Liu Zhongil, head coach of the Hangzhou Asian Games baseball team, emphasizes the importance of the No. 6 hitter.
While the top two spots are called the table setters, the third through fifth spots are called the cleanup trio, and the seventh through ninth spots are called the bottom of the order, the sixth spot doesn’t fit into any of these positions. Ryu calls the sixth spot in the batting order the “bomb” because it plays an important role in connecting the center and lower order. He believes that the team’s performance depends on the performance of the No. 6 batsman.
Ryu Jung-il made several changes to his starting lineup for the third Group B qualifier against Thailand on Wednesday. Most notably, Kang Baek-ho was moved up in the batting order. Kang Baek-ho, who batted fourth in the middle of the order against Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei but went hitless in eight at-bats, batted sixth and Yoon Dong-hee, who has the best batting average among the team’s hitters, batted third instead of sixth. Noh Si-hwan, the team’s top home run hitter, batted fourth and Moon Bo-kyung took the fifth spot.
Ryu’s use of Kang Baek-ho in the sixth spot is similar to his use of Lee Seung-yeop (now the manager of Doosan) in the sixth spot when he was the Samsung manager. By batting him in the sixth spot, Ryu hoped to take some of the pressure off of him and give him an important role in connecting the top and bottom of the batting order.
The same is true this time. Ryu decided that batting Kang Baek-ho in the sixth spot was the right move for him and the team. Ryu’s batting order adjustments paid off.
Kang Baek-ho, who had gone hitless in eight at-bats before this game, finally got his first hit and RBI. He struck out swinging in the first inning and was stranded on a fly ball to center field in the third, but in the fourth, he singled to right to put runners on second and third with no outs. South Korea finished second in Group B with a 17-0, five-inning shutout of Thailand.
Coach Ryu Jung-il said after the game, “We were able to win easily because our bats connected well in the early innings. At the moment, Yoon Dong-hee’s hitting is the best, so I put her on the No. 3 position, and it seems to have worked well.” Kang Baek-ho is likely to continue batting at No. 6 in the Super Round.
After reporting his hit and RBI, Kang said, “I feel so sorry for the players. I’m very sorry that I put a lot of pressure on a young player while batting fourth.” “The players must have been worried about me. Several players gave me feedback, and I was lucky to get a hit in my last at-bat. I will do my best to use this opportunity to help the team win.”캡틴토토
“It felt great to have so much support from my teammates when I got my first hit, and the support from the fans here really helped me. We have a lot of important games ahead of us, so we will do our best.”
Kang Baek-ho said, “Playing for the national team is always the same. I have a lot of responsibility as I play for the national team. I felt the weight of being the main player and not the youngest, but I will do my best to show the younger players that we can work together and play a good game.”