“I feel so sorry for my players.”
That’s what Kang Baek-ho (KT Wiz) said when asked what motivated him to get his first hit in 11 at-bats at the Hangzhou Asian Games (AG). It’s also an answer that reflects his heartache.
Ryu Joong-il’s team clinched a spot in the Super Round with a 17-0, five-inning shutout win over Thailand in the third game of their Group B opener on Wednesday at the Baseball and Softball Sports Center 2 in Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province, China.
But no one was smiling. A 0-4 shutout loss to Chinese Taipei the previous day (Feb. 2) had made their quest for a fourth consecutive title a tough one.
In baseball, the top two teams in Groups A and B advance to the Super Round based on their group standings. South Korea lost 0-4 against Chinese Taipei on Sunday in what was effectively the deciding game of the group, putting their gold medal hopes in jeopardy. In baseball, the first- and second-place finishers in Pools A and B will advance to the super rounds based on their pool results. Given the strength of Group B, Taiwan and South Korea are the favorites to advance to the Super Round. Teams will not face their group opponents in the Super Rounds. If South Korea loses to Japan, the favorite to finish first in Group A, it would be virtually impossible for them to reach the final with a 1-2 record, even if they win their remaining game.
Kang Baek-ho feels the responsibility. He batted fourth in the lineup against Hong Kong (10-0, 8th inning cold game) and against Chinese Taipei (2-1), going hitless in eight at-bats. “I batted fourth, but I feel like I put a lot of pressure on the younger players, so I’m sorry,” he said. “I think they were worried about me a lot, and they gave me feedback (to get out of the no-hitter).”
Kang Baek-ho, who was dropped to the sixth spot in the order against Thailand on Wednesday, recorded his first hit of the tournament with a bases-loaded double in the bottom of the fourth inning, when the score was 10-0. “I got a lot of support from my teammates and local Korean fans,” he said.
Kang Baek-ho (KT Wiz), who has been called a “genius hitter” since he joined the team and won the Rookie of the Year award, is making his fourth appearance with the national team, but he has far more painful and difficult memories than happy ones. The gum controversy at Tokyo 2020. In the midst of a 6-10 defeat in the bronze medal game against the Dominican Republic, he was caught up in an attitude controversy for chewing gum in the dugout. In March of this year, while celebrating after hitting a double in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) against Australia, his foot momentarily dropped and he was tagged out by the opposing second baseman. The out was widely criticized, and the team lost the game and failed to advance to the second round. Kang apologized once again.스포츠토토
Kang Baek-ho’s struggles this season had led to some criticism of his inclusion in the national team, and his two-game hitting streak had caused him to feel “pain”.
He said, “There is always a different sense of responsibility in international tournaments after wearing the Korean flag. This time, I’m not the youngest, but the main player, so I have a little more weight,” he said. “I also cheered a lot from the bench. We tried our best in every moment, but we were disappointed with the result,” he said. “We have to make it to the final. No matter who we play, we will be smiling at the end.”