Busan High School will attempt to win its first ever Golden Lion title. Busan High School defeated Gangneung High School 6-1 in the semifinals at Mokdong Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Friday afternoon to reach the final. It is the first time in 31 years since 1992 that Busan High has reached the Golden Lion final.

The two schools had already faced off in the Bonghwangdae final last year. In that final, Busan High School defeated Gangneung High School 1-0 in a pitcher’s duel to win the title. Busan High was led by Won Sang-hyun, a sophomore at the time, who pitched 8.1 scoreless innings.

However, the ‘rematch’ with Gangneung High was canceled when Won Sang-hyun left due to injury. The bats responded. After scoring a run in every inning, Busan High secured the victory on the mound with a 4.2-inning no-hitter by Young Gun Kim. Busan High School will face Seolin Internet High School in the final game at 10 a.m. on the 27th.

One inning, one run… The mound responded

With a team ERA of 1.54, Busan High School gave up the fewest runs among the quarterfinalists. With key players unable to continue playing due to pitch count restrictions, Busan High started junior Min-woo Cho. For Gangneung High School, freshman Park Ji-hoon took the mound to start the game.

Both teams put runners in scoring position in the first inning, but were unable to capitalize. It was Gangneung that struck first. In the top of the second inning, Gangneung struck first when Lee Yul-ye, batting fourth, hit a triple to the fence, followed by a sacrifice fly. Busan Go tied the game again in the bottom of the second inning thanks to an RBI single by Yeon Jun-won.

This is when Busan’s bats started to pick up steam. Busan Go showed more consistency than focus in the batting order. They didn’t have any big innings where they scored three or four runs at once, but they did score in four consecutive innings from the second to the fifth. Busan scored a run in the bottom of the third on a sacrifice bunt by Yang Hyuk-jun. It was unfortunate that one more runner was thrown out at home.

In the fourth inning, Gangneung came up with a new pitcher, Cho Dae-hyun. Dae-hyun Cho, who continues to combine his pitching and hitting, pitched a no-hitter in the tournament, but Yeon Jun-won broke the streak with a single. Busan tacked on one more run in the fifth inning on a big double by Yang Hyuk-jun.

Busan Go was led by the pitching of sophomore side arm Dong-hoo Kim. Taking the mound in the fourth inning, Dong-hoo used his big frame to keep Gangneungo’s bats in check. Kim continued to impress scouts in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings with a perfect game that included three strikeouts.

A two-out walk in the seventh inning broke up the streak, but after 4.2 scoreless innings of no-hit ball until the second out of the eighth, Kim threw the first pitch of the game inside the strike zone. He was followed by Chun Gyeom, who finished the inning with a scoreless frame.

After scoring a run in the bottom of the seventh and eighth innings, Busan High sealed the victory in the top of the ninth when Yeon Jun-won, who was also active at the plate, caught a fly ball to center field for the final out. It was the first time in 20 years that Busan High School advanced to the Golden Lion finals.

“I told them I’d see them in the final the day after tomorrow… It really came true.”

“I wanted to pitch well at the national tournament, so I prepared hard in the weekend league, and I think I pitched well today,” said Kim Dong-hoo, who pitched 4.1 innings of no-hit ball. “In the final against Gangneung Go last year, (Won) Sang-hyun threw confidently and played fast, so I threw with the mindset that I wanted to do the same,” he said of his semifinal performance.

Of course, it wasn’t without fear. “I was afraid when the other team had good players, but I trusted my pitches and pitched confidently to win,” he said, adding, “It was a good result, but I want to pitch even better in the next game.”

Kim also pitched three scoreless innings on JTBC’s baseball entertainment program Choi Kang Baseball. “That was a good opportunity,” he said, “I was stressed because 스포츠토토 I couldn’t throw the ball well, but in ‘Strongest Baseball,’ I didn’t think of it as an entertainment program, I thought of throwing well. I was nervous when I played against Busan High seniors like Jung Jung-yoon and Jung Geun-woo, but I think I found confidence through the game.”

Kim Dong-hoo said, “I want to throw with more confidence when I get to the final,” and laughed, “If we win, it will be the first win for Golden Lion School, so I want to work even harder.”

Coach Park Kye-won of Busan High School also shared his thoughts on the victory, saying, “I was worried about Gangneung High School’s mound today, but I think we won because the pitchers and batters executed their plans perfectly.” “Won Sang-hyun was absent due to injury, and Sung Young-tak and Kim Jung-yup were limited in pitch count, but (Kim) Dong-hoo did a great job,” Park praised.

“Gangneung High School has been in the top spot for several years, so it’s good that we did so well against them,” Park said, adding, “I don’t know if there is an effect of the experience of winning the final last year, but I think the players were confident and played well.” Park also shared his thoughts on the rematch with Gangneung High.

“I’m close to coach Park Deok-hee of Sunlin Internet, and before the semifinals, I said to him, ‘I hope we can play each other tomorrow,'” Park said, adding that he was surprised that it came true.

But it’s all about winning. “The day after tomorrow, we can use all of our pitchers, not just Sung Young-tak, but Kim Jung-yup and Kim Dong-hoo,” Park said, adding, “We’ll play a game where we have the advantage on the mound.”

‘Rematch after 57 years’: Which school will laugh?

Only two schools remain in the Golden Lion tournament: Sunlin Internet High School and Busan High School. In the end, the final match will determine the winner of the Golden Lion. Coincidentally, it’s been 57 years since the two schools met in the final at Dongdaemun Baseball Stadium in 1966. In the 1966 final, Sunlin Commercial High School defeated Busan High School 4-0.

The two schools have had very different results in the Golden Lion. While Sunlin Internet High School has won five Golden Lion awards, including the title in 2015, Busan High School has never won the Golden Lion in any of the four national competitions organized by the newspaper (Golden Lion, Cheongryonggi, Presidential Boat, and Bonghwangdae).

The two schools’ Golden Lion records are also unique. Busan Go last competed in the finals in 1992 with Son Min-han, Joo Hyung-kwang, and Jin Gap-yong on the roster, but were denied the title by Bae Myung-go, which featured Lee Kyung-pil and Kim Dong-joo. Sunlin Internet High School also won the title in 2015 with the help of two aces.

The two schools will face off in the Golden Lion final at Mokdong Baseball Stadium on July 27, starting at 10 am. It will be interesting to see if the players of Sunlin Internet High School can lift the Golden Lion for the sixth time, and if Busan High School can hoist the golden lion in the Mokdong sky, which they have never held.

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