“That’s not my style—“
The starting pitcher on the mound yelled and did an uppercut gesture as he escaped the jam with a strikeout. He then slapped the right palm of his jersey with the word “Korea” twice. The Korean National Baseball Team has a new young ace.
The South Korean baseball team, led by head coach Ryu Jung-il, defeated Chinese Taipei 2-0 in the final game of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games (AG) on Sunday at the Shaoxing Baseball and Softball Sports Center 1 near Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China. It was Korea’s fourth consecutive Asian Games title since Guangzhou 2010. The victory also avenged a 0-4 loss to Chinese Taipei in their Group B opener on Feb. 2 and snapped a three-game losing streak against the Chinese Taipei.
The Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the game was undoubtedly starting pitcher Moon Dong-ju. He tossed a six-inning, three-hit shutout with seven strikeouts.
Moon roared twice on the day. He got out of two bases-loaded jams with strikeouts.
In the bottom of the first inning, with the score tied at 0-0, Moon doubled off leadoff hitter Teng Zhong-zhi and then bunted to put runners on first and third, but he got Lin Li to ground into an infield single and Lin Anker, the fourth batter, to strike out on a check swing. Moon Dong-joo screamed and roared. It raised the momentum of the team.
Korea scored two runs in the top of the second on a sacrifice fly by Kim Joo-won (NC Dinos) and a wild pitch to take a 2-0 lead. Moon retired the side in order in the second, fourth, and fifth innings.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Moon gave up a leadoff double to Zheng Zhongjie, but retired the next two batters in order. Moon roared again, pounding his chest with an uppercut. Moon took over the mound in the seventh inning, and the bullpen pitched the remaining three scoreless innings to seal the win.
Moon made his senior international debut at the Asian Games. In his second appearance in a Taeguk-marked jersey, he took on a heavy burden and boldly expressed his emotions. “It came out of nowhere, and I didn’t think I would express myself like that,” he said in the post-game interview with head coach Ryu Jung-il, adding, “It’s not my usual style.”
Moon, who started the final game, added, “I think it was my body expressing my desperation.”
Four days earlier, Moon had fallen short of expectations with two runs in four innings against Chinese Taipei in the group stage. He said, “I think my mindset of not giving up runs was a bit lacking in the first game against Taiwan. In today’s (July 7) game, I was more determined,” he reflected.
“Before the Taiwan game, I was debating between Kwak Bin (Doosan Bears) and Moon Dong-ju, but I chose Moon Dong-ju because he was in much better shape,” Ryu said, praising Moon’s pitching.캡틴토토
“Thanks to the consideration of my team, Hanwha, I ended my season early and prepared for the tournament. I was not able to meet the expectations against Taiwan, but I thought I should thank the coach for trusting me again and repay him.” “Not only me, but all the players desperately wanted the gold medal, and I think that feeling was conveyed well and we won.”
Moon’s gold medal victory marked the arrival of the next generation of Korean national ace.