“We’ll have to be careful in the future”
Liu Zhong-il, head coach of the Hangzhou Asian Games (AG) baseball team, flew home from Incheon International Airport on Monday afternoon after his team defeated Chinese Taipei 2-0 in the gold medal game on Sunday.
The baseball team started the tournament on a high note with a 10-0 cold game victory over Hong Kong on the first day. But the good vibes didn’t last long. The next day, the team suffered a shocking 0-4 loss against Chinese Taipei. It was Korea’s third straight loss to Chinese Taipei in international competition, following the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games and the 2019 WBSC Premier12.
Despite the shocking result, Korea had no problem advancing to the Super Round. Korea entered the Super Round with a 2-1 record, including a 17-0 fifth-inning blowout win over Thailand on March 3. However, their one loss, against Chinese Taipei, was a pretty big one. That’s because their group stage performance carried over into the Super Round. However, Korea swept Japan and China to reach the gold medal match, where they avenged their loss in a “revenge match” against the returning Chinese Taipei.
In the final, South Korea’s starter Moon Dong-joo shut down the Taiwanese bats, striking out seven in six innings of work. The bats got off to a good start, scoring two runs in the first inning against Lin Yi-min, the No. 4 prospect in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ prospect rankings, who struggled in the group stage.
After Moon Dong-ju did his job and left the mound, Choi Ji-min (1 inning), Park Young-hyun (1 inning), and Ko Woo-seok (1 inning) came on and shut the back door. With this victory, Korea completed the feat of winning four consecutive Asian Games titles. The team returned home via Incheon International Airport on the 8th. On that day, Incheon International Airport was packed with people as the baseball team, the soccer team, and the archery team returned home with gold medals.
How does it feel to come home with a gold medal? Coach Ryu Jung-il said, “The players suffered so much. “There was an age limit, and our strength was a little weak. The fans were worried about whether they could win the gold medal, but the athletes worked so hard that they were able to win the gold medal,” he said.
As with any competition, there were many twists and turns. There were many games where the team struggled as their offense was not as good as they expected, and there were many disappointing calls by the referees. “It was Kim Hye-sung and Moon Dong-joo for pitching,” Ryu said without hesitation when asked to name the MVPs.
“Hye-sung (Kim) didn’t play well before the final, but she did well in the final. She did so well that she is considered the best infielder in the KBO.” “As for Moon Dong-ju, he played the role of ‘ace’ instead of Kwak Bin. Personally, I think (Moon) Dong-ju will become an even better pitcher after this tournament,” he said with a thumbs-up.메이저놀이터
Coach Ryu Jung-il aimed for a “generation change” at the tournament, and the discoveries of Choi Ji-min (KIA), Park Young-hyun (KT) and Moon Dong-joo (Hanwha) were the biggest achievements of the Asian Games. But there were also disappointments. If Korea rests on its laurels, it could lose its competitive edge in future international competitions. This was evident in the matches against the Chinese Taipei and Japanese social teams.
Coach Ryu Jung-il said, “The level (of other countries) has gone up a lot. Japan is basically a good team, even for social baseball, and Taiwan has better pitching and defense than they did 10 years ago. I think we need to be careful in the future. We have good pitching,” he said, “but we need to be prepared. There are still a lot of fielding and base running errors in the KBO. I think we need to reduce them,” he cautioned.