Park Young-hyun (19), a right-handed fastball pitcher who is proud of professional baseball KT Wiz, announced the birth of a new ‘international pitcher’ who will lead Korean baseball.
Park Young-hyun took the mound in the 8th inning with a 1-0 lead in Game 1 of the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games Super Round against Japan at Stadium 1 of Shaoxing Baseball and Softball Sports Center in Zhejiang, China on the 5th, pitched 2 innings, allowed 2 hits and no runs, and defeated Korea’s 2-2 lead. 0 led to victory.
Park Young-hyun, who came on as the third pitcher for the Korean national team in the top of the 8th inning with a 1-0 lead, struck out leadoff hitter Jin Nakamura and then hit the next hitter, Ryo Kinami, with a grounder to shortstop, making two outs. After two outs, Hiroki Nakagawa allowed a double to left, but pinch hitter Kazuya Shimokawa was hit with a fly ball to center field, overcoming the first hurdle.
Then, Park Young-hyun, who came on the mound in the top of the 9th inning to make it 2-0 by adding 1 run in the bottom of the 8th inning, was in danger of reaching first and second base with no outs due to shortstop Kim Joo-won’s error and hit. However, Park Young-hyun, who is not yet 20 years old, got three clean outs as if there were no problems.
He led Masashi Maruyama to a grounder to second base, caught the runner on first base, and then cooked Kohei Sasagawa into a double play to second base to preserve the victory.
Young-gun Park Young-hyun, who will turn 20 in just six days as a two-year pro, is showing the most outstanding performance among KT’s relief pitchers. He is on the verge of becoming the holds king, recording 3 wins, 4 saves, and 32 holds.
Instead of running away with a 150 km fastball, he competes head-on with a ‘hit if you want to hit’ style, resembling the childhood of ‘Stone Buddha’ Oh Seung-hwan. That’s why he even earned the nickname ‘the second Oh Seung-hwan’ or ‘the second ultimate king.’
Park Young-hyun’s true value stands out even more in this competition, where he was selected for the adult national team for the first time in his life. In the first game against Hong Kong, he went 1 inning with 1 hit, 2 strikeouts, and no runs, and then in the game against Taiwan, when the team was losing 0-2, he came on the mound in the bottom of the 6th inning with 2 outs and 2nd and 3rd bases to put out the fire.
Among the Korean national team pitchers, only two players appeared in all three games: Park Young-hyun and left-hander Choi Ji-min (KIA). Coach Ryu Joong-il is also happy to see Park Young-hyun energetically throwing the ball around without being intimidated. He even beat out Ko Woo-seok (LG)바카라, the best closing pitcher in Korean professional baseball, and gave him the national team closer position.
Manager Ryu Joong-il said, “There are two pitchers, Park Young-hyun and Ko Woo-seok, as closing candidates, so I will use them while considering the situation,” but it seems like his heart is leaning toward Park Young-hyun. Considering that Go Woo-seok came out in the 9th inning against Taiwan and gave up 2 runs, it is highly likely that Park Young-hyun will take charge of the tailgate for the remaining 2 games.
Park Young-hyun said, “I was nervous because it was a match between Korea and Japan, but the score was so tight that it was 1-0, so I pitched with the mindset of blocking the game at all costs.” He added, “I thought Wooseok would come on the mound in the 9th inning, but pitching coach Choi Il-eon told me to take care of one more inning.” He told us about the pitching situation.
He continued, “There was a defensive error and a series of hits, which almost resulted in a bad result, but catcher (Kim) Hyeong-jun said, ‘We must catch these batters now. “I made up my mind, saying, ‘I don’t want to break down,’” he added.
Park Young-hyun also said calmly, “There is a part of my brothers that believes me to be trustworthy, and I wanted to repay that trust. If the team is winning, if you block, you win, so I wanted to finish it off.”
Regarding his feelings about making his international debut, he said, “It doesn’t seem like much, but I’m nervous, but my pitch is so good that it gives me a lot of confidence.” He added, “I’m throwing it like I used to in Korea, and I’m confident about my fastball. “The fact that my ball has gotten better means