller that appeared to be a blow out from the beginning.

The Tigers appeared to have put the game away with a Bum-ho Lee grand slam in the third triggering a five run inning for a 5-0 lead. The Tigers added two more in the sixth to up their lead to 7-0. Doosan Bears ace Dustin Nippert was charged with all seven runs in his 5.1 innings of work.

Hector Noesi was cruising for the Tigers until he hit a giant wall in the seventh. The Bears maimed him for four straight hits, three singles and a double to score two runs. A hit by pitch to load the bases ended the night for Noesi. The bullpen gave up two more singles to score three runs and a ground out scored the sixth run of the inning to trim the Tiger lead to 7-6. It had now become a ballgame.

Yoon-Dong Kim retired the Bears in order in the eighth. Hyun-Jong Yang gave the manager some tense moments. A walk to the leadoff batter, an error and a second walk loaded the bases with just one out. Se-Hyuk Park popped to short and Jae-Ho Kim popped to the catcher in foul territory to end the game. Yang had secured the championship for the Tigers.

Tigers Take 3-1 Series Lead Over Bears

Sunday, October 29th, 2017

Sloppy play by the Bears defense and strong pitching from the Bears led to a 5-1 win. Ki-Yong Im worked 5.2 innings, scattering six hits without allowing a run. Se-Hyun Kim retired the last four hitters to capture the save.

The Tigers scored two runs early in the first. A one out Joo-Chan Kim double was followed by a Roger Bernadina triple to score the first run. A Hyung-Woo Choi single drove in Bernadina and gave the Tigers all the runs they would need to earn the victory.

A two out error with runners on first and second in the seventh allowed one run to score. Roger Bernadina drove in another with a single. That gave the Tigers a commanding 4-0 lead. They scored a final run in the ninth, aided by a catcher’s interference. It was the third Bear error of the game.

The Tigers now lead the series three games to one with only one more game at the Doosan Bears park. A win will end the series. A loss will send the game to the Tigers park for the final two games.

Tigers Down Bears to Lead Series

Saturday, October 28th, 2017

It was a duel of two American pitchers. Pat Dean pitched better than Michael Bowden, working seven innings and giving up just three runs. Bowden could only go four innings and allowed four runs. Se-Hyun Kim retired the last four hitters, two of them on strikeouts to earn the save in the Tigers 6-3 win over the Bears.

Ji-Wan Na hit a critical pinch hit two run homer in the ninth inning to extend a 4-3 lead to 6-3. Chi-Hong An also drove in two runs for the Tigers.

Nick Evans hit a solo shot off Pat Dean in the seventh inning. The Tigers now lead the series two games to one.

Tigers Even Series with 1-0 Win

Thursday, October 26th, 2017

The Kia Tigers evened their series against the Doosan Bears at a game apiece with a 1-0 win. These type of pitcher’s duels are rare in the KBO but the second to occur in the playoffs. Won-Jun Jang pitched seven shutout innings for the Bears. Hyun-Jong Yang went the distance for the Tigers giving up just four hits and striking out 11.

When the Bears went to the bullpen in the eighth is when the Tigers scored their first run. Joo-Chan Kim opened the inning with a double. Roger Bernadina, their number three hitter who had gone 2 for 2 with a walk, bunted him to third. Kang-Ryul Kim came on in relief and walked Hyung-Woo Choi. A ground out to third failed to get Kim out at home, but they were able to retire Choi at third.

Yang gave up a one out single in the ninth but finished the game with a fly out and strikeout to pick up the victory.

Bears Strike First in KBO Championship

Thursday, October 26th, 2017

The Doosan Bears struck first with a 5-3 win over the Kia Tigers. A four run fifth put the game out of reach, with Kun-Woo Park driving in a run with a single. Jae-Hwan Kim followed with a two run shot and Jae-Il Oh made it back to back with his solo shot to give the Bears a 5-0 lead. For Jae-Il it was his fifth homerun in two games.

Roger Bernadina hit a three run shot in the bottom of the fifth to score the only runs for Kia. Dustin Nippert went six to pick up the win. He turned it over to Duk-Joo Ham for a scoreless inning and Kang-Ryul Kim for two innings of shutout work to earn the save.

Hector Noesi got the start for the Tigers and took the loss, giving up all five runs in six innings of work.

Bears Advance to Championship Led by Mighty Oh

Saturday, October 21st, 2017

The Doosan Bears scored 45 runs in their last three games to advance to the KBO championships against the Kia Tigers. This time it was a 14-5 win, where the bats rallied to score 10 runs in the last four innings to break a 4-4 tie after five. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say led by the bat of the mighty Jae-Il Oh.

Jae-il Oh slugged four homeruns in the game, driving in 9 runs to lead the Bears to victory. While he hit 27 and 26 homeruns the last two seasons, Oh is not one of the more prolific power hitters in the KBO. Prior to the 2016 season the 30 year old was not even a starter.

In six at bats Oh walked twice and sent four balls over the fence. There is no better way to define perfection, unless they pitched to him six times and he hit all six over the fence. In the first inning the Dinos walked Oh to load the bases but a ground out prevented them from scoring. Oh got the scoring started for the Bears with a big three run homer in the third that carried 425 feet into right field. The swat gave the Bears a 3-1 lead.

In the fifth Oh led the inning off with a walk. The team failed to score. With the score tied 4-4 in the sixth and after a critical runner was thrown out at home Oh came up with runners on first and second with two out. He blasted a pitch over the right centerfield fence to give the Bears a 7-4 lead.

A two run homer in the eighth and a solo shot in the ninth closed out his homer happy day. The last homer was part of a back to back with Jae-Hwan Kim. The last Oh homer was measured at 445 feet. The bat flips will be interesting to see, especially on the last homer. The Koreans have perfected the bat flips.

The Bears bullpen was solid. They pitched the last 5.1 innings, allowing just one run on two hits. The one run was a homerun by Sung-Bum Na in the seventh inning. In addition to his homerun Jae-Hwan Kim also collected four hits, putting him on base to score four runs.

The Bears now get to defend their championship against the first place Kia Tigers in a best of seven matchup.