The ‘Dreaded First Year’ highlights the 77th Golden Lion Awards

The 77th Golden Lion National High School Baseball Tournament and Weekend League Wangjoong Wangjeon concluded on the 29th with the final game. With a 12-3 victory over Sunlin Internet High School, Busan High School stood atop the Golden Lion for the first time since its inception in 1947. Busan High School, which had never won the Golden Lion among the four major tournaments, achieved a grand slam.토토사이트

One of the hallmarks of the 77th edition of the tournament was the dominance of first-year players. In addition to Busan University and Sunlin Internet University, who faced each other in the final, there were four first-year batsmen in the starting line-up, including Gangneung University and Daegu Sangwon University, the other two quarter-finalists. If we extend the scope to sophomores, 16 of the 36 starting batters in the four teams, or 44.4 per cent, were in their first or second year. It seems that the practice of giving priority to sophomores for the KBO draft and college entrance exams is slowly disappearing, and talented sophomores are actively gaining opportunities.

One of the first-year players who shone at the tournament was Ahn Ji-won (16) of Busan Go. The second baseman was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) after going 10-for-18 (.556 batting average) with nine RBIs and three runs scored during the tournament. She also won the batting, most hits, and most RBI awards, making her a quadruple winner. Ahn Ji-won, who also played pitcher at Busan Middle School, aspires to be a two-hitter like Shohei Ohtani (29-LA Angels) in Major League Baseball (MLB). This year, he is playing outfield due to the team’s circumstances, but he is expected to take the mound next year. Busan Go coach Park Kye-won said, “He has a great bat, but he also has the desire to pitch, so it’s a big deal.”

Choi Min-je (16), a first-year student at Busan High School, who was in a “family competition” with Ahn Ji-won to the end, also shone. Choi Min-je, who played first and second base for the team, went 8-for-16 (batting average of 0.500) with five RBIs and six runs scored during the tournament. Choi Min-je, who was batting 0.500 alongside Ahn Ji-won before the final, went 2-for-1 in the final. However, Ahn Ji-won’s 4-for-3 performance changed the outcome of the title.

Despite missing out on the title, the performance of Sunlin Internet High School first-year Choi Jae-young (16) was also noteworthy. Batting first for the team, Choi stole a total of six bases during the tournament to take home the most stolen bases award, and was the No. 1 contributor to Sunlin Internet High’s team stolen base total (21). Although he didn’t have a high batting average (0.200) with four hits, he did what his team expected of him with a 0.467 slugging percentage, including 10 walks and 10 batted balls. Choi played right field and first base for the team during the tournament, but his primary position is shortstop. With MLB’s Ha Sung Kim (28-San Diego) as his role model, it’s exciting to see what kind of player Choi will become in the future.

Despite not crossing the semi-final threshold, there are some first-years who have also made their mark on Gangneung High. Outfielder Lee Ji-hoo (16) served as the team’s designated hitter, batting .400 with one home run, five RBIs, and four runs scored. He hit a home run in the second game against Ansan Gonggo – the only home run by a first-year player in the tournament – and made a super-catch in the quarterfinals against Seongnam Go, snagging a Texas hit with his body. Having played a total of 17 games this year, with Gangneung Go reaching the finals of the Shinsegae E-Mart Bae tournament earlier, Lee Ji-hoo has shown his precise hitting skills, striking out just two times in 77 at-bats.

Among the pitchers, Gangneung High first-year Park Ji-hoon (16) stands out. Park appeared in all five of Gangneung High’s games at the tournament, pitching 16 innings with a salty ERA of 1.69. He took the mound in three of the five games, and even made a surprise start in the final against Deoksugo in the Shinsegae E-Mart Boat Tournament. We look forward to seeing what he can do in the upcoming national tournament.

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