It was a great pitch that surprised me. He’ll try to replicate it in the fall.
KT Wiz right-handed reliever Park Young-hyun made the national team for the first time this year. He was at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games, which concluded on August 8. The baseball team won their fourth consecutive title. The team won the gold medal they had been waiting for.
Park had a lot to do with it. In four games and five and a third innings, he allowed three hits, one walk, and eight strikeouts. He had two saves and a zero ERA. His fastball was powerful. He topped out at 155-156 mph. When he threw it, the ball stretched out and went right into the catcher’s mitt. This is how he made light work of opposing hitters.
In the first game of Group B against Hong Kong (10-0 cold game win in the 8th inning), he pitched 1 inning of 1-hit ball, striking out 2 and walking none (12 pitches) to earn the save. In Game 2 against Chinese Taipei (0-4 loss), he pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief with three strikeouts and no walks (12 pitches).
His performance against Japan (2-0) in the first game of the Super Round was crucial. He entered the game in the top of the eighth inning with a 1-0 lead. He was back on the mound in the top of the ninth with a 2-0 lead. He pitched two innings of two-hit ball, striking out one and walking none (21 pitches) to earn the save.
In the final game against Chinese Taipei (2-0 win), he pitched the eighth inning with a 2-0 lead, allowing one run on one hit with two strikeouts and no walks (17 pitches) to earn the save.
He returned to his club. KT manager Lee Kang-cheol said to Park, “Congratulations. You have a bright future. Do better in baseball.” Lee said, “Of course I thought he would do well. He pitched more than just throwing his ball in a high-pressure tournament. He’s a really good player.” “He has a very good mental attitude. He’s really good.”
“When I came back, everyone hugged me and told me I did a good job. I was laughing the whole time, and my brothers said, ‘Hey, you look good,'” Young-hyun said, adding, “I made fun of my brothers who didn’t go to the army. (Kim) even saluted my brother.” He laughed. “It’s a new feeling. I feel like I’ve started a new life.” “It was a very happy experience and a good memory. It’s a very happy experience and a good memory, and I’m even happier that I did it under pressure.”
What was the secret to his success? “I was surprised by my pitch, too,” Park said, “I’ve never thrown a pitch like that in my life. (KT) seniors told me that if I didn’t throw that pitch here, I’d get in trouble. The coach and my brothers said, ‘You should throw with KOREA on your jersey, not KT,'” he laughed.
“I was proud to make the team, and I tried to throw responsibly,” he said. “Everyone was focused on winning. All we could think about was winning the game against our opponent.”
They reflected on the game against Japan. Park said, “I was very nervous. I thought it was over after I pitched one inning (the eighth), but I was told to pitch one more inning (the ninth).” “I had a hard time with mistakes and hits in (the ninth), but I was proud of how well I pitched,” he smiled.
In the bottom of the ninth inning of the final, he was nervous. Closer Ko Woo-seok (LG) came in and faced runners on first and second. Luckily, he struck out the side to end the game and secure the title.
Park Young-hyun said, “(Won) Tae-in (Samsung) was holding hands with his brother the whole time. “After the game, my brothers, who were in the army, were more relieved and cried more. I was very moved by that.” He added, “It’s a secret who cried. (The late) Woo-seok was known through the broadcast, but the other brothers also cried a lot. I think almost all of them shed tears.” “I didn’t cry at that time. When I was alone, I was overwhelmed with the thought that ‘it’s real,'” he added.
The 2003 classmates all led the way in victory. Pitchers Moon Dong-joo (Hanwha) and Choi Ji-min (KIA) and outfielder Yoon Dong-hee (Lotte). “It was really nice to play with my classmates. “We’re all friends, so the synergy was great,” said Park. “I’ve been friends with (Yoon) since elementary school. We were roommates in Hangzhou. After the postseason this year, we decided to go to the training center together.”
There is a good chance that they will be used as a must-win group in major international tournaments in the future. “Everyone dreams of that,” Park said. But I have to be able to go (to the national team),” he said, adding, “This is not the end for me. I need to prepare well for next year. The most important thing is not to get injured.”
One by one, she is achieving her goals. There are still some heights to conquer. Winning the Korean Series. KT won its first overall title in 2021. Young-hyun Park, who joined the team as the first overall pick last year, was not part of the championship. KT qualified for the postseason in second place through the last 10 days.
Park said, “I will throw the same ball in the postseason as I did in the Asian Games. Winning the team title is also very important. I have a great desire to win the championship,” he said, emphasizing that it would be helpful to experience the atmosphere of last season.
Park went 1-0 with a 3.66 ERA in 52 games and 51⅔ innings pitched in the regular season last year. In the postseason, he pitched 4 games and 4⅔ innings 안전놀이터 with one hold and one save for a 3.86 ERA. In Game 2 of the semifinals against the Kiwoom Heroes, he pitched two scoreless innings in relief of starter Wes Benjamin to preserve a 2-0 victory. At 19 years, 6 days old, he became the youngest postseason save in history.
Park said, “I will prepare well to win. My arm is in great shape. I’m looking forward to it.”