Lee Jung-hoo (25) of Kiwoom Heroes revealed why he called Lee Yong-gyu (38) ahead of the World Baseball Classic (WBC) Korea-Japan match.

Lee Jung-hoo returned to Korea after completing the WBC on the 14th. Lee Jung-hoo played a big role, recording a batting average of .429 (6 hits in 14 at-bats) and 5 RBIs and an OPS of 1.071 in 4 games, but the Korean national team recorded 2 wins and 2 losses, remaining in 3rd place in Group B in the first round.

Korea played against Japan with a very heavy burden as they lost 7-8 in their first WBC match against Australia. If they lost to Japan, which was evaluated to be ahead of them in terms of power, they would virtually be eliminated in the quarterfinals. The national team had a close match with Japan until the beginning of the game, but in the end, they could not overcome the pressure and collapsed, losing 4-13.스포츠토토

Lee Jung-hoo, who started playing for the national team straight from his debut season in 2017, has already accumulated considerable international competition experience. In 2019, he has experience playing Tokyo Dome Korea-Japan match in Premier 12. Regarding the Korea-Japan match, Lee Jung-hoo, who said, “It was okay because I experienced it once,” said, “The atmosphere is completely different when the international competition is held at the Tokyo Dome. It is true that when we play against Japan in front of Japanese fans, we get pushed out of the atmosphere.”

Even for Lee Jung-hoo, who has a lot of experience in international competitions, the WBC Korea-Japan match was burdensome. 40 minutes before the game, the person who came to calm his trembling heart was none other than Kiwoom’s most senior Lee Yong-gyu. One of the best veteran outfielders in the KBO League, Lee Yong-gyu played on the national team when Korea won the 2009 WBC runner-up. He also scored a hit against Yu Darvish (San Diego), who started as a starting pitcher in the match against Korea and Japan.

Lee Yong-kyu said, “I got a call from Lee Jeong-hoo around 6:20 before the game against Japan at 7:00. I really knew what was going on. But he said he was too nervous. I was well aware of that feeling, so I replied that I would just do it with confidence. I am far away, but I was thinking about how to make my mind at ease,” he said in a conversation with Lee Jung-hoo ahead of the Korea-Japan match.

Lee Jung-hoo said, “I didn’t get nervous when I played matches, but in the match against Japan and Korea, right before the match, I was very nervous. But I thought of senior Lee Yong-gyu. The senior had experience, so I called. I have experience in the Korea-Japan match, and it’s an old story, but I’ve had hits before, so I asked. After he called, his trembling mind subsided a little, and when he entered the game, he was not very nervous,” he explained why he remembered Lee Yong-gyu.

South Korea unfortunately withdrew from the WBC despite Lee Jung-hoo’s performance. Lee Jung-hoo said, “Everyone worked hard, but I realized that it was not enough. He has no excuses because he did his best within his abilities. I think we need to grow again and develop our country’s baseball for three years before the next tournament is held,” he said, promising the next tournament. /fpdlsl72556@osen.co.kr

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