Baseball’s prestigious Gyeongbuk High School embraced the Cheongryonggi 30 years after Lee Seung-yeop (47) was the head coach of the Doosan Bears. Maybe it was fate that they won the title this time. Jeon Mir (18), whose name means “dragon” in Korean, won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, and starting pitcher Lee Seung-heon (18) celebrated his birthday with a seven-inning no-hitter. Head coach Lee Jun-ho (47), who participated in the last championship as a player in 1993, brought his alma mater its eighth blue dragon flag as a manager.
Kyungpook National University defeated Mulkeum University 4-1 in the final of the 78th Cheongryonggi National High School Baseball Championship and Weekend League Wangjoong Wangjeon at Mokdong Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Sunday to clinch the Cheongryonggi title. It was the team’s first national championship in eight years and 22nd national title since winning the 2015 Bonghwangdae. It was the team’s eighth Cheongryonggi title, closing in on Gyeongnam Go (nine) for the most titles in the competition.
Jeon Mir “Gyeongbuk Go Otani” Jeon, who batted fourth and designated hitter due to pitch count restrictions, went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, including the game-winning hit in the bottom of the first inning, while starter Lee Seung-heon threw 104 pitches through the seventh inning to secure the win with seven innings, seven hits, three walks and five strikeouts.
It was an unlikely win before the tournament. The team had an ace in Jeon Mir, but it was considered to be relatively weak. In the final, Jeon Mir, Park Kyung-do, and Kim Byung-joon were unavailable, but Lee Seung-heon, who had only pitched in the bullpen for the tournament, pitched more innings than expected. The team won the title for the first time in 30 years thanks to timely hitting.
After the game, manager Lee Jun-ho said, “I was expecting three or four innings, and I was thinking of running the game after that, but (Lee) pitched unexpectedly well,” adding, “He pitched a lot in the first half of the year, so his stamina had dropped a lot, but the ball felt good in training. It was originally a one-two punch with (former) Mir. He has a good fastball and slider from his big height, and his fastball can reach up to 145 kilometers per hour.”
Lee, who previously led Lee Seung-yeop and Gyeongbuk High School to their seventh Cheongryonggi title, took over in 2019 and led the team to the Cheongryonggi title after reaching the quarterfinals of the Association Championship (now E-Mart Bae) that year. “I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a lot of pressure because of the expectations. I didn’t sleep all night yesterday, but I think I’ll be able to sleep a little easier today because we had a good result,” he laughed.
Gyeongbuk High School ace Jeon Mir was unable to take the mound in the final game due to pitching limitations, but he showed off his talent by batting fourth and designated hitter and delivering the game-winning hit.
He lived up to his father’s name, Mir (Korean for dragon), and became one of the biggest stars of the Blue Dragon era. As a pitcher in the tournament, Jeon pitched 13 scoreless innings of six-hit ball with three walks and 15 strikeouts, and as a hitter, he batted .267 (4-for-15) with four RBIs and six walks (two wild pitches), earning MVP and honorable mention honors.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this way, so my camera is new and I want to share this joy with my friends,” said Jeon after the win. “It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this way, and I want to share this joy with my friends,” he said. We worked harder in practice and tried to shake off our bad form somehow.”
In the 2024 KBO Rookie Draft in September, Jeon is mentioned as a prospect who is expected to be selected in the first round. Lee sees more potential as a pitcher, but Jeon doesn’t want to give up on either option just yet. “If it doesn’t work out, that’s fine, but I still want to do both,” he said, adding, “I think I was better on the mound this tournament. It’s a little more fun to hit, but today I didn’t do it when I needed to keep scoring runs, and I’m not satisfied with what I did in the first inning,” he said. “As a pitcher, it’s unfortunate that I couldn’t manage my pitch count,” he added.안전놀이터
His favorite player was Shohei Ohtani (29-LA Angels) and his favorite team was his hometown Samsung Lions. “I was born in Daegu, so I grew up watching Samsung baseball, and that’s why I liked Samsung,” says Jeon. “Ohtani is my role model. As a pitcher, he has the mentality to go straight into the game without being nervous and has good stamina to throw long pitches. As a hitter, he has a strong bat and has faster feet than you think.”
The best performance of the final was from starter Lee Seung-heon, who pitched seven scoreless innings. He made only two appearances out of the bullpen in the tournament, but he didn’t give up a run in the final, striking out the side with his off-speed changeup in crunch time. Lee is a 6-foot-2, 190-pound right-hander with a fastball, slider, curveball, and splitter that he uses to his advantage.
“I think today was my day,” Lee said. I may have looked calm in the crunch, but I was really nervous. But when the shortstop made a mistake, I thought I would blame myself if I couldn’t stop it, so I tried to stop it from my line, and it worked out.”
Lee, who cites Samsung’s Choi Chung-yeon and Won Tae-in as his role models, pitched his best game on the day he was born (July 27, 2005). “It’s like the best birthday present ever,” he smiled.