Incheon High School’s Kim Taek-yeon (18) pitched an ace performance.
Kim threw a two-hit, four-strikeout, no-hit shutout in relief against Gyeonggi Commercial High School in the round of 16 of the 57th Presidential High School Baseball Tournament at Mokdong Stadium in Seoul on Sunday. He looked like a top prospect who is expected to be the No. 2 overall pick in the 2024 First-Year Player Draft.
With runners on first and second in the bottom of the sixth inning with Incheon leading 4-0, Kim struck out Lim Jae-won, Jung Hee-jae, and Gong Gun-hee to end the threat. In the seventh inning, Kim struck out Park Si-hyun and Lee Seo-joon and retired Shin Seung-min to end the game.
In a postgame interview, Incheon High head coach Gye Ki-beom said, “Kim Taek-yeon has a really good fastball. I think it’s harder for hitters to hit it because it’s a fastball. Her changeup is still good, but I think she will be able to pitch better if she refines it more,” praising Kim for her strong performance.
Manager Gye Ki-beom, who put Kim on the mound in a crunch situation, said, “Kim gave the best result, and I expected that. I’m grateful because she did as much as I expected. (Kim) has a very calm personality. He doesn’t get nervous, so he doesn’t falter whether he’s the starter or the closer. In her sophomore year, she was a little bit like that, but as she gained experience, she wasn’t nervous at all and tried to enjoy any situation. I think that’s another strength,” he said, explaining why he chose Kim.
“I focused on the hitters with the idea that I could honestly give up runners on first and second base because there was a four-run lead. I tried to induce ground balls at first, and when I had a favorable pitch count, I threw for strikes. I was trying to get a ground ball or get a strikeout to get a favorable pitch count,” he said.
“I always pitch in crunch time, so now I’m enjoying it,” said Kim, who smiled, “I’ve tried starting and bullpen. When I start, I learn how to manage the game, and when I throw short pitches as a reliever, like today, I show my strengths, and I think I’ve gained the ability to stop the crisis.”
Kim, who topped out at 149 mph on the day, laughed and said, “Our speed gun was going 150 mph,” and added, “I don’t worry too much about my velocity. I just check it after the game. However, in my last outing, I hit 146 kilometers, so I think it’s positive that my fastball has improved as I’ve improved my physical condition.” 안전놀이터
Kim, who is competing in her final tournament before being called up to the national youth team, said, “This is the last time I can be with the team until the championship, so I really want to win, and I’m trying to do it with my friends with the mindset of one win, one win. If we do that, I think we will have a good result,” she said, adding that she is determined to win.