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ea won 6-1 in the final game of the APBC preliminary round against Chinese Taipei held at Tokyo Dome in Japan on the 18th, confirming their advancement to the finals for the second time in a row. As a result, Korea will compete for the championship with Japan, the defending champion, who reached the finals first, at the same venue at 6 p.m. on the 19th. In the first competition held in 2017, Japan won and Korea took second place.
National team coach Ryu Joong-il announced Kwak Bin as the starting pitcher for the finals and expressed his belief, saying, "Kwak Bin is Korea's right-handed ace. He was unable to pitch at the Hangzhou Asian Games due to phlegm, but we are expecting good pitching in the finals of this tournament." In fact, Kwak Bin showed the best condition among the national team pitchers in bullpen pitching after arriving in Tokyo. This is why Manager Ryu and pitching coach Choi Il-eon, who were planning the starting rotation, decided to send Kwak Bin to the last game.
Kwak Bin said, “It felt really good in the bullpen, but it may be different in the actual game. I think I will know only when I throw the ball in the finals.” He added, “I looked closely at the analysis table of Japanese hitters and watched a lot of videos, and he was definitely good. From number 1. He did not let down his guard, saying, “I play well all the way up to number 9.”
He also said, "Of course it would be good if I pitched well with good records, but in reality, aren't all Japanese batters great players? So I try to pitch with the mindset of 'I'll try to push myself to my limit.' If it doesn't go well, I'll work hard again and try again, and if I do well, I'll try again." "I will work harder with those good memories. The burden on my shoulders is very heavy, but I will do my best," he said repeatedly.
The Japanese starting pitcher who will face off against Kwak Bin is Tatsuya Imai (Seibu Lions). The right-handed pitcher recorded 10 wins, 5 losses, and an ERA of 2.30 in 19 Japanese professional baseball games this season. He throws a fast ball with a maximum speed of 159 km/h, a change-up, a slider, and a curve. He is evaluated as one step better than Jihiro Sumida, who pitched well in the preliminary round against Korea on the 17th.
Coach Ryu also said, "Imai is the best pitcher on the Japanese national team. I've watched a lot of videos of him, and he throws fast balls and has good control of breaking balls. I think we need to think about our strategy, and I'm curious about how our batters will respond."
Kwak Bin, who faced a difficult opponent, said, "During the last WBC, I didn't pitch very well at Tokyo Dome (3 runs in 2 innings). This time, I want to pitch well and be recognized as a player who can work on the international stage." He added, "I can't win if I'm good alone. "No, but the team atmosphere is very good. We all had a good experience (winning a gold medal) at the Asian Games, so I hope we can rely on that energy and play a good game together to win," he said.
Sunday, November 19, 2023