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Gwangju Jeil High School Takes Home the Golden Lion after 21 Years

Gwangju Jeil High School Takes Home the Golden Lion after 21 Years

Posted July. 07, 2005 02:29,   


Although leading by a large margin of 10-0, Gwangju Jeil High School baseball team manager Huh Se-hwan did not loosen up. In the bottom of the ninth, he sent out his ace pitcher Nah Seung-hyun. Nah, who’s ability is beyond the high school level, got the first two batters to ground out and struck out the last batter Chung Jung-woo, who swung in vain.

In an instant, everyone in the Gwangju Jeil High School dugout dashed to the field and celebrated the victory.

Honam’s traditional baseball powerhouse Gwangju Jeil High School blew away the rise of Sungnam Seo High School and took home the glittering Golden Lion, 21 years after winning it back-to-back in 1983 and 1984.

The 59th Golden Lion National High School Baseball Tournament, sponsored jointly by Dong-A Ilbo and the Korean Baseball Association, held its final on July 6 at Dongdaemun Stadium.

The final game, predicted to be tight in a battle between experience versus aspiration, was decided early in the game. Kang Jung-ho, who plays both pitcher and catcher and is the other half of Gwangju Jeil pitching duo with Nah, started the game, pitching eight scoreless innings, striking out seven, and only giving up two hits. The powerful batting of Gwangju caught on fire after Seo Geon-chang’s first hit at the third inning, exploding to a total of 17 hits.

Before he came to the mound, Nah played first base and outfield while Kang batted fourth. Both had two RBIs a piece, outstanding both in pitching and batting.

Although Nah only pitched a single inning in the final, he pitched a total of 21 innings over five games, with 22 strikeouts, nine hits allowed, and two runs given up (ERA 0.86), which was enough to earn him the MVP award. Kang won the Outstanding Pitcher Award by pitching 12 2/3 innings, striking out 12, giving up three hits, and allowing no runs, and also won the RBI title with seven.

Although finishing as runner-up right in front of its first ever victory only eight years after forming a team, Sungnam Seo High School’s players and supporters’ manners were exemplary of student baseball. The players cheered for the winners wholeheartedly, and the supporters, numbering about 1,000, or the entire school, which attended the game, and after the heated cheering, showed its maturity with not a single supporter leaving the stadium until the award ceremony concluded.

Hwan Soo Zang Sung-Kyu Kim zangpabo@donga.com kimsk@donga.com