Incheon High School Kim Taek-yeon, who opened both the bullpen and starters
Incheon High School pitcher Kim Taek-yeon showed off his ‘K-instinct’ again. Kim Taek-yeon came up in the biggest crisis situation in the middle of the game and led the way out of the crisis with a strikeout march. A fastball with a maximum velocity of 149 km/h and a slider with a sharp trajectory were ‘post-high school’ pitches.
On August 7th, Incheon High School played Gyeonggi Commercial High School and Presidential Cup National High School Baseball Tournament in the round of 16 at Mokdong Stadium in Seoul.
On this day, starting pitcher Park Sang-hyun pitched 3 innings, 4 hits, 4 strikeouts, and no runs, and Lim Kyu-young succeeded in taking the lead with 2 RBIs and a timely triple in the top of the 3rd inning. At the beginning of the 4th inning, when the bases were loaded with 2 outs, Han Gyu-hyeok hit 2 RBIs and hit a timely hit to make the score 4-0.
Jung Hyeon-woo, who took the mound from the 4th inning following Park Sang-hyun, continued pitching scoreless until the 5th inning. However, after a walk by the lead batter at the end of the 6th inning, Jung Hyun-woo faced a crisis with 1st and 2nd base safely due to a catch error by the second baseman.
Incheon High School’s bench put ‘Ace’ Taek-Yeon Kim on the mound as soon as the crisis came out. Kim Taek-yeon showed off a power struggle to strike out Lim Jae-won, Jung Hee-jae, and Gong Geon-hee.
In the beginning of the 7th inning, Incheon High School Lim Kyu-young hit a 3-run home run from the second and third bases safely, making the score difference 7-0 possible for a cold game.
Kim Taek-yeon climbed onto the mound at the end of the 7th inning and caught lead hitter Park Si-hyun with a fly ball to right field and follow-up hitter Lee Seo-joon with a fly ball to second baseman. Then, he struck out Shin Seung-min, the last batsman, and concluded a called game.
On this day, Kim Taek-yeon threw a fastball with a maximum velocity of 149 km/h based on field scout measurements. According to the school’s own measurements, she reportedly topped her speed at 150 km/h.
After the victory in the round of 16, Incheon High School coach Gye-beom Gye-beom said, “Taek-yeon Kim has a really good fastball, but his ball is also good, so opponent hitters have more difficulty. He could be a better pitcher if he only refined his breaking ball more. It is also an advantage to throw the ball calmly in a crisis situation. He praised him for his style of throwing the ball without being nervous, whether starting or finishing.”
Kim Taek-yeon also met with reporters after the game and said, “In the 6th inning, there was a difference in score, so I thought it was okay to concede a little, so I focused only on the batter and the game. Strikeouts continued to come out as I tried to preoccupy the advantageous count quickly. Since he often pitches in critical situations, he rather enjoys those situations. He also learned how to manage matches well while playing the role of starting or long relief. He continues to practice his curveball, changeup, and splitter,” he said.
Kim Taek-yeon appeared in 11 games (50.2 innings) in this year’s official competition, recording 5 wins, 1 loss, 1.24 ERA, 81 strikeouts, 7 strikeouts, and a WHIP of 0.65. His walk/strikeout ratio itself was incomparably more stable than other pitchers his age in high school.
Kim Taek-yeon said, “I don’t pay attention to restraint when pitching, and I check it after the mound. He tries to focus more on ball movement and pitching. Certainly, my pitching condition was better than when I first appeared in the Presidential Cup. In the case of the 1st pitch, even if I hit the first pitch, I could get an outcount, so I tried to pitch as aggressively as possible, so I was stable. He nodded, saying, “As a pitcher, he doesn’t want to give a walk.”
Kim Taek-yeon is evaluated as ‘TOP 2’ along with Jangchung High School left-hander Hwang Jun-seo in the upcoming rookie nomination. It is highly likely that the Doosan Bears, who have the second overall pick, will nominate Kim Taek-yeon.
Kim Taek-yeon said, “I keep hearing about ‘Doo Taek-yeon’ through articles and people around me. Her friends said, ‘Aren’t you going to Doosan? He said, ‘Come to the team I cheer for’ (laughs). At first, I didn’t get such a big spotlight, but now that I’m in a situation like this, of course I feel good. I have to prove the situation that sounds like that with my skills, so I try to focus only on baseball without being vigilant every day.”
Kim Taek-yeon plans to join the youth baseball team for the World Youth Baseball Championship at the end of August. The Presidential Cup is the last chance to win the national championship with friends.
Kim Taek-yeon said, “Now (the rookie draft) is about a month away, but since the evaluation has gone up since the beginning of the season, I want to continue to show my progress step by step. I try to think about the rookie draft sometimes when I come down from the mound. First of all, winning the presidential cup competition is the first thing. I am more desperate because it is the last opportunity to win the championship with my friends ahead of joining the youth team. I really want to win,” he said vigorously.