It almost felt like a tease. So they were more focused.
The Hangzhou Asian Games baseball team, led by head coach Ryu Jung-il, secured a 2-0 victory in an exhibition game against Sangmu at the Gocheok Sky Dome on June 26.
Right-hander Moon Dong-joo (Hanwha) got the start for Sangmu. He was in excellent form, throwing three innings of two-hit ball with five strikeouts and no walks, totaling 40 pitches. His fastball reached 154 kilometers per hour.
She pitched as expected. In the first inning, he struck out Kim Hye-sung (Kiwoom), Choi Ji-hoon (SSG), and Noh Si-hwan (Hanwha) in succession. He only needed 15 pitches to end the inning. He threw six pitches to Kim Hye-sung, six to Choi Ji-hoon, and three to Noh Si-hwan.
In the bottom of the second, he got leadoff hitter Kang Baek-ho (KT) to fly out to center field. Moon Bo-kyung (LG) followed with a single to left. It was the first hit of the game. He then struck out Kim Hyung-jun (NC) and got Park Sung-sung (SSG) to ground out to shortstop to keep the tying run out of scoring position.
In the bottom of the third, Moon gave up a double to left-center to Choi Won-jun (KIA). Kim Sung-yoon (Samsung) followed with a swinging strikeout to load the bases. He then got Kim Hye-sung to fly out to left field and Choi Ji-hoon to ground out to second.
Moon Dong-ju said, “Honestly, I thought I shouldn’t have pitched when I was well rested. The club took good care of me, so I was able to throw with a little more focus,” he said.
He had the unique experience of facing Noh Si-hwan, a senior member of the team, as an opposing batter. Noh is the league’s leading third baseman and home run hitter. Moon shut him down with a three-pitch strikeout. “I was lucky,” he laughed, “because if (Noh) had hit my brother, he would have made fun of me the whole time, so I pitched more focused on him.”
The feeling after pitching was good. “It’s been a long time since I’ve pitched in an actual game, so I felt like I was playing a ‘real game’ and I was in great shape,” Moon said, adding, “I was more focused because I was facing the national team. It went as well as I wanted,” he smiled.
“I especially liked the feel of my changeup, it was my first game with the new ball and I think it went well,” he said. “I knew I wasn’t going to give up any runs, so I said to myself, ‘Let’s just throw three good innings and get out of there,'” he added.
“I didn’t realize it was that high, so I think I came back well-rested,” he said of his 154 mph fastball. I’m happy with that.”
Ryu Joong-il is considering Moon Dong-ju along with Kwak Bin (Doosan) and Park Se-woong (Lotte) as possible starters against Taiwan in what could be a watershed match. In Group B, South Korea will face Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei. They will then play one of the qualifiers from Thailand, Laos, or Singapore. Topping the group is crucial for a smooth transition to the next stage, the Super Round. Everyone is focused on the match against the tough Chinese Taipei.
“We don’t know who will play (against Chinese Taipei), but we have to prepare well for every game. It’s a short game, so we don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said, adding, “We’ll think of all the possibilities and prepare for them.”
He also shared his thoughts on watching the pitching of Jang Hyun-seok (Masan Yongmago), the youngest member of the national team. The hard-throwing pitcher touched 154 kilometers per hour with his fastball on the day. He struck out two and walked none in one inning. Moon Dong-ju said, “I was surprised. It was the first time I saw him throw, and his changeup was so good. Everything was good,” and gave him a thumbs-up.스포츠토토
Jang Hyun-seok is also following Moon’s lead. “He gives me a lot of compliments. We talk a lot and are always together. I like him,” he smiled.
Moon will be making his senior national team debut at the Asian Games. He has been a professional for two years. He joined Hanwha in the first round last year. He played both middle and starting roles, going 1-3 with a 5.65 ERA in 13 games (four starts) and 28⅔ innings pitched. This year, he was a regular in the starting rotation. In 23 games and 118⅔ innings, he is 8-8 with a 3.72 ERA.
Hanwha limited Moon to 120 innings pitched this season to manage him, and he was removed from the first team roster on May 5. Moon has been working his way up the schedule with the second-team Futures team, making the national team after two scoreless innings against LG Electronics in the Futures League on April 12 and three scoreless innings against Goyang on April 17. He hopes to make his mark on the international stage.