August 1, 2019
The USA finished round-robin play with a hard-fought, come-from-behind, 12-11, win against Korea.
The two teams combined for 18 hits and 5 errors. A total of 11 pitchers stepped to the mound.
Dillon Adkins batted in the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh.
Korea didn’t waste any time in getting to USA’s starter Tanner Shields. Lead-off hitter Doo Donghyeon reached when he was hit by a pitch and then stole second. He scored on a base hit by centre fielder Lee Taeoh. With two outs, Shields hit designated hitter Na Hyunseo. First baseman Yoo Yongjae worked the count to 3-1 and then sent a bullet to dead centre for a three-run home run.
The USA got on the scoreboard in the top of the second, when a defensive error hurt Korea’s starter Lee Myeongjae.
One more run scored on reliever Han Junhul in the third, thriving again on errors.
Korea extended the lead in the bottom of the third against reliever John Dolan. Third baseman Lee Jaejun fouled off the first pitch and then drove Dolan’s second offering well beyond the centre field fence for a solo home run. Dolan then hit pinch hitter Im Byeonghyun and walked Yoo Yongjae. A base hit by second baseman Lee Jaewon and a wild pitch scored two more runs.
Brenden Lewis took over to get out of the inning.
The USA stroke right back in the top of the fourth, making it a two-run game. Left fielder Dillon Atkins homered on the reliever’s Cho Yoonho fifth pitch. Designated hitter John Mc Kernan reached on a two-out single and advanced to third on two consecutive wild pitches. Cho then walked second baseman Bryce Nixon and third baseman Gavin Fien. The USA scored two more runs on wild pitches and Korea gave the call to Jung Munhyeok to get out of the jam.
Korea added a run in the bottom of the fourth on an error, but the USA was not going to surrender this one. In the top of the fifth and with Tinajero at second, Adkins got to Jung for a two-run home run that cut the gap to one run.
The USA tied it in top of the sixth on two consecutive balks by reliever Park Jeongsoo.
The USA led-off smashing the first pitch by Park off the wall in centre field. Meza started celebrating a home run, that eventually never happened, too soon and didn’t go past first. With Meza at second and two outs, the game would have ended on a great running catch by Korea’s centre fielder Lee Taeoh, but Park had balked on the delivery, so batter Josiah Hartshorn was brought back to the box and on the following pitch Park balked again, allowing the game-tying run and thus giving way to the first extra-inning game in the tournament.
The USA scored for in the top of the seventh. With the runners at first and second as per the WBSC international tie-break rule, Adkins drove the third pitch by reliever Lee Taeoh to deep left field for a single and batted in the go-ahead run. Two more runs scored on a sacrifice fly by shortstop Leon Melendez and a couple of wild pitches.
Korea made it a one-run game again in the bottom half of the frame on a one-out single by Lee Jaewon and a couple of grounders.
With pinch-runner Lee Semin representing the tying run at second, the USA gave the call to Gavin Fien.
The newcomer just needed a pitch to seal the win for the USA.