The Sejong City Youth Baseball Team (headed by Jang Jae-hyuk) won its first championship.
Sejong City Youth won its first championship in seven years in the strongest league, the Youth Cheongryong (U-13) League, by beating Asan Youth Baseball Team (Hwang Min-ho) 11-7 after two penalty shootouts after a draw in the final of the 2nd Andong Hahoe Talbae National Children’s Baseball Tournament held in Andong City, Gyeongbuk Province, on the 12th.
Hosted by the Andong City Baseball and Softball Association and organized by the Korea Youth Baseball Federation (Chairman Lee Sang-geun), the tournament was held for six days from October 7th to 12th at seven stadiums, including the Andong Yongsang Sports Park baseball field, with a total of 72 teams and more than 2,000 participants, including players and parents.
The tournament was sponsored by Andong City, Andong City Sports Association, baseball equipment company Wipan (Gold Bat), Storm Baseball, Finsport, Waniel-Diamond, Dominion, and muscle ligament supplement Aminoligen.
The tournament was organized as a preliminary round-robin and final round-robin tournament, with teams competing for the championship in seven divisions, including the Sprout League (U-9), Dreamers League (U-11), Youth League (U-13), and Junior League (U-16).
The Sejong Youth Baseball Team, which won the strongest league, the Youth League (U-13) Cheongnyong, also showed off its skills at the U-12 National Youth Baseball Tournament, the largest tournament for elementary school baseball teams in the country, held in Uljin this year.
In the first game of the preliminary round of the tournament, Sejong Youth Baseball got off to a fast start against Busan MSG Youth Baseball Team (coached by Yoo Min-seok), winning 8-4 thanks to a 3-for-2, 4 RBI performance by Lee Yoo-chan (Da Jung Cho 6).
In the second game against the Daejeon Seogu Youth Baseball Team, coached by Yeon Kyung-hum, a former member of Daejeon’s powerhouse Hanwha Eagles, the team earned a 6-0 shutout victory behind a 4-for-5 performance from Kim Do-kyung (Sodam 6), nicknamed the Otani of youth baseball, who went 2-for-2 with a double and two RBIs, and a three-hit shutout start from Lee Min-jae (Duru 5).
In the final game of the preliminary round against defending champion Incheon Seogu Youth Baseball Club (Kim Jong-cheol), the team won 5-1 behind a 2-for-2 performance from Ko Jun-seo (Boramcho6) with a double, RBI and two runs scored and a three-inning, one-run start from Lee Yoo-chan.
In the quarterfinals, Seoul’s emerging powerhouse Gangnam Dogok Youth Baseball Team (managed by Yoon Jung-ho) took a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning thanks to Kim Do-kyung’s leadoff home run and Choi Si-woo (Dodamcho6)’s three-inning, six-hit shutout to advance to the long-awaited final.
The final was an intriguing matchup between the traditional powerhouse Asan Youth Baseball Team (coached by Hwang Min-ho), who this year’s Doosan Bears’ Park Ji-ho was the second consecutive KBO rookie to be drafted after Kwon Dong-hyuk (LG Twins) last year, and the upstart Sejong Youth Baseball Team, who defeated not only a youth baseball club but also an elementary school baseball team to finish as runners-up.
The Sejong Youth Baseball Team scored two runs in the top of the first inning, thanks to a leadoff double by Kim Do-kyung and a double to right-center field by Sun Ju-ha (Dodamcho 6). The next four innings were a tense pitching battle between Sejong’s Kim Do-kyung and Asan’s Lee Ji-ho (Handlemulbitcho6), but in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Asan offense scored two runs on three consecutive hits by Minsan (Bulmucho5), Lee Ye-jun (Tangjeongcho6), and Lee Ji-ho to tie the game. In the end, neither team scored until the end of the sixth inning, leaving the game tied at 2-2 and sending the game into a penalty shootout.
In the first inning of the seventh inning, the team scored five runs and seemed to win the championship right away, but the defense gave up five runs to Asan and the game was tied at 7-7. In the second inning, the team scored four runs with hits from Sun Ju-ha, Yoon Kyu-bin (Dae Pyeong Choi 6), and Choi Si-woo, and then shut down the opponent’s offense to win 11-7 in a thrilling game that went to the eighth inning and won the U-13 championship for the first time in its seven years of existence.
Kim Do-kyung (Sejong City Youth Baseball Club, Sodam-cho 6), who led his team to the title with 12 hits, five RBIs and a .417 batting average, and a no-hitter in 5.1 innings as a pitcher, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP), while Lee Ji-ho (Asan Youth Baseball Club, Chungcheongnam-do) and Choi Si-woo (Sejong City Youth Baseball Club, Dodam-cho 6) earned honorable mentions.
Kim Do-kyung (Sejong City Youth Baseball Team, Sodam-cho 6), who was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP), said, “I’m so happy to get the final out of the last inning. It was one of my bucket lists to win the Youth Cheongnyong League and win the Most Valuable Player award, and I’m so happy to have fulfilled my wish.
I would like to thank my friends who helped me with perfect defense during the game, my managers and coaches who helped me grow to this point even though I haven’t been playing baseball for a long time, and my parents who raised me and gave me a lot of support in learning baseball. My role model is SSG’s Kim Kwang-hyun, and I like his fastball and changeup because it looks so cool.”안전놀이터
Jang Jae-hyuk, manager of the Sejong Youth Baseball Team, who won the tournament’s managerial award, said, “I am very happy to win the first Youth Cheongryong League title in the seven years since its establishment. I would like to thank the players for their hard work and parents for their passionate support. I feel rewarded for the past seven years of blood and sweat between the coaches and players based on the basics to win the Youth Cheongryong League, the main competition of the Korea Youth Baseball Organization. We will continue to strive to help our children fulfill their dreams.”
Lee Sang-geun, President of the Korea Youth Baseball Federation, said, “The Andong tournament, which is essential for the revitalization of youth baseball in the Gyeongsangbuk-do region, was held in good facilities and climate, and was very well received by the players and parents who participated in the tournament. The city of Andong is also an ideal place for our players to experience history, culture, and diverse food. We would like to thank Andong Mayor Kwon Ki-chang and Andong City Sports Chairman Ahn Yun-hyo for their attention to detail and support during the tournament.”