Jangchung High School’s Kim Jae Won, 16 strikeouts

Whenever Kim Jae-won, a third-year right-hander at Seoul’s Jangchung High School, had his slider bent sharply, the letter “K” meaning a strikeout was clearly engraved on the record sheet. He had 16 strikeouts in the seventh inning until he handed over the mound to his junior Seo Moon-joon. While the batters managed to score only two runs, the victory was obviously up to Jang.룸알바

With Kim Jae-won’s great pitching, Jangchung High School, the 2020 winner, beat the Chungcheong dark horse Sebyeong 2-0 in the first round of the 79th Blue Dragon High School Baseball Championship (co-hosted by the Chosun Ilbo, Sports Chosun, and Korea Baseball Softball Association). The 16 strikeouts are the most in a single Blue Dragon game since Lim Ji-seop, who played for LG in professional baseball (2014-2019), recorded 18 (Ulsan Technical High School) and 16 (Baemyeong High School) in the 2013 tournament when he was a high school student.

Kim was on the verge of losing runs with two outs and runners on the first and second bases in the first inning, and with two outs and runners on the second and fourth innings, respectively, but he pitched sliders with bigger angles as his main weapon each time. Kim struck out and counted out for all four innings in the second and fifth innings. Kim was replaced after throwing 104 pitches, one less than the limit of 105 pitches per game, until he garnered two outs in the seventh inning. Kim was an outfielder in the first grade, but turned into a pitcher in the second grade. He is 190 centimeters tall, but his fastball speed is still in the early 140 kilometers range due to his thin physique. However, he is considered to be one of the top-rated sliders in high school, and his two-seam fastball is also powerful. “Rather than trying to strike out, I focused on each ball to lead my team’s victory, and the results came,” Kim said after the game.

Daegu Sangwon defeated the GD Challengers 17-0 in the first hour and 41 minutes thanks to the seven-run performance of the third batter, Soo-ho. After hitting a three-run homer and a two-run triple in the first inning, Soo-ho hit a two-run single to the right in the third inning. Adding a double allowed him to set a new cycling hit, but he struck out at his fourth at-bat in the fourth inning, and as the game ended with a cold game in the fifth inning, he no longer had a chance. Daegu Sangwon No. 4 Yeo Dong-wook hit a ground home run in the first inning, joining the record streak.

Gwangju High School BC, a sports club team affiliated with Naju City, beat Seongnam High School in Seoul 2-1. In the ninth inning with the score tied 1-1, Baek Ji-hoo hit the final hit, and in the bottom of the ninth inning, right fielder Choi Eun-ho caught Seongnam Lee Yul’s long-range hit with a dynamic play, setting the stage for the victory. Choi Eun-ho scored the winning run as a pinch runner in the top of the ninth inning, and immediately took over the right field to protect the victory.

Gyeongnam High School, the team that won the most championships (nine times), came from behind to beat Deokjeok High School 4-3. It was dragged 0-3 until the fourth inning, but Joo Yang-joon, Jihoon Choi and Kang Ji-hyun made a timely hit in the top of the fifth inning, and pinch hitter Kim Joon-an made a timely hit in the eighth inning.

Masan Yongma High School beat Kangwon High School 6-2. Ju Tae-joon, the third-year ace, pitched well, allowing two runs in 5 1/3 innings. Siheung Sorae High School beat Yarogo BC 4-2. With the bases loaded with no outs in the eighth inning when the score was 2-2, he scored two runs through an opponent’s wild pitch and a sacrifice fly.

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