After winning the inaugural edition of the 2023 Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC), the Korean National Baseball Team is set for a fateful matchup against Japan.
The Korean baseball team, led by head coach Ryu Jung-il, will take on Japan on Sunday at 7 p.m. at the Tokyo Dome.
South Korea won the first game of the qualifier against Australia 3-2 on April 16, thanks to a walk-off hit by Noh Si-hwan (Hanwha Eagles) in the 10th inning of extra innings.
With the win, Korea moved one step closer to reaching the final. South Korea, Japan, Chinese Taipei and Australia compete in the tournament, which allows teams to field players under the age of 24 (born on or after Jan. 1, 1999) or in their third year of professional play, with the top two teams facing off in the final after qualifying in pool play.
With one win, South Korea can take the pressure off before facing off against Japan and Chinese Taipei, who are considered tough opponents.
South Korea hasn’t won a game against Japan outside of the Asian Games since beating the Japanese 4-3 in the 2015 WBSC Premier12 semifinals. Japan will field an Asian Games team made up of community baseball players. 온라인카지노 The only time Japan has sent professional players to a tournament, they have lost.
Most notably, they were humiliated in the first round of the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March of this year, going 4-13.
Despite the fact that the tournament will feature up-and-coming talent rather than the best of the best, Korea is determined to avenge the loss.
Japan is arguably the strongest team in the tournament.
The key will be to take advantage of the solid Japanese mound, and Korea will rely on No. 4 hitter Noh Si-hwan.
Noh, who batted fourth for South Korea at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games and helped the team win gold, was in fine form in the first game against Australia, going 3-for-5 with a walk and an RBI. He also hit a two-run double in the fifth inning.
Kim Joo-won, who started at shortstop in the ninth spot in the lineup, also went 2-for-3 with an RBI, including a game-tying single in the eighth inning after falling behind 1-2.
However, the batting lineup continued to struggle in Australia. Korea had eight hits and committed three errors, but were unable to capitalize on their chances.
With table-setters Kim Hye-sung (Kiwoom Heroes) and Choi Ji-hoon (SSG Landers) both silent with no hits, a change in the batting order is likely.
Lee Yi-ri (KIA Tigers) will be the starter.
Ryu has given the left-handed Lee a key role in the lineup against Korea, given the abundance of left-handed hitters in Japan.
Lee, who joined KIA in the first round of the 2021 draft, has pitched 131⅔ innings in 28 games this year in his third year as a professional, going 11-7 with a 3.96 ERA.
In his three professional seasons, Lee is 25-22 with a 3.83 ERA in 76 games.
Lee, the 2021 Rookie of the Year, was named to the final roster for this year’s Hangzhou Asian Games before pulling out a day before the call-up. He suffered from blisters on his fingers and was left off the roster due to poor physical condition.
For Lee, who was named to the APBC team, the Korea-Japan match will be a chance to shake off the disappointment of not being part of the gold medal team in Hangzhou.