“We’re two wins away (from the title). I will prepare to return (to Korea) with the remaining two wins.”
Park Se-woong (Lotte Giants), the “glasses ace” who rescued South Korea from the brink of being eliminated from the Asian Games finals with a perfect game, revealed his ambitions.
Park took the mound on Friday for South Korea’s first game against Japan in the Baseball Super Round of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games at the Shaoxing Baseball and Softball Sports Center 1 near Hangzhou, China.
Park, who has been with Lotte since the 2015 season after being selected by KT Wiz in the first round in 2014, is a right-hander with a 53-70 record and a 4.77 ERA in 196 games (1001 innings) through last year. This season, he’s been a stalwart in Lotte’s starting rotation, going 8-7 with a 3.41 ERA in 26 appearances.
However, he didn’t exactly inspire confidence in Hangzhou. In the previous game against Taiwan, he came in to replace Moon Dong-ju (Hanwha Eagles) in the bottom of the fourth inning, but had a shaky outing, giving up two runs on one hit and two walks in 0.2 innings.
But this day was different. Park threw a perfect game and effectively shut down the Japanese batting lineup.
It was a shaky start. In the top of the first inning, Hiroki Nakagawa gave up a walk and a stolen base. Naoya Mochizuki struck out the next batter, but Shoji Kitamura singled to left to put runners on first and third. But they were not to be shaken. He got Tatsuhiko Sato and Masashi Maruyama to fly out to center field and strike out, respectively, to end the threat.
With momentum on his side, Park struck out the side in the top of the second and third innings. In the fourth and fifth innings, he allowed one runner to reach base, but retired the next two batters to end the inning. He returned to the mound in the top of the sixth and retired the next three batters to end his day.
His final line was six innings, two hits, nine strikeouts, and no runs. His total pitch count was 87 pitches. Park’s performance, along with the help of Noh Si-hwan (1-for-3, RBI), who had two hits, including the game-winner, helped South Korea to a 2-0 victory over Japan.
Notably, this wasn’t just a one-game win. After losing 0-4 to Chinese Taipei in the group stage, South Korea entered the Super Round with one loss. A loss to Japan would have made their chances of reaching the final even more slim.
However, Park Se-woong’s stellar performance against Japan gave South Korea the green light to advance to the finals, as did Taiwan’s 4-1 victory over Chinese Taipei in the next game. A victory over China on Saturday would put South Korea in the final.
After the match, Park said, “We have two wins left (to win the title). I will prepare to return (to Korea) with the remaining two wins,” he said confidently.
It wasn’t the only tournament in which Park wore the Korean flag, as he also started against the Czech Republic at the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March and pitched 4.2 innings of one-hit ball with eight strikeouts to lead Korea to a 7-3 victory.
“I’m roommates with Na Kyun-ahn (Lotte), and we jokingly said, ‘Why do I only pitch in important situations when I pitched against the Czech Republic in the WBC,'” Park said 메이저토토사이트 with a chuckle before adding, “That’s why they picked me to play such an important role. I want to give myself a lot of credit for doing my part as best I could (today). I’m very happy that we won the game today.”
“In the meeting after the game against Taiwan, I said to the players, ‘As the eldest brother, I should have come down and taken responsibility,'” Park explained. “I wanted to make up for my disappointment with today’s game,” he said.
Park, who threw 87 pitches in six innings, will likely stay in the dugout for the remaining two days of the tournament.
“I don’t know if I’ll be able to pitch the rest of the games or not,” he said, “but I’ve pitched the next day in high school. As long as the team can win, I’ll pitch according to the situation,” he said, emphasizing that he will be available to help the younger players in the dugout and elsewhere.