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The Hangzhou Asian Games baseball team has won its fourth consecutive gold medal. But there are two players who never saw the field at the Asian Games. They are pitcher Kwak Bin and outfielder Choi Won Joon. Their teams, the Doosan Bears and Kia Tigers, are in the midst of a five-way tie for fifth place after missing two players due to injury.
The Korean team played the final game of the tournament against Chinese Taipei on October 7 at the Xiaoxing Baseball Stadium in Hangzhou, winning 2-0. It was the best result of the tournament, avenging a 0-4 group stage loss.
In the top of the second inning, Moon Bo-kyung led off with a double and was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. Kang Baek-ho grounded out to third, but Kim Joo-won’s sacrifice fly to left field scored the first run for Korea.
Kim then singled to left and Kim Sung-yoon doubled to put runners on second and third with one out before a wild pitch brought in a valuable insurance run. In the top of the second inning, they were fortunate that a strong rainstorm shook their starter Lin Yumin’s pitches.
After pitching a scoreless fifth inning, South Korean starter Moon Dong-ju roared back with back-to-back strikeouts in the bottom of the sixth, finishing with six innings of three-hit, seven-strikeout ball.
The Korean bench turned to its bullpen in the seventh inning. Choi Ji-min closed out the seventh inning and Park Young-hyun pitched a scoreless eighth inning to take another step toward gold.
Go Woo-seok took the mound in the bottom of the ninth, and after getting the leadoff hitter to ground out to first base, he gave up back-to-back hits. A home run would have been a shocking end to the game, but Ko induced the next batter into a dramatic double play to end the game.
There are also concerns about two players who didn’t see the field for the national team until the final game. Pitcher Kwak Bin and outfielder Choi Won-jun.
Both players have had injury issues. Kwak Bin suffered a bout of back bursitis just before the first game of the tournament’s qualifiers and was unable to make his planned start. Choi did not take the field until the final game after being hit in the calf by a teammate’s practice pitch on Sept. 27, the day before departing for the Asian Games.
Coincidentally, both Kwak Bin and Choi Won-jun are key players for Doosan and Kia, who are currently in the middle of a five-way race for the final spot. Doosan and Kia will have until next week to fight for a top-five spot. With just one point to show for their efforts, much of the attention will be on the health of both players. 메이저사이트
However, in the case of Choi Won-jun, it was reported that he was unable to move around after arriving in Hangzhou. He is expected to return to Korea for a full medical examination. The bad precedent of Na Sung-beom, who suffered a calf injury while on the 2023 WBC team, comes to mind. KIA head coach Kim Jong-guk sighed, saying, “I think Choi Won-joon will have to undergo a medical examination after returning to Korea. We need to check his calf condition for sure.”
Kwak Bin was also not able to make it to the mound in the final, raising concerns. Doosan head coach Lee Seung-yeop also expressed his frustration with Kwak-bin’s back problems. Doosan has the most games remaining.