Gyeongsangbuk-do defeated 2020 champion Jangchung-go in extra innings to reach the Cheongryonggi final for the first time in 30 years.꽁머니지급 Gyeongsangbuk-do defeated Jangchung-go 8-7 in the quarterfinals of the 78th Cheongryonggi National High School Baseball Championship (co-hosted by Chosun Ilbo, Sports Chosun, and the Korea Baseball Softball Association) at Mokdong Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Friday. It was the team’s first final appearance since winning the 1993 Cheongryonggi when Lee Seung-yup, the current manager of the KBO’s Doosan Baseball Organization, was playing.
Gyeongsangbuk-do scored first in the first inning, but fell behind 1-3 after giving up a three-run home run to Jangchung-go’s No. 4 hitter, Ryu Hyun-jun. On top of that, they had Hwang Jun-seo on the mound, one of the “top two” pitchers in high school baseball. After Jang Chung-go’s starter, Won Jong-hae, faltered in the first inning, facing three batters and giving up a run on an error and failing to record an out, the team immediately brought up their ‘ace’, Hwang Jun-seo.
Hwang held the Gyeongbuk State offense scoreless until the fourth inning, allowing just one hit and one walk. He struck out six. However, he was shaken up in the top of the fifth inning. With runners on first and second, he gave up a tying triple to Gyeongbuk’s Lim Jong-sung and a walk to Jeon Mir. A fielding error allowed two more runs to score and he left the game. Hwang struggled on the day, allowing five runs (two earned) on five hits in four and one-third innings.
Kyungpook State managed to cut the deficit to one run in the bottom of the fifth, but Lim Jong-sung hit another RBI single in the top of the sixth to make it 7-4. After tying the game in the bottom of the sixth, Jang Chung-go made a dramatic comeback in the top of the ninth. Leadoff hitter Han Seung-hyun walked, and sophomore Cho Chang-yeon came to the plate and hit a two-run shot over the left field fence to tie the game at 7-7. The team pushed for a comeback, but was unable to score another run, sending the game into extra innings.
In the top of the 10th inning, with runners on first and second and nobody out, Kyungpook State took the lead again with a sacrifice fly to left field. Kyungpook National University held the defense scoreless in the bottom of the 10th to advance to the final.
Sophomore Jong-sung Lim went 2-for-3 at the plate, including a two-run triple off Hwang Jun-seo in the fifth inning. On the mound, sophomores Park Kyung-do and Kim Byung-joon pitched well. Park took the mound after the first inning and went five and two-thirds innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits. Kim Byung-jun came on and gave up a tying home run in the bottom of the ninth, but that was the only run he allowed. He earned the win with four and one-third innings of one-hit ball, including a scoreless 10th inning.
“Our starting pitcher broke down quickly, but Park Kyung-do and Kim Byung-joon pulled us through as much as they could,” said Gyeongbuk High head coach Lee Jun-ho. “In the final game, we will use all the pitchers we have available and go all out.” Lee Joon-ho returned to the finals as head coach 30 years after playing as a player in 1993, the last time Kyungpook State reached the Cheongryonggi final. “The reputation of Kyungpook National University has dropped a lot compared to the past, but I will do my best to restore its honor by winning the championship,” he said.