South Korea advances to International final
A closer look at the 7-0 win by Asia-Pacific Region champion Seoul, South Korea, over Mexico champ San Nicolas, Thursday at Lamade Stadium:
PLAY OF THE GAME: South Korea’s Jaekyeong Kim hit a three-run home run in the top of the second inning for a 4-0 lead.
KOREA PLAYER OF THE GAME: Seum Kwon hit two home runs in his first two at-bats.
MEXICO PLAYER OF THE GAME: Gael Isaac Cortez had Mexico’s lone hit, a first-inning single.
HOME RUNS: Kwon hit a 230-foot home run to left-center field in front of the Little League logo for a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Kim homered off the second fence in right-center for a 4-0 lead in the top of the second. Kwon followed with a 275-footer to left field for a 6-0 lead later in the second.
FLASHING LEATHER: This wasn’t much of a defensive test for Korea, as Mexico did not hit a fair ball out of the infield. First baseman Wontae Cho did have five consecutive putouts in the fourth and fifth innings, ending the streak by catching a sinking liner from Jose Manuel Miranda at the bag.
BIG INNING: The five-run second inning was Korea’s biggest of the tournament so far, with all the scoring on the Kwon and Kim home runs.
WHAT THE ADULTS SAY: South Korean manager Heesu Ji wanted his players to shorten their swings after their loss to Panama on Wednesday. “We needed rhythm. We didn’t have any,” Ji said through an interpreter. “They needed to relax a little, hit like a thief.”
WHAT THE KIDS SAY: Winning pitcher Sangheon Park said he’s not intimidated being the only 11-year-old on a team with 12 year olds. “We’re all brothers. They treat me very nicely. No problems,” Park said through an interpreter.
WHAT IT MEANS: Mexico was eliminated with a 3-2 record after opening with a loss to Panama. South Korea advances to the International title game at 12:30 p.m. Saturday vs. Panama.