‘No. 2 prospect’ Kim Taek-yeon tops strikeouts at U-18 Baseball World Cup…16K in 3 games

Kim Taek-yeon (Incheon High School), one of the top two picks in the KBO Draft along with Hwang Jun-seo (Jangchung High School), is showing off his strikeout prowess on the world stage with the U-18 national team.

Kim leads the world in strikeouts at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup in Taiwan.스포츠토토

Kim is 1-1 with a 1.05 ERA in three games. In 6⅔ innings pitched, she has struck out a whopping 16 batters. That’s three outs per inning, two of which are on base. He leads the league in strikeouts through seven days of the Super Round.

Gonzalez Pérez (Puerto Rico) is second with 15 strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings in two games. There are four players in third place with 11 strikeouts. Yuto Kimura (Japan), Reyes Ulises (Venezuela), Sun Yi-lei (Chinese Taipei), and Chang Jun-wei (Taiwan) are tied for third. Hwang Jun-seo is seventh with nine strikeouts in 7⅔ innings in two games.

Kim came in with runners on first and third in the third inning of a 1-3 loss to Chinese Taipei on Feb. 2 and got out of the jam with a strikeout, a hit and a groundout. She gave up a single with the bases loaded in the fourth inning, but got back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat. In three innings, he allowed one run on three hits and two walks with seven strikeouts. It was his only run of the tournament.

On April 4, he came on in relief with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh inning of a 3-0 win over Australia and recorded two consecutive strikeouts to earn the save. The tournament will be played in seven innings.

Kim’s strikeout prowess shone brightest in the final group game against Puerto Rico, which resumed on Sunday as a suspended game.

South Korea was in trouble in the top of the first inning against Puerto Rico, which started the previous day on June 6. Starting pitcher Park Ki-ho (Cheongju) loaded the bases with back-to-back singles and a walk, then gave up the go-ahead run on a wild pitch with one out.

The game was then suspended due to heavy rain, and when it resumed, Kim Taek-yeon took the mound with the bases loaded. Kim got back-to-back strikeouts to get out of the jam. South Korea scored five runs in the bottom of the first inning, and Kim ended the inning with a grounder, a strikeout, and a fly ball on 11 pitches.

With South Korea leading 5-1 in the top of the third inning, another downpour hit and the game was suspended.

When the game resumed on Sunday morning, Kim continued to pitch. In the third inning, Kim retired the first three batters she faced to shut down the Puerto Rican bats. She retired the first batter of the fourth inning on a three-pitch swinging strike. He was replaced at 40 pitches.

Kim, pitching for the second straight day, earned the win with three scoreless innings of no-hit ball, striking out seven. Park Gun-woo (Chungam-go) followed Kim with three innings of one-hit ball and six strikeouts to shut down the Puerto Rican bats in the 8-1 win.

South Korea advanced to the Super Round (a round-robin format) with a 4-1 record in group play, finishing second in the group. A loss to Japan in the first game of the Super Round dropped South Korea to 1-2 in the Super Round. They need to win their remaining games against the United States and the Netherlands to advance to the final.