“There was no backup.” Kim Do-young, who replaced the KBO home run king, solidified his position as the main player at Kuk University’s third base
Unlike other spots in the infield, where at least two players received pingos, no one was next to Kim Do-young (20-KIA Tigers). But he drew just as much praise as any other position.
South Korea’s national baseball team, led by head coach Ryu Jung-il, held an open training camp on Friday at the Tokyo Dome in Japan in preparation for the 2023 Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC).굿모닝토토 도메인
The tournament will be held from Jan. 16 to 19, with players aged 24 or younger (born after Jan. 1, 1999) or within their third year of playing (born after 2021) from South Korea, Japan, and Australia, plus up to three wild cards aged 29 or younger (born after Jan. 1, 1994), playing exclusively at the Tokyo Dome.
As a result, there are few players with Tokyo Dome experience. With the exception of five players who participated in the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March of this year – Kim Hye-sung (24-KIUM Heroes), Choi Ji-hoon (26-SSG Landers), Won Tae-in (23-Samsung Lions), Lee Yi-ri (21-KIA), and Kwak Bin (24-Dusan Bears) – the 21 players had to adapt to a different environment from the Gocheok Dome.
The Tokyo Dome is the same dome as the Gocheok Dome, but the environment is slightly different. It has the same artificial turf, but unlike the Gocheok Dome, where infield ground balls are hit quickly, the Tokyo Dome does not. On the contrary, floated balls and pitches extend better than you might expect due to the updraft in the Tokyo Dome. As a result, infielders who were used to the Gocheok Dome were surprised by slow ground balls, and pitchers had to be on their toes again when they were hit by a high fly ball. The good news was that the roof was darker than in the past, making it easier to see floating balls.
Ryu Jung-il (left) gives instructions to third baseman Kim Do-young during an open training session for the 2023 APBC team at the Tokyo Dome in Japan on Friday.
Today’s workout focused a bit more on the infield. The team’s infield has been a challenge to organize due to unexpected departures. First baseman or designated hitter Kang Baek-ho (24-KT Wiz) was sidelined with an adductor muscle injury, and third baseman Moon Bo-kyung (23-LG Twins) was out for the Korean Series, leaving the corner infield open. Manager Ryu Jung-il solved the problem by sending Noh Si-hwan (23-Hanwha) to first base and inserting Kim Do-young in his place. He believed that Kim Do-young’s offense and defense could replace Noh Si-hwan, the KBO’s home run king.
The team’s faith in Do-young also showed in training. Unlike Kim Joo-won (21-NC Dinos) and Kim Hwi-jip (21-Kiwoom) at shortstop, Kim Hye-sung and Sang-bi-gun Han (20-Lotte Giants) at second base, and Noh Shi-hwan and Na Seung-yeop (21-Lotte Giants) at first base, Kim received infield punches alone with no backup. This was different from the time he batted third alongside Noh in training sessions held at Daegu Samsung Lions Park from June 6 to 13. In practice, Noh could return to third base after Na Seung-yup is inserted, or Kim Hwi-jip, who also has experience at the position, could be used as a backup. However, with only four games left in the tournament before the final, there is no guarantee that Kim will play full-time. In the fielding drills, Kim showed off her strong shoulders by catching ground balls and throwing them accurately and quickly to first, second, and home.
He also received a passing grade for his batting. In the training sessions that took place at Daegu Samsung Lions Park from June 6 to 13, Kim Do-young was second only to Noh Si-hwan in terms of distance, drawing praise from manager Ryu Jung-il. Ryu said, “Kim Do-young has hit two or three doubles in the team, and I’m looking forward to it. (Kim) is only two years old, but his distance is second only to Roh Si-hwan. I’m looking forward to seeing her fielding, throwing, and hitting,” he said. At the Tokyo Dome, he also showed off his good form, hitting balls to the fence with a light swing.
Kim has been called the next Lee Jong-beom since his high school days and is the hope of Korean baseball, which is lacking in right-handed prospects. “I will hit a big one and let the world know who I am,” he said, and it will be interesting to see if he can realize his bold ambition and solidify his position as a starting third baseman for the national team through this tournament.