“We have two wins left, and we will prepare to go home with both of them.”
Park Se-woong (27), the eldest member of the national team, said this after Korea’s 2-0 victory over Japan in the Baseball Super Round of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games at the Shaoxing Baseball and Softball Center on Friday. His determination to win was evident in his eyes behind his trademark glasses.
Park started the game and shut down the Japanese bats, striking out nine and walking two in six innings.
He was one of the main contributors to the victory over Japan, as he was able to keep the bats in check even when the offense was struggling to score runs.
There was some pressure. Park Se-woong had been called upon in the fifth inning against Chinese Taipei on the second day of qualifying.
He gave up the go-ahead run and didn’t even make it through the first inning.
South Korea lost 0-4 to Chinese Taipei, making the Korea-Japan game a must-win for their gold medal hopes.
In such a critical situation, Ryu Jung-il once again pulled out the Park Se-woong card.
“Yesterday, I jokingly said, ‘Why do I always play in important situations,'” Park laughed, “but I think they picked me to play such an important role.
I want to give myself a lot of credit for trying my best and doing my part.” “I knew the Japanese pitchers were good, so I thought it was going to be a one- or two-run game,” he said, somewhat elated after getting out of the first inning with runners on first and third, “and I think that’s why there was so much action.”
While the mound held the Japanese bats in check, the frustrated Korean bats began to open up. Although a combination of stolen bases and a strikeout by catcher Noh Si-hwan prevented a run from scoring, the Koreans put runners on first and third with no outs in the bottom of the fourth inning and increasingly threatened Japan.
Japan’s starting pitcher Shuichiro Kyo, a former Social Baseball Most Valuable Player (MVP) who pitched 5⅔ innings with eight strikeouts, four hits, three walks and one run, began to falter.
The first run came in the sixth inning. Kim Hye-sung led off the bottom of the sixth with a cool double, and Choi Ji-hoon followed with a sacrifice bunt.
Yoon Dong-hee followed with a walk to put runners on first and third, and Korea scored its first run on a sacrifice fly by Noh Si-hwan. Korea added a run in the bottom of the eighth when Noh singled with runners on first and second.
With the game on the line, Japan fought back in the top of the ninth with runners on first and third. 바카라사이트
However, Park Young-hyun, who pitched the eighth inning, struck out two runners at once to end the game.
“We have two pitchers, Park Young-hyun and Ko Woo-seok, as closers, so we’ll see how things go,” Ryu said afterward.
South Korea, which entered the Super Round with one loss after losing to Chinese Taipei, kept its hopes alive with a 1-1 record.
They will now try to get back to winning ways on Saturday against China. It’s a must-win game for the gold medal.
This time around, the top two finishers from the four Super Round teams (Korea, Chinese Taipei, Japan, and China) will advance to the gold medal game.
“Chinese baseball has improved a lot,” said Liu Zhong-il, “especially their catchers. We don’t know what to expect, so we will definitely beat China.”