Park started at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March against the Czech Republic, allowing just one hit and striking out eight in 4⅔ innings. The win was invaluable for the South Korean team, which was on the verge of losing two games to Australia and Japan.
Park was again called up to the national team. Park was called up to the squad for the Asian Games in Hangzhou in October as a wild card player and played a key role in South Korea’s run to the final, pitching six innings of two-hit ball with nine strikeouts and no walks in the super round against Japan. In the final, South Korea defeated Chinese Taipei to win the gold medal, allowing Park to focus on his baseball career while he completed his military service. Had South Korea not won the gold medal, he would have been forced to join the army after the season.굿모닝토토 도메인
However, this did not mean that he neglected his team. Park showed the true colors of a homegrown standout this year, pitching 154 innings in 27 games while posting a 9-7 record and a 3.45 ERA.
With the appointment of manager Kim Tae-hyung, known as the “Winning Coach”, Lotte is now turning over a new leaf. Manager Kim Tae-hyung said of Park Se-woong, “He is a player who can be said to be an ace apart from the current foreign pitchers,” and expressed his expectations, “He should definitely be proud of being an ace, and there will be no nervousness or impatience because the military issue has been resolved, so I think he will definitely perform better than now.”
Park Se-woong said of being recognized as a “homegrown” by coach Kim Tae-hyung, “If the coach says that, I have to reciprocate what he expects. That’s the only way we can continue to build confidence,” he said, adding: “I will prepare well and perform well.”
It seems that he will have to focus on “recovery” for the rest of the year as he has played two international tournaments and a full-time regular season this year. Park Se-woong also said, “I think I need to pay more attention. I think I have to take care of myself a little bit more because I started early with the WBC this year,” he said.
Park, who signed a multi-year contract with Lotte for up to 9 billion won ($9 million) for five years in October last year, was widely expected to add new wings to his baseball career now that he has overcome his military problems. However, Park Se-woong said, “Everyone says that I will play baseball with a relaxed mind because my military problems are solved, but I don’t think I will actually go to the mound with a relaxed mind because I was able to focus on baseball,” adding, “The new manager is here and I will prepare well accordingly. I will go to the mound with the mindset of being responsible for the game,” he said, adding that he will only take on more responsibility as an ace.
Lotte is expected to build a solid starting pitching staff next year, as the Aaron Wilkerson-Charlie Barnes foreign double has shown some stability this year and Na Kyun-ahn has the potential to develop into a homegrown ace alongside Park Se-woong. And Park Se-woong is at the center of it all.