Right-handed ace Kwak Bin (Doosan Bears) proved his international competitiveness in his third attempt.
Kwak started the final game of the Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) 2023 against Japan at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan, on Sept. 19, giving up one run on five hits (one home run) with three walks and six strikeouts in five innings.
Kwak bounced back from a poor showing at the World Baseball Classic (WBC), where he allowed three runs in two innings, and the Hangzhou Asian Games, where he did not play a single game due to gallbladder symptoms.
Japanese starter Tatsuya Imai (four innings, five hits, two walks, two runs) also won the decision.
On the day, Kwak kept the Japanese bats in check with a fastball in the low-to-mid 90s and a mix of curveballs, sliders and changeups.
Kwak gave up a single to Shota Morishita in the top of the first inning to the right side of the infield, but struck out No. 4 hitter Shugo Maki on a body curveball.
The biggest threat came in the second inning.
Kwak-Bin struck out leadoff hitter Shogo Sakakura on a full count, but gave up a two-run double to Jusei Mannami, who had hit a solo shot against Korea in the qualifiers.
Kwak-Bin got one out and then faltered with back-to-back walks to put runners on second and third.
However, he regained his composure after a mound visit from pitching coach Choi Il-un and struck out the next batter to end the game.
In the third inning, with runners on first and second after a hit and a walk, Kwak Binh induced the reunited Mannami to ground out to the shortstop.
In the fourth inning, Kwak Binh threw over 60 pitches, allowing only one hit and striking out three batters.
However, with two outs in the fifth inning, he threw a two-pitch curveball to Maki in the middle of the strike zone, and Maki connected for a 120-meter solo shot to left-center field.
Kwak Bin calmly got the final out and walked off the mound without allowing another run.
South Korea, which led 2-1 at the time, gave up one more run in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at 2-2. 토토