Go to contents

Lee Homers Again in Win Over U.S.

Posted March. 15, 2006 03:03,   


A century after Philip L. Gillett, an American missionary, brought baseball to Korea in 1905, Korean baseball reached a new milestone after defeating the world’s best team in the land where baseball was born.

Team Korea beat a U.S. national squad made up of Major League all-stars in the World Baseball Classic quarterfinals at Anaheim Stadium yesterday. The win was Korea’s first against the U.S. in international play. The last time these two met, at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Korea lost, 0-4 and 2-3.

Korean slugger Lee Seung-yeop struck the first blow. In the bottom of the first inning with two outs, he hit U.S. starter Dontrelle Willis’s (Florida Marlins) first pitch over the right field fence.

With Korea leading 3-1 in the fourth with two outs and runner in second, the U.S. decided to walk Lee. Korea then sent out Choi Hee-seop (Los Angeles Dodgers) as a pinch-hitter, who hit a three-run homer to right.

Team Korea, against popular expectations, remains the only undefeated team in the tournament and has effectively reserved their spot in the semifinals. If Korea’s winning streak continues when it meets Japan on March 16, it will be the winner of Group One.

Even if Korea loses to Japan at noon, March 16 —and if Japan loses to Mexico on March 15—Korea will still take second place in Group One. The worst-case scenario for Korea would be if it loses to Japan, and both Japan and the U.S. beat Mexico. If that happens, all three teams will be tied with two wins and one loss each. Team errors, runs allowed, batting averages, and as a last resort, a lottery will then be used as tiebreakers.

Korean national team manager Kim In-shik (Hanhwa) is now 11-0 in international play, including six straight wins that won Korea a gold medal at the 2002 Busan Asian Games, and his five straight World Baseball Classic wins.