The 30-member entry list for the World Baseball Classic (WBC) Korean national team led by coach Lee Kang-cheol has been announced. If the players’ medical issues do not occur, it is in fact a confirmed list.
KT has 4 people aboard the WBC Lee Kang-cheol, including local one-two punch Koh Young-pyo (32) and Sohn So-jun (22), “home run king” Park Byung-ho (37), and leading hitter Kang Baek-ho (24). Moreover, the ‘young ace’ Hyung-Jun Soh has the weight on his shoulders because he was the first to wear the Taegeuk mark. Can the 4 wizard corps, who led KT’s advance into the postseason in the 2022 season, show ‘Steel Magic’ at this WBC?
From some time ago, the tag of ‘crisis’ has been following Korean baseball. This is because of the poor performance in the world competitions in recent years. Looking at the WBC alone, the first tournament, the 2006 WBC semifinals and the 2009 WBC runner-up, announced the excellence of Korean baseball. However, at the WBC in 2013 and 2017, he lost his pride by suffering the agony of being eliminated in the qualifying round for two consecutive tournaments. As the popularity of domestic baseball declined, there was talk of a ‘crisis’.
Therefore, this WBC is a good opportunity to restore the reputation and increase the popularity of Korean baseball again. Was it like that? At the public meeting of the 30-man list of the WBC national team held the day before, coach Lee Kang-cheol said, “Everyone says it is a crisis, but I think a crisis is an opportunity. As I have been given an important position to prepare for the WBC, I will always prepare well with a positive mindset and repay you with grades that all the people can understand.”
Director Lee, the coaching staff, and the technical committee put their heads together and after careful deliberation, four of KT’s core resources were selected among the most elite members.
What stands out is Joon Sohn, born in 2001, who was selected for the first adult national team in his life and wore the Taegeuk mark. He won the KBO Rookie of the Year in the 2020 season, and last season, he threw 171.1 innings, the most since his debut, with a record of 13 wins and 6 losses with an earned run average of 3.05. Joon Sohn said, “As much as I have the proud Taegeuk mark on my chest, I will prepare well for the WBC with a sense of responsibility. I will do my best to repay the trust of the director and fans who chose me.”
Sidearm Koh Young-pyo, who represents the KBO League, played an active part with an average ERA of 3.26 with 13 wins and 8 losses in 28 games last season. In particular, Koh Young-pyo made a strong impression by starting against Japan in the semifinals of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, throwing 6 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts and 2 runs in 5 innings. Even though Korea lost 2-5, Koh Young-pyo did his part enough, so he is a strong starting candidate for this WBC. 토토
Currently, So Joon So and Young Pyo Ko are preparing for the WBC while training at the Miami Training Center in Florida, USA with the help of Audrey Samer Despine (36), a former KT colleague.
In addition, Park Byeong-ho, the “home run king,” who is recovering from a ligament rupture in his right ankle in September of last year, was named to the 30-man list of the WBC national team. Last season, when the bad news for KT players overlapped and shook them, they centered the team and led them to the postseason. He hit 35 home runs last season and became the “Home Run King” for the first time in three years since 2019. Director Lee explained the background of Park Byung-ho’s selection, saying, “Since the Tokyo Dome, where the first round of the WBC finals will be held, is small, we can expect a big win.”
Kang Baek-ho, the leading hitter of KT, also joined. Last year, he took a long break due to an injury before the season and played only 62 games, showing a disappointing performance with a batting average of 0.245, 6 homers and 29 RBIs. Kang Baek-ho said, “It is an honor to be selected for the WBC team. I will do my best to show a good image by preparing well without injury. In addition, I will take pride as a national representative and have a mindset that matches that.