Infielder Roh Si Hwan of South Korea celebrates with teammates after hitting a game-winning single in the bottom of the tenth inning during the Asia Professional Baseball Championship game between Australia and South Korea at Tokyo Dome on November 16, 2023 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Gene Wang/Getty Images)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
South Korea beat Australia 3-2 in 10 innings in the first game of the 2023 Asia Professional Baseball Championship at the Tokyo Dome on right fielder’s Roh Si Hwan game-winning single.
Roh led the 2023 Korean Baseball Organization with 31 home runs for the Hanwha Eagles in the regular season.
Australia is participating in the APBC U-24 event for the first time in their nation’s history.
The South Korea pitching staff combined to face 42 batters while allowing two earned runs, seven hits, eight walks, and 12 strikeouts during the first game of the APBC.
Australia’s pitching staff faced 40 batters allowing eight hits, three earned runs, three walks, and striking out seven batters during Thursday’s loss.
Australia got on the board in the top of the first inning when third baseman Clayton Campbell ripped a single into center field, scoring shortstop Liam Spence.
In the bottom of the second inning, South Korea shortstop Kim Ju Won hiot an RBI single to center field, scoring left fielder Moon Hyun Bin to tie the game up at one.
Australia starting pitcher Brodie Cooper-Vassalakis threw two innings, tossing 36 pitches and facing 11 hitters while allowing two hits, one earned run, three walks, and striking out one during Thursday’s loss before yielding to Coen Wynne.
During the top of the sixth inning, Australia regained the lead when catcher Alex Hall launched a solo home run over the right center field wall to make it 2-1.
South Korea manager Ryu Joong-il went to his bullpen during the bottom of the sixth inning with two outs, lifting starter Moon Dong Ju in favor of Kim Young Gyu. Moon threw 102 pitches while facing 25 batters through 5.2 innings allowing five hits, two earned runs, four walks, and five strikeouts.
South Korea tied the game again in the bottom of the eighth inning when Kim Ju Won hit another RBI single into center field scoring Kim Do Yeong.
In the bottom of the tenth, with runners starting on first and second and no outs, Australia relief pitcher Daniel McGrath gave up the game winning hit to Roh Si Hwan and Yun Hwan-hee came in to score, giving South Korea a 3-2 win in the APBC opener.
The APBC event does give points towards the World Baseball Rankings, which are released by the World Baseball Softball Confederation. The APBC is operated by four leagues in Asia and Australia; the Nippon Professional Baseball league in Japan, the Korean Baseball Organization, the Chinese Professional Baseball League in Taiwan, and the Australian Baseball League. The WBSC also sanctions the APBC event.
All of the umpires for the APBC event are operated in all the four professional leagues in Asia and Australia.
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.
Australia will play their second game against 0-1 Chinese Taipei at 10 p.m. EST at the Tokyo Dome on Thursday night.
Korea will play Japan on Friday at 5 a.m. EST at the Tokyo Dome.