Kang Baek-ho (25, KT) broke his silence.
The Korean national baseball team defeated Thailand 17-0 and won a cold game in the 5th inning in the final game of Group B of the ‘2022 Hangzhou Asian Games’ held at Stadium 2 of Shaoxing Baseball and Softball Sports Center in Zhejiang, China on the 3rd.
Against Thailand, the weakest team, starter Na Kyun-an pitched well (4 hits, 9 strikeouts, no runs in 4 innings), while Dong-hee Yoon had 2 hits and 3 RBIs in 3 at-bats, Ji-hoon Choi had 1 hit and 4 RBIs in 2 at-bats, and Si-hwan Noh had 2 hits and 2 RBIs in 2 at-bats.
Kang Baek-ho’s long-awaited first hit in the Asian Games also came on this day. Kang Baek-ho, who retired with a strikeout and a fly ball in the match against Thailand, hit a timely hit with two RBIs past the second baseman in his third at-bat and last at-bat of the day in the bottom of the fourth inning when he had a chance to hit second and third base with no outs. This is Kang Baek-ho’s first hit and first RBI in this tournament.
Although it was the first hit and RBI against Thailand, where the mound was low, it had a lot of meaning to Kang Baek-ho, who had been silent. Kang Baek-ho appeared as the number 4 hitter in both of the previous two games, but did not get a single hit. In the game against Hong Kong on the 1st, he went 0-for-4 and struck out 3 without being able to attack the opposing pitcher’s slow ball. Even in the very important game against Taiwan, he came out as the number 4 hitter, but was disappointed, going 0 hits in 4 at-bats and striking out 1.
Manager Ryu Joong-il, who was observing a severe slump in batting, lowered Kang Baek-ho to number 6 instead of number 4 in the match against Thailand to ease the burden. Noh Si-hwan, who hit a double in the match against Taiwan, was placed in number 4.
After winning the cold game against Thailand, Kang Baek-ho said, “I felt sorry for the players. “I think I put a big burden on the young players by not being able to play the role of the number 4 hitter,” he said. “I was lucky to get a timely hit in my last at-bat.” “I will use this as an opportunity to work hard to help the team in more important games.”
Kang Baek-ho, who won the Rookie of the Year award in 2018 and was also called a ‘baseball genius’, was at the center of controversy as he was put in strange situations such as the ‘gum scandal’ and ‘outrageous baserunning’ when he joined the national team. It’s not that his grades were bad, but as he was repeatedly embroiled in controversy, he lost confidence as he was criticized.
His impact was also felt in the KBO league this season. Kang Baek-ho, who received strong criticism from baseball fans due to the ‘Arirang throw’ controversy, was left out of the first team lineup last June due to a cold and accumulated fatigue. On the surface, the reason was said to be his physical condition, but his state of mind was complicated.
However, he came to life by showing off his fiery bat ahead of the opening of the Asian Games. As such, expectations placed on Kang Baek-ho at the Asian Games have also grown. It is the 6th year since his professional debut and he is a central player of the national team. There are far more juniors than seniors, and with ‘MVP’ Lee Jeong-hoo missing, Kang Baek-ho’s responsibility and role have grown. Considering the expectations, it is difficult to present Kang Baek-ho’s current report card.
As Kang Baek-ho said, really important games are waiting. With the prevailing assessment of “gold medal or failure,” the Korean national baseball team was in a difficult situation where it could not guarantee its own advancement to the finals even if it defeated China and Japan in the super round.
The situation is even more chaotic due to an upset in which China beat Japan 1-0 in the group stage. This is because China, who was considered a natural opponent to win the Super Round, has tremendous power. In a situation where the burden has increased due to the defeat in the match against Taiwan, it seems that they have had to shoulder another unexpected burden.
Victory against China cannot be guaranteed, and메이저놀이터 if Taiwan ends up losing to China or Japan in the Super Round, Korea will be in a situation where it will have to consider the number of complicated cases even if it wins both Japan and China. Therefore, in the super round, you must score as many points as possible and minimize the number of goals conceded to have any hope of making the finals.
Korea, Japan, and Taiwan each recorded 2 wins and 1 loss in the super round of the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Tournament, and the joys and sorrows were mixed due to ‘TQB (Team Quality Balance)’, which is the difference in goals and losses. Due to Young Bong’s defeat in the match against Taiwan, it is a moment when a huge victory that is more than just a thrilling victory is desperately needed. This is a time when the role of central hitters like Kang Baek-ho is so desperately needed.
A baseball official who is well aware of the national team’s situation says, “Kang Baek-ho must roar to revive the team atmosphere.” Attention is being paid to whether Kang Baek-ho can swing the bat and save the Korean national baseball team from crisis.