Everyone says it’s a happy problem, but we were more disappointed. As if on cue, two outstanding prospects came out of Gwangju….”
Cho Kye-hyun (59), the KBO’s power enhancement committee chairman, expressed deep disappointment when he selected Kim Do-young (20-KIA) with the first pick two years ago when he was manager of the KIA Tigers. He regretted not being able to select Moon Dong-ju (20-Hanwha Eagles), another top prospect from Gwangju, at the same time. KIA’s unfulfilled dream became a reality at the 2023 Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC), and the results were impressive.토토사이트
The Korean National Baseball Team, led by head coach Ryu Jung-il, defeated Australia 3-2 in the first pool game of the 2023 Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) qualifiers at the Tokyo Dome in Japan on Saturday. The win takes the pressure off Korea’s path to the final on Sept. 19, when only the top two teams will advance. South Korea will face Japan on Sunday and Chinese Taipei on Monday to advance to the final.
It was a hard-fought game that was tied until the top of the eighth inning before coming back to win in extra innings. Moon Dong-joo pitched 5⅔ innings, allowing two runs on five hits (one home run) with four walks and five strikeouts, but the bats didn’t help.
An integral part of the comeback was third baseman Kim Do-young’s ball-handling performance. It all started in the bottom of the eighth inning when South Korea trailed 1-2. Kim led off with a double to left field after a seven-pitch at-bat. He advanced to third on Kim Hyung-joon’s grounder to shortstop and continued to grate on the pitcher’s nerves by pretending to steal to extend his lead. It was a planned move that was approved by head coach Ryu Ji-hyun. The distracted Australian pitcher, Daniel McGrath, eventually gave up the game-winning hit to Kim Joo-won (NC Dinos) in the right-center field corner.
“It was a play to shake up the pitcher,” said Kim in the postgame mix zone. Coach Ryu Ji-hyun also told me to try it once, but I could see the pitcher shaking, so I kept trying.”
Kim Do-young celebrates after hitting a two-run double in the eighth inning of the 2023 APBC qualifying baseball game against Australia at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan, on Saturday.
Kim Do-young was hit in the face with runners on first and second base in the bottom of the 10th inning of the first game of the 2023 APBC Qualifier against Australia at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan, on Saturday. However, she immediately connected on a double play to end the inning.
In the extra innings, with the score tied at 2-2, he made an impressive defensive play. In the top of the 10th inning, Kim was hit in the face by a Christopher Burke pitch with runners on first and second. The ball dropped and confused the Australian runners, but Kim remained calm. He stepped on third base and threw to second for the out to end the inning. The momentum carried over into the bottom of the 10th inning, when Noh Si-hwan hit a single to left field to seal the win for South Korea.
Kim Do-young said, “I feel like I’m really going to be the one. I think it was a game we were going to win somehow. The players were all happy (in the dugout). I got hit by the ball, but it was an in-play situation, so I just thought about the next play. It was good that I sacrificed my body and made the play,” he smiled.
Kim made two super plays late in the game, but before that, she was nervous. The unfamiliarity of the Tokyo Dome for her first senior national team debut led to her first three at-bats of grounder, strikeout, and strikeout. Two of the strikeouts came with runners in scoring position, which was disheartening.
However, it was his teammate Moon Dong-joo, who eased his nerves. “Because I kept failing to hit, (Moon) told me to smile and said, ‘Let’s go eat later,’ and I think I relaxed a little bit from there,” Kim said, adding, “I definitely felt more relaxed with him on the mound, and I think I calmed down because he kept talking to me.”
Moon Dong-ju on the mound, Kim Do-young behind him. It was a picture KIA dreamed of two years ago. The 2022 KBO Rookie Draft, in which they made their professional selections, was the last time the first-round pick system was implemented. At the time, Moon Dong-joo of Gwangju Jeonghwa and Kim Do-young of Gwangju Dongseong were the top prospects not only in Gwangju but across the country. It was clear that one of them would be selected by another team with the national pick, so KIA, which had priority, had to choose only one at the time.
Concerned about the lack of infield depth at the time, KIA chose Kim Do-young, while Moon Dong-joo was headed to Hanwha. “Both Kim Do-young and Moon Dong-joo have good character and a strong desire to come to KIA, so we were forced to deepen our worries,” said Cho Gye-hyun, the head of the KBO’s Power Enhancement Committee. “We wanted to keep both outstanding prospects from Gwangju, but we were in a position to let one go, so our worries were prolonged,” he said.
The Australian game was a stage where KIA’s disappointment two years ago could be understood. After a year of adjustment, the two players quickly became mainstays in their respective teams and developed into players who will lead the Korean national team in the future. Moon Dong-ju was the de facto Rookie of the Year after going 8-8 with a 3.72 ERA and 95 strikeouts in 118⅔ innings in 23 regular-season games. At the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, he pitched six innings of three-hit ball in the final against Chinese Taipei, striking out seven and walking none to lead South Korea to a gold medal and its fourth straight title at the tournament. Kim Do-young has also become an integral part of the Kia organization, batting .303 with six home runs, 47 RBIs, 72 runs scored, 25 doubles and an OPS of .824 in 84 games despite a two-month injury layoff.
The game capped off a long 2023 season for Moon. “It wasn’t easy, but I think I did a good job, and I actually had a strong desire to finish the sixth inning and come down today (Nov. 16), but it was a little disappointing, but I did a good job and the team won, so it’s okay,” Moon said after the game.
“It would have been bad if I hit well in the first half and then didn’t hit well in the second half, but I started to see the ball better in the second half, so that was positive. I’m going to try to take it a little easier tomorrow (Nov. 17),” Kim said.