Kim Hye-sung (24, Kiwoom Heroes) is at the forefront of a generational change in Korean baseball this year.
A backup member of the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC), she captained the team at the Asian Games in Hangzhou in October and again at the Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) this month.
He was the centerpiece of both tournaments, which featured prospects in their early to mid-20s, on and off the field.
Eligibility for the Asian Games was limited to players aged 25 and under or in their fourth year of professional competition, while the APBC was limited to players aged 24 and under or in their third year of professional competition.
Ryu Joong-il, who has led the team to four consecutive Asian Games titles, put his faith in Kim Hye-sung for fulfilling her captaincy duties.
With the upper age limit one year lower than at the Asian Games and only Choi Ji-hoon (26-SSG Landers) in the 29-and-under wild card, which allows for three players per team, the captain’s leadership will be needed even more.
The APBC team departed from Gimpo Airport at 9 a.m. and arrived in Tokyo, Japan, at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
“We gained a lot of confidence in Hangzhou,” Kim Hye-sung told reporters, adding, “We will not be complacent and will perform well this time.”
She also expressed her excitement for her first visit to the Tokyo Dome in nine months after the WBC.
“It’s a big, nice ballpark, so playing in a noisy atmosphere will increase my concentration,” Kim said. “It’s my first time playing as a starter in the Tokyo Dome, so I want to do well.”
When asked about the atmosphere of the team, she said, “We are all young and the atmosphere is very good. I want to continue the good atmosphere with good results.”
Unlike the Asian Games, where the team only trained for four days, this time they had eight days of training before departure, giving them more time to bond as a team.
“We were able to stay together longer than in Hangzhou, so we were able to practice teamwork,” Kim said, adding, “It was cold, but we prepared well.”
The APBC is a four-nation tournament involving Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Australia. The team will compete in the qualifying rounds against Australia, Japan and Chinese Taipei from the 16th, followed by the final or third place match on the 19th. 카지노사이트