The real one-two punch of the Hangzhou Asian Games baseball team led by coach Ryu Jung-il was Park Se-woong and Won Tae-in.
Ryu called Kwak Bin and Moon Dong Joo “the ace of our team,” and hoped that the one-two punch would work. Moon Dong-joo or Kwak Bin were weighed for the start against Chinese Taipei, the team’s biggest test for a fourth consecutive title.
In the end, Moon was selected to start against Chinese Taipei on Feb. 2 and pitched relatively well, allowing just two runs in four innings. However, the bats went silent, and Ko Woo-seok, the fifth pitcher in the eighth inning, gave up two more runs and suffered his first loss in the 0-4 loss. Kwok Bin did not take the mound until the second game of the Super Round due to a bout of gallbladder.
South Korea, which was swept by Chinese Taipei but swept Hong Kong and Thailand to finish second in Group B and advance to the Super Round, needed to beat Japan and China. Park Se-woong and Won Tae-in, two of the most experienced pitchers on the national team, were responsible for the two Super Round wins.
Park “Ace of Glasses” Se-woong started the first game of the Super Round against Japan. He faced runners on first and third in the first inning, but his crisis management skills kept him scoreless until the sixth inning. Behind Park’s perfect game, South Korea defeated Japan 2-0.
After the game, Park said, “We are two wins away from the title. I’m very happy to have helped the team win today. I don’t know if I’ll be able to play in the remaining games, but I’ll try to be an inspiration to the younger players in the dugout,” Park said after the win.
He added: “I feel like I’m coming out in important situations, like I did against the Czech Republic at the WBC, and that’s why they picked me to play such an important role. I want to give myself a lot of credit by playing a big role.”
China, hitherto the “fringe” of baseball, pulled off the upset with a 1-0 win over Japan on March 3 to take first place in Group A and advance to the Super Round. It was such an anomaly that China was on high alert.
Won Tae-in started against China on the 6th and showed his ace quality. He threw a six-inning no-hitter with a fastball that topped out at 152 kilometers per hour. He didn’t allow a single run and struck out six. The batting lineup, which had been sluggish, also got hot. Kim Joo-won and Kang Baek-ho pounded out a combined 16 hits, including a pair of home runs, to blast the Chinese mound. Korea went on to defeat China 8-1 and will face Taiwan in the final.
“I wanted to get revenge for not getting a good result against China in the first round of the WBC (March 13), giving up two runs on three hits with one walk and three strikeouts in one inning, so it was a must-win game and I took the mound with more responsibility than pressure,” Won said after the game.캡틴토토
“Beating Japan means they’re not a team to take lightly. I knew that their offense wasn’t very good, so I went into the game thinking that I could win if I didn’t let my guard down,” he said, adding, “My goal was to not give up a walk more than my speed, but I’m happy that I played a no-hitter.”
Park Se-woong and Won Tae-in won’t be able to pitch in the final. But they are ready to do whatever it takes to help their team win.
“The Asian Games is a competition for amateur athletes,” Park said. When I was in school, I threw one day and the next day. If the team can win, I will do my best to pitch according to the situation.” Won Tae-in said, “Tomorrow (July 7), I will cheer hard from the bench and make sure we win the gold medal.”