Impressions of the WBC: Korea 1, Japan 0 – Pitched Battle in Asia

Warren TurnerContributor IMarch 9, 2009

When is a game with only one run and 10 hits worth watching? When it is played between bitter rivals Japan and Korea. Every inning—tense. Every pitch—a battle.

Fans in Tokyo have seen some great baseball in this 2009 World Baseball Classic. The players saved the best for last today. Some of the best pitchers on the planet were on display. So was great defense.

Korea managed a run in the fourth and it proved to be enough. Six Japanese hurlers pitched carefully, allowing seven walks but scattering just four hits.

Starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma struck out five in 5 1/3 innings. He was followed by Toshiya Sugiuchi, Takahiro Mahara, Yu Darvish, Tetsuya Yamaguchi and Kyuji Fujikawa.

The four Korean pitchers walked no one and limited Japan to only six hits. Starter Jung Keun Bong went the first 5 1/3 innings.

He was followed by Hyun Wook Jong, Hyun Jin Ryu and Chang Yong Lim. Lim faces some of these hitters during the regular season while pitching for the Yakult Swallows.

Both teams now travel to San Diego for the second round beginning next weekend. Korea’s victory means that they will open against the runner up of Group B. Instead, Japan will likely face Cuba in their first game.