“We’ll finish first in our group…the players are in better shape than they were at the Olympics,” says baseball coach Liu Zhong-il as Hangzhou steps into the ‘land of showdowns’

“We will do our best to finish first in our group. The coaches who went to the (Tokyo 2020) Olympics said, ‘The players are in much better shape than then.’”

Ryu Jung-il, head coach of the South Korean national baseball team, is confident after arriving in Hangzhou for the final.

The team arrived in Hangzhou via Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport on March 28.

Ryu Jung-il, head coach of the South Korean national baseball team, arrives in Hangzhou. Photo (Hangzhou, China)=Reporter Lee Yi-joo
The team will be looking to win their fourth consecutive Asian Games title in Hangzhou, having finished on top in Guangzhou 2010, Incheon 2014 and Jakarta-Palembang 2018.

The 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games will be crucial for Korea’s baseball team to regain its international competitiveness. After reaching the quarterfinals of the 2006 World Baseball Classic (WBC), winning a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and finishing runner-up at the 2009 WBC, South Korea’s baseball team has been on the rise since the mid-2000s.

After suffering first-round exits at both the 2013 and 2017 WBCs, the team finished fourth at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. The team then went into the 2023 WBC, which was held earlier this year, desperate, but they were also eliminated in the first round. Korea Baseball will be looking to rebound with this tournament.

Placed in Group B at the Hangzhou Asian Games, the Koreans will open the tournament on Oct. 1 against Hong Kong before facing Chinese Taipei on Oct. 2. The team will then play the winner of the preliminary round on Oct. 3 against Thailand, Laos, and Singapore.

The top two teams in the group advance to the Super Round. In Group A, Japan and China are the favorites to make it to the Super Round. The first and second place teams in the Super Round will meet in the gold medal match, while the bottom two teams will play for bronze.

“It’s October and it’s very hot,” said coach Ryu Jung-il on the ground in Hangzhou. It’s similar to the weather in Korea right now. I think the players will be able to adapt well,” he said, adding, “We will do our best to train well for the next two days so that we can finish first in the group.”

The baseball games will be played at the Xiaoxing Baseball and Softball Sports Center. Playing on an unfamiliar field is one of the key factors that could determine the team’s performance.

“(Xiaoxing Baseball Softball Sports Center) is an artificial turf,” Liu said. “It’s newly laid, so we expect the artificial turf to be a little longer. We also need to see the soil conditions. We’ll check it when we train tomorrow.”

Currently, the team is in very good shape. It was reported. “The coaches who went to the (Tokyo 2020) Olympics said, ‘The players are in much better shape than then,’” Ryu said. The pitchers seem to be in good shape,” he said with a bright smile.

In particular, Moon Dong-ju (Hanwha Eagles) and Kwak Bin (Doosan Bears) are expected to play an important role in the national team’s pitching staff.

“They’re the aces of the team,” says Ryu. We also have Park Se-woong (Lotte Giants), but I think one of them, Kwak-bin or Moon Dong-joo, will be the one to go against Taiwan (in the next round).”

“Among the infielders, Yoon Dong-hee (Lotte) is in the best shape. We will decide whether to put her in the second or sixth position through training.”

The national team played a scrimmage against Sangsung at the Gocheok Sky Dome on April 26. “I think the players who started the last game against Sangmu have more than an 80 percent chance of playing (in the starting lineup),” Ryu said.

For reference, the lineup was Kim Hye-sung (second baseman, Kiwoom Heroes), Choi Ji-hoon (center fielder, SSG Landers), Noh Si-hwan (third baseman, Hankook), Kang Baek-ho (designated hitter, KT Wiz), Moon Bo-kyung (first baseman, LG Twins), Kim Hyung-joon (catcher, NC Dinos), Park Sung-sung (shortstop, SSG), Choi Won-joon (right fielder, KIA Tigers), and Kim Sung-yoon (left fielder, Samsung Lions).

“We also did a lot of defense training,” Ryu said. We had pitchers and hitters from different teams, so each team’s signature plays and chemistry are different. That’s what we focused on.”메이저사이트

However, the lack of left-handed pitchers is a weakness of the team. Currently, Kim Young-gyu (NC) and Choi Ji-min (KIA Tigers) are the only left-handed pitchers on the national team’s mound.

Ryu said, “I’m going to use them after the sixth inning with one out or two batters. If it’s okay, we’ll use them for three batters.”

Meanwhile, the team will have its first official training session in Hangzhou on the 29th to prepare for the final.






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