Ho Choi goes distance on mound in victory
A closer look at the South Seoul LL of Seoul, South Korea’s 5-1 win over Metamoros LL of Metamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico on Sunday at Volunteer Stadium.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Ji Hyung Choi hustles home for the first run of the game — In the top of the first inning Choi crossed home on a delayed steal that resulted in an error after back-to-back two-out walks. That played showed the aggressive base running South Korea wanted to use to force Mexico into making mistakes and it set the tone for the next five innings.
SOUTH KOREA PLAYER OF THE GAME: Shoo Ho Choi — South Korea’s pitcher went the distance to shut down Mexico’s offense.
MEXICO PLAYER OF THE GAME: Alberto Gomez — Gomez excelled at the plate as he went 2-for-3 and had an RBI single in the fourth inning. Gomez was also Mexico’s starting pitcher and lasted 3 1/3 innings. He gave up two runs on three hits and five walks, and struck out eight.
BIG INNING: The fourth inning — South Korea and Mexico both scratched some runs across in the fourth inning.
South Korea’s Yeong Hyeon Kim led off with South Korea’s fourth walk of the game Kim would be replaced by Woo Hyeon Lee. Two batters later Lee advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored as the next ball was hit for an RBI single to right field from Ji Hong Jeon. South Korea would get its second run on a wild pitch when J Lim beat the throw at the plate.
Mexico would finally get solid contact from its hitters. Gael Ponce hit a shot to center field that rolled to the wall for a double. The next batter, Alberto Gomez hit a single back up the middle which scored Ponce for Mexico’s only run of the game.
South Korea also added two insurance runs in the sixth inning with a two-run home run from Choi after Jeong Hyeon Park hit a single to get on base.
BEST EFFORT: Shoo Ho Choi’s pitching — He pitched an 82-pitch complete-game. Choi kept Mexico’s hitters off balance all game as he gave up just one run on three hits and had one walk and six strikeouts in South Korea’s win.
“I just wanted to pitch normal and pitch hard,” Choi said through an interpreter. “My defense kept saying ‘you’re doing well, you’re pitching well.’ We have great team spirit.” Choi said.
HOME RUNS: Ji Hyung Choi sent the first pitch he saw in the sixth inning over the left-center field wall for a two-run home run.
FLASHING LEATHER: South Korea’s Jun Woo Lim flew through the air to take away an extra base hit from Mexico Erick Serano in bottom of the fifth inning. Lim raced about 15 yards to his right and made a diving catch.
WHAT THE ADULTS SAY: “Other than Shoo, (the pitchers) are ready for the next game. But we aren’t satisfied, we do not have our preferred batting style yet so we will focus on our batting, base running, and strategy for the next game.” South Korea manager, Ji Hee Su said after the game on his outlook for Wednesday’s game.
“The kids never lost faith that they could beat (South Korea), it was a one-run game until the sixth inning, and our kids never lost confidence that they could win.” Mexico manager Ismael Lozano said through an interpreter on Mexico’s moral in the dugout during the game.
WHAT THE KIDS SAY: “That was my last at-bat of the game, I just wanted to be focused and fortunately got a good hit.” Choi said through and interpreter on his home run in the sixth inning.
WHAT IT MEANS: South Korea advances in the winners’ bracket against Japan on Wednesday at 3 p.m. Mexico falls to an elimination game against Canada today at 6 p.m. Mexico and Canada have a long road ahead of them as they must play three games in the next four days.