안전놀이터 The Incheon Seo-gu Youth Baseball Team (head coach Jong-cheol Kim) competed with the Gyeonggi Bucheon City Youth Baseball Team in the finals of the Youth Blue Dragon (U-13) League of the ‘2nd Gapyeong-gun Cup National Youth Baseball Tournament’ held in Gapyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do. (Director Kang Jeong-min), 7-1, and won their first championship in 10 years since their founding.
This tournament, hosted by the Korea Youth Baseball Federation (Chairman Lee Sang-geun), was held at five baseball stadiums, including Gapyeong Baseball Stadium, for five days, including the weekend, from the 2nd to the 11th. A fierce competition unfolded with a total of 2,000 people, including players from 97 teams and their parents, participating. This competition was held by Gapyeong-gun, Gapyeong-gun Sports Council, Afreeca TV, baseball equipment company DOMINION, Storm Baseball, Finn Sports, Waniel-Diameng, Wepan (Gold Bat), Crown B, and aminoregen, a functional food for muscle and ligament reinforcement. It was carried out with great interest and support.
This competition was held in a tournament format. Promising players who are considered the future of Korean baseball will compete for championship trophies in a total of six categories, including Sprout League (U-9), Dream League (U-11), Youth League (U-13), and Junior League (U-16), and show off their skills. competed.
The Incheon Seogu Youth Baseball Team, which won the Blue Dragon Youth League (U-13), the strongest league, defeated the Seoul Jungnang Eagles Youth Baseball Team (coach Kim Seon-woo) in the first game of the preliminary round. Jo Bae-seong (Haewon Elementary School 6) pitched 2 innings with 4 strikeouts and no runs, and first hitter shortstop Hwang Ha-gyeom (Cheongho Elementary 5) had 2 hits and 1 RBI in 2 at-bats, resulting in a 12-2 victory.
The round of 16 was held in the Incheon derby. We met with the Incheon Yeonsu-gu youth baseball team led by coach Ga Nae-young and laughed after a tense pitching match. Na Hyo-min (Gahyeon Elementary School 6) hit the winning shot and played a leading role in the 3-1 victory. In the quarterfinals against the Nowon-gu Youth Baseball Team (coach Manak-gil), a strong team in the Seoul area, they took a comfortable lead of 7-1 thanks to Na Hyo-min’s superior two-run home run, but lost 5 runs on defense in the top of the 5th inning and fell by one point, 7-6. In a critical situation, pitcher Hwang Ha-gyeom finished the game well and succeeded in advancing to the semifinals.
In the semifinals, they clashed with the emerging powerhouse Gyeonggi Gwangju City Toechon Youth Baseball Team (coached by Yoo Hoon-sang). Jo Bae-seong’s two-hitting performance shone. Jo Bae-seong swung the bat with 3 hits, 1 RBI, and 3 hits in 3 at-bats, including 3 doubles, and on the mound, he pitched 2 innings, 2 hits, and 4K scoreless runs, leading the Incheon Seo-gu Youth Baseball Team to a 7-1 victory.
Before this tournament, the Incheon Seogu Youth Baseball Team had only finished second in the Youth Blue Dragon (U-13) League four times in the 10 years since its founding. The Gyeonggi Bucheon City Youth Baseball Team (head coach Kang Jeong-min), which faced each other in the finals, advanced to the finals for the first time in 9 years since its founding, creating an interesting championship match.
In the top of the first inning, the Incheon Seogu Youth Baseball Team allowed hits to the opposing Bucheon City Youth Baseball Team’s Yoo I-chan (Sanhak Middle School 1st) and Kim Tae-yoon (Sanhak Middle School 1st) in defense, allowing one run. However, in the bottom of the second inning, Na Hyo-min succeeded in stealing second and third bases in succession after a pitch, and even made a home steal and scored, bringing the game back to square one. We succeeded in turning things around in the bottom of the third inning. After two outs, Hwang Ha-gyeom’s base hit and Noh Eun-chan (Cheongnam Elementary School 6) doubled to right-center, giving the runners a chance to place second and third base. The opposing pitcher made a balk, taking the lead to 2-1.
Afterwards, they had a tight pitching battle and turned the bottom of the 5th inning into a big inning to secure the win. Fourth hitter Na Hyo-min exploded for five runs with three hits, including a two-run home run in the middle of the month that sealed the game, and two four-ball outings. In the end, they won 7-1 and won the Youth Blue Dragon (U-13) championship 10 years after its founding.
Jo Bae-seong (Incheon Seo-gu Youth Baseball Team, Haewon Elementary School 6), who showed outstanding performance as a pitcher and hitter throughout this tournament, received the tournament’s Most Valuable Player Award (MVP). As a batter, he had a batting average of 0.637 with 7 hits and 6 RBIs in 11 at-bats, and as a pitcher, he recorded 4 wins, 6 hits, 24 runs, and 1 run in 13 innings with an ERA of 0.69. Kim Tae-yoon (Gyeonggi-do Bucheon Youth Baseball Team, Sanhak Middle School 1st) and Na Hyo-min (Incheon Seo-gu Youth Baseball Team, Gahyeon Elementary School 6th) won the Outstanding Player Award.
Jo Bae-seong (Incheon Seo-gu Youth Baseball Team, Haewon Elementary School 6th), who received the honor of being the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament, said, “I am so happy that I was able to strike out in the last inning. I think the results of my hard training were rewarded with the win. Best Player Award. “I am very honored to receive this award and I am grateful to the coach who has trained me so hard,” he said. “My role model is SSG Kim Gwang-hyeon. I like it because his fast ball and breaking ball with good control look so cool.”
Coach Kim Jong-cheol of the Incheon Seo-gu Youth Baseball Team won the championship and received the Best Coach Award. He said, “This year marks the 10th anniversary of our founding. We have won several low-level leagues such as the Dream League, but it is more meaningful because it is the first time we have won the top league.” He added, “I am proud of the players who have followed through with a lot of practice and hard training. “I would like to say thank you to the parents for their continued support and support. I will work hard to guide the team so that it can become a better team in the future,” he said with great emotion.
Lee Sang-geun, president of the Korea Youth Baseball Federation, said, “Among the competitions in the metropolitan area, the Gapyeong-gun competition seems to have the best conditions, including facilities and geographical location. It is a competition that players and parents love very much, which adds meaning. There was a lot of support during the five days of the competition. “I am grateful to Gapyeong County Governor Seo Tae-won and Gapyeong County Sports Council President Ji Young-ki for doing this,” he emphasized.