Lions Give Heat Their First Loss

The Heat came into this tournament 11-0 in games played in the ABL.  The Samsung Lions made sure that winning streak came to a close with a convincing 10-2 victory.  The game was much closer than the score, with the Lions Myung-Chul Shin finishing off a 6-run eighth inning with a grand slam homer off Warwick Saupold.

The Heat scored first off Lion’s starter Won-Sam Jang in the top of the third.  Jang had started the inning well, striking out the first two hitters but then walked Alex Burg on four pitches.  Allan de San Miguel was Jang’s worst nemisis this game ripped a double into left center that one hopped the wall.  Burg loped around third and just beat the throw home from shortstop Sang-Su Kim.  The ball actually arrived at the plate before the runner reached home but Burg was able to slide in safely before the Lions catcher Kab-Young Jin could reach back to apply the tag.  If he had been blocking the plate Burg may not have scored.

The Lions countered off Daniel Schmidt in the bottom frame.  Daniel had his fielder’s sloppy defensive play to thank for his loss.  With one out Young-Seop Bae walked.  Bae was going on the 3-2 pitch that Myung-Chul Shin lined up the middle, advancing to third on the hit.  Schmidt had Shin picked off at first, but instead of taking the sure out Aaron Baker threw to third to try to get Bae and he dived back safely.  This proved costly now with one run turning into two when Sok-Min Park went the opposite way and drove a double down the right field line.  Both runners would score.  Baker made a nice diving play on a hit by Hyoung-Woo Choi, but when he threw to the pitcher covering his throw went wide left and as the ball trickled to the catcher who had to retrieve the ball, Park raced home with the third run of the inning.  Again, that proved costly when Bong-Kyu Kang hit a hard grounder over the second base bag that Mychal Givens turned into a 4 unassisted to 3 double play.

Jang was cruising after giving up his run in the third, striking out the side in the fourth and the leadoff batter in the fifth to up his K total to eight.  With one out in the sixth Miguel got ahold of another Jang pitch and drove it into left field for a homerun.  Jang struck out the next two batters to finish the day with 10 strikeouts.

As they did in the third the Lions countered with a run of their own in the sixth.  After a one out walk to Hyoung-Woo Choi, Bong-Kyu Kang hit a soft grounder to third baseman Alex Burg, who booted the ball.  Another walk ended the day for Schmidt, loading the bases and Han-Yi Park lifted a fly deep enough to center to score Choi.  It was inadvisable to throw home because they didn’t have much of a shot to get Choi and the throw allowed the runners to advance.  This did not prove costly to the Heat when Warwick Saupold prevented further damage by getting Kab-Young Jin to ground one in front of the plate.  Miguel’s throw to first bounced to Baker, but he was able to scoop it to save a run from scoring.

The 21 year old Saupold pitched well.  An error by the second baseman Givens, the fourth error of the game for the Heat put a runner on second when Givens pivot throw on a double play went way right of the first baseman.  That put a runner on second with one out, but Saupold was able to get out of the inning with two fly outs.  The next inning he was not so lucky.  He gave up a single to Hyoung-Woo Choi, but the pinch runner Myun-Gu Kang was caught stealing.  After a walk to the next batter, Tae-In Chae singled and the throw to third could not get pinch runner Young-Wook Lee and In was able to advance to second.  The Heat walked Han-Yi Park intentionally and appeared to be out of danger when Kab-Young Jin flied weakly to center to keep the sacks jammed.  But the ninth place hitter Sang-Su Kim singled to drive in two and a walk to Young-Seop Bae loaded the bases.  The Heat manager Brooke Knight chose to leave the laboring Saupold in and Shin launched one over the left field wall for a grand slam.

Down 4-2, the Heat appeared ready to take the lead in the top of the eighth when they loaded the bases with no out.  The Korean manager Joong-Il Ryu stayed with reliever Oh-Joon Kwan and he coaxed the Heat’s big bat Allan de san Miguel to ground into a 5-2-3 double play.  Ryu replaced Kwan with Hyrn-Wook Jong and he got Matt Kennelly to fly to left to end the potential rally.  It was garbage time after the six run explosion and Seung-Hwan Oh, the Lions 47 save closer was allowed to pitch to the last batter and get the out.

Game Notes: They made the announcement that there would be no objects that make loud noise and no climbing structures on the field.  The attendance for this game was sparse, a problem for international events when the local team is not playing and the country is unfamiliar with the other players.  The next game for the packed Taiwan game made the same announcement, but they had whistles, clackers, horned instruments, almost everthing that a person could get their lips on except that South African instrument that would have probably been ruled a “object that makes a loud noise.”…It is not surprising that major leaguers hit the ball out of the park here.  While the fences are fair, with 325 down the line it only takes a 400 foot shot for the ball to leave the stadium here at Intercontinental Baseball Stadium…The seats along right field are color coded to spell Taichung.  The bullpen is a couple of mounds along the first and third base side and they have a nice scoreboard with a medium sized television screen…Lots of handouts for game, including a mens body and hair wash combined into one.  That would make our soap and shampoo industry cringe.  I don’t think the DVDs will be compatible with my computers at home but it was a touching jesture and the girls in the cheerleader outfits were very cute.  The videos appear to be a couple of baseball video games, but it was all written in mandarin, so I’m basing this on the pictures…They didn’t accept credit cards there, which seems odd when the seats were priced $NT300, 500 and 1,000 for the day game and $NT800 and 1300 for the night game.  It is about $NT30 to $1.  I used all my cash to buy the tickets and did not have any left for souvenirs…Fielding was the big difference in this game with the older, more experienced Lions taking advantage of their years.  In the first inning third baseman Sok-Min Park made an excellent diving catch on a grounder down the line by Matt Kennelly, robbing him of a double.  With runners on first and second it would have easily scored two runs, but Park calmly got up and fired the ball to first.  The Heat made four errors and a number of throws that should not have been made that allowed the runners to advance…Aaron Baker had a booming double in his first at bat off lefthander Won-Sam Jang, but then had three feeble swings and misses off righthander Oh-Joon Kwan…The Heat’s Mitch Graham does not appear to have shortstop skills.  His range is lacking, his arm is not strong and his hands are suspect, at least from the results of this game.  They might do better with Luke Hughes at the position, especially since Graham struck out his first three times up, so did not contribute anything offensively…The Koreans were very aggressive, swinging at a number of 3-0 pitches…Finally, during warmups the coach had a little trouble hitting popup fungos to his catchers, chasing them into the infield or past the cones where the press were allowed to assemble before the game.  They also had a little incident trying to water the infield.  One of the hoses had a leak the size of the geyser Old Faithful.  They had to replace that hose component with another…I hope to be able to post some pictures of the event in the next couple days.

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