Israel Shocks South Korea in WBC Opener

The manager for South Korea stated he feared Israel prior to their WBC opener. That fear proved founded after Israel downed South Korea 2-1 last night. Scott Burcham made amends for an earlier strikeout that spoiled a rally by bouncing a single up the middle for an infield single that scored the go ahead run in the tenth inning. Josh Zeid came on for his third inning of work and retired South Korea in order, striking out the last two hitters to close out the victory.

Walks killed South Korea. A leadoff walk to Nate Freiman in the second inning led to the first run for Israel. Zach Borenstein moved Freiman to third with a double. Korean pitcher Won-Jun Chang struck out Cody Decker, but then he walked the next two hitters to force in a run. A strikeout and ground out limited the damage to just one run.

A walk to Ike Davis in the tenth inning led to the winning run scoring. Chang-Yong Lim issued that walk. A Ryan Lavarnway single moved Davis to third where he was replaced by pinch runner Mike Meyers. After a pop out Burcham came through with his single to put Israel up for good.

Korea tied the game in the fifth, taking advantage of a leadoff walk and hit be pitch to lead off the inning. Geon-Chang Seo bounced a single into left field to score Kyoung-Min Hur to tie the game. Two popups stunted the rally from going further.

Both teams had chances to score in the later innings to prevent the game from going into extra innings. Singles by Ah-Seop Son and Eui-Ji Yang put runners on first and second with one out. Kyoung-Min Hur grounded into a double play to end the inning. In the eighth inning a walk to Tae-Kyun Kim and single by Ah-Seop Son put runners on first and third with one out. Byung-Hun Min grounded to third. Pinch runner Jae-Won Oh broke for home but was thrown out. Eui-Ji Yang popped out to end the threat.

In the seventh Israel loaded the bases with just one out. Blake Gailen lined out to shortstop. Israel loaded the bases again in the eighth after a walk, double and intentional walk. A ground out third to home got the second out bringing on Seung-Hwan Oh. He struck out Scott Burcham to end the inning.

There were 15,470 who watched the game at Gocheok Sky Dome, a facility that can hold 22,000. Korea has had a number of injuries to decimate their roster as well as DUIs against Jung-Ho Kang that forced the team to take him off the roster. Perhaps the Korean baseball fans were not interested in watching Israel, or they have become disillusioned by all the press reports of injuries to the Korean team that they lost interest in the WBC. It is disappointing that it was not a sellout, unless 15,470 is capacity for baseball at Gocheok Sky Dome.

Israel next plays Taiwan. A win would guarantee them an advance to the second round. South Korea will play Netherlands. A loss would eliminate them from advancing to the second round, unless two other teams go 1-2.

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