Korea’s Under-24 baseball team, led by head coach Lee Jung-myung, lost 2-5 in the second game of the Super Round against Japan at Taipei Dome on Monday (KST).
After Lee Byung-heon gave up two runs in three innings, Woo Kang-hoon took over on the mound and gave up two more runs. They scored a run in the fifth inning, and Kim Bum-seok hit a solo shot in the top of the eighth inning, the first home run in the Taipei Dome, but they lost the game by three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning.
South Korea, which entered the Super Round with one loss after losing its first game of the preliminary round against Chinese Taipei, dropped to third place with a 1-2 record, behind Japan (3-1) and Chinese Taipei (2-1). South Korea ended the tournament in third place with a 7-0 victory over the Philippines in the third place match on Tuesday.토토사이트
For the tournament, Korea fielded a professional Under-24 and collegiate squad under head coach Shin Dong-myung, many of whom did not get a chance to play at the Hangzhou Asian Games or the Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) in the same Under-24 category. The roster was focused on gaining international experience. It was different from Japan, which had a squad made up of players from the social leagues that played a major role in the Asian Games, and Taiwan, which had a top-notch squad with home-field advantage as it was the opening tournament of the Taipei Dome.
However, it was more the fundamentals than the results that were disappointing in this tournament.
Korea’s defense was shaky throughout the tournament. Not only against strong teams like Japan and Chinese Taipei, but also against teams that were considered to be one step below them. From the preliminary round to the Super Round against Japan, Korea made one mistake per game in five matches. The fact that the mistakes came against teams without a professional league, such as Hong Kong, Palestine, and the Philippines, cannot be explained by the excuse that the team simply did not have enough time to settle down in the short term. Only the third-place game against the Philippines was error-free.
Japan and Chinese Taipei were not without errors either. However, Chinese Taipei only had two errors in the Super Round against Japan (a 0-1 loss), and Japan only had one in the first game of the preliminary round against Pakistan (a 14-0 7th inning win). Korea didn’t commit errors in every game.
Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the lack of fundamentals in Korean ama-ayage. Managers and coaches are focusing on managing instead of teaching, and players are rushing to learn practical skills at private baseball academies instead of at school. As an Ama Baseball official put it, “When it’s not enough to learn the basics, we sometimes focus on who can throw the fastest ball and hit the most home runs. Even when they give up a hit, they are concerned about the speed of the pitch, not the pitcher, and there are many players who are only looking for a single hit, not a team hit.” In the end, the problem with amateur baseball is that it leads to a decline in the quality of professional baseball players and the investment of time and money to retrain them in the basics by the professional teams that draft them. The disappointing results of the Under-24 tournament should be taken with a grain of salt.
International underachievement is nothing new. Japan, once considered the “nemesis,” is getting further and further away, while Taiwan, once dismissed as “one step below,” is closing in on them with unstoppable growth.
At this rate, Korean baseball may soon be aiming to become one of Asia’s top three. It’s time to pay attention.