“We shouldn’t be satisfied,” said Ryu Jung-il, the manager of the South Korean national team after leading them to a runner-up finish at the Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) 2023.
“There are some things our players did well, but (objectively) they were no match for the Japanese,” Ryu told reporters after returning home through Gimpo Airport on Tuesday.
South Korea advanced to the final with a 2-1 qualifying record before falling to Japan 3-4 in an upset. Their one qualifying loss was also to Japan, 1-2.
Ryu emphasized that even though it was a one-point game, the individual capabilities of the Korean team were far inferior to the Japanese players.
“Even though we have similar body types, I was thinking, ‘Why do they throw the ball at 145 kilometers per hour and it looks like 150 kilometers per hour, and we throw at 150 kilometers per hour and the ball never ends,'” he confessed.
He mentioned the need to benchmark Japanese baseball training methods, which emphasize flexibility.
“Restraint is not strength but flexibility, and Japan does a lot of weight training to develop pelvic and shoulder rotation,” Ryu said, “I hope our players will open their eyes to that and train a lot.”
In particular, he singled out Jung Hae-young (KIA Tigers), who played the final game of the tournament, and scolded him, saying, “There was little difference in his skills from before. I feel like I’m throwing with my arm, not my flexibility,” he affectionately reprimanded.
In the batting lineup, Ryu said that they lacked the resources to form a “cleanup trio” with No. 4 hitter Noh Shi-hwan (Hanwha Eagles).
“If you have a player like Lee Jeong-hoo, he’s perfect for the No. 3 spot,” Liu said, adding, “I think we need to keep an eye on the center field.”
Liu also expressed his belief that the team should play as many young players as possible in its next international tournament, the Premier 12 next November.
The APBC is limited to players who are “24 years old or younger or in their third year of professional play,” except for wildcards.
“There is no age limit for the Premier 12, so we should select the best players from the KBO, but even so, I think we should focus on younger players,” Ryu said, adding, “We should look ahead to the 2028 Olympics.” 토토사이트