Pitcher Won Tae-In of South Korea pitches in the top of the second inning during the Asia Professional Baseball Championship game between South Korea and Chinese Taipei at Tokyo Dome on November 18, 2023 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Gene Wang/Getty Images)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
South Korea improved to 2-1 at the Asia Professional Baseball Championship at Tokyo with a 6-1 win over Chinese Taipei.
South Korea will play (3-0) Japan in the championship game on Sunday at 4 a.m. EST at the Tokyo Dome, looking to win their first APBC championship in their second time facing Japan in an APBC championship game.
Chinese Taipei is 1-2 at the APBC and will play Australia (0-3) in the third-place game at the Tokyo Dome on Saturday at 9 p.m. EST.
South Korea’s pitching staff faced 34 batters, allowing one earned run, five hits, two walks, and eight strikeouts.
In the bottom of the first inning, South Korea first baseman Roh Si-hwan drove an RBI single into left field, scoring second baseman Kim Hye-seong to make it 1-0.
In the bottom of the second inning, South Korea’s Hye-seong ripped an RBI single to right field, scoring shortstop Kim Ju-won to extend the lead to 2-0. The next batter, Korea third baseman Kim Do-yeong, roped a RBI single to left field, scoring left fielder Park Seung-kyu to make it 3-0.
Chinese Taipei starter Yan-Cheng Wang threw 1.1 innings, allowing four hits, five earned runs, and four walks before being lifted in the second inning in favor of Kuo-Hao Chiang.
A few batters later, Korea designated hitter Kim Whee-jip knocked a two-run RBI single into center field scoring Do-yeong and Yun Hwan-hee to give South Korea a 5-0 lead.
Chinese Taipei’s only run from Saturday came off the bat of third baseman Ji-Hong Liu, who hit a solo home run in the top of the fourth inning off South Korea’s Won Tae-in.
Won threw five innings with 84 pitches and faced 19 batters allowing three hits, one earned run, and struck out five. South Korea’s bullpen allowed just two hits and two walks the rest of the way to punch their ticket to the championship game against Japan.
Korea relief pitcher Jeong Hae-young came in to the game in the top of the ninth inning for the final three outs and help Korea earn a berth to the championship game as he would get Chinese Taipei Ching-Kai Lin to fly out to center fielder Ji-heon Choi for the final out of the game as Korea advanced to the championship game to beat Chinese Taipei 6-1.
Chinese Taipei had two errors defensively in Saturday’s loss, and their pitching staff allowed six earned runs, 10 hits, seven walks, and three strikeouts while facing 40 batters.
South Korea will aim for their second championship in 2023 after beating Chinese Taipei 2-0 in the gold medal game at the 19th Asian Games in October at Shaoxing Baseball and Softball Sports Culture Center in Hangzhou, China.
The APBC U-24 event will not count towards the World Baseball Rankings through the World Baseball Softball Confederation.
The last Asia Professional Baseball Championship was held in 2017 with Japan beating Korea 7-0 in the championship game and Seibu Lions infielder Shuta Tonosaki being named the MVP in the first year it was held.
Both APBC games can be streamed for free on https://nspotv1.com/. Use google translate to navigate on the website for easier usage and click on the Real-time sports broadcasting sub-tab to get to the live stream of both games.