The South Korean women’s national baseball team, led by head coach Yang Sang-moon, will travel to Thunder Bay, Canada, on Saturday to compete in the Women’s Baseball World Cup 2024 (WBSC) Qualifier.
The Koreans (ranked 10th in the world) are aiming for a 3-2 record in Group A of the qualifiers. The strategy is to do their best against Australia (8th), Hong Kong (11th), and Mexico (12th), rather than against powerhouses Canada (3rd) and the United States (4th).
To advance to the Super Rounds, teams need to finish first and second in Group A of the qualifiers. If you do, you qualify regardless of the number of cases. However, if they finish third, they will have a case.
The reason for this is the host country, Canada. The Canadian women’s national team has already qualified for the 2024 Women’s Baseball World Cup (WBSC) by receiving a wild card as the host nation. If Canada doesn’t finish in the top three and South Korea finishes third in their group, South Korea will qualify by default.
If Canada doesn’t finish in the top three, they’ll have to wait and see what happens in Pool B of the preliminary round. The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), the tournament’s organizing body, states in the tournament rules that “if the host nation does not finish in the top three of its group, the third-placed team from groups A-B with the better performance in the previous tournament will advance to the Super Round.”
At the 8th Women’s Baseball World Cup in Florida, USA, in 2018, South Korea finished 10th. The team should pay attention to the results of the countries in Group B of the qualifiers.
In the previous tournament in 2018, Japan finished first, Chinese Taipei second, Venezuela fifth, Cuba eighth, and Puerto Rico ninth. All were ranked higher than South Korea. If any of these countries finish third in Pool B, South Korea will be eliminated.
If Canada finishes third or lower and South Korea finishes third in their group, their only chance of qualifying would be if France finishes third in Group B. France did not play in the last World Cup. France did not participate in the last World Cup and is behind South Korea in the rankings from the last tournament.
However, there is a small chance that Canada will not finish in the top three. The qualifiers will also be held on Canada’s home turf, so there’s also a small chance that Team Canada will stumble, so South Korea can realistically aim for third place in Group 3, hoping that Canada will finish first or second.
Qualifying Group A will take place from August 8-13 local time in Canada, while Qualifying Group B will be held in Miyoshi, Japan from September 13-18. The main event will take place in the first half of next year, with the top six of the 12 qualifying nations gathering in Thunder Bay, Canada, to compete for medals.
Pitcher Kim Bomi (34), who competed in the 8th Women’s Baseball World Cup in Florida, USA, in 2018, has been selected again this year and will compete in the 9th Women’s Baseball World Cup in Thunder Bay, Canada. Five years later, Kim is the most experienced pitcher in the group.
In the last edition of the tournament, South Korea was paired with the United States. “I have strong memories of the USA game, where the quality of the hitting was terrifying because the hitters were stronger than the pitchers,” recalls Kim, who gave up three runs in the first inning in relief. “Even foul balls were home run balls. Even though the infielders of the national team at the time were good players, they said they were scared when American players hit them.”
The team has been practicing fastball reactions in preparation for the high-powered USA, Canada, Australia, and Mexico. Shin Nuri (36), the team’s most experienced outfielder, said, “It was a great experience to play practice games with Korean middle school baseball teams before the 2023 Asian Cup (BFA) in Hong Kong this year. I felt that I could hit the fastballs of the pitchers from other countries that I met at the Asian Cup because I was familiar with the fastballs of the men’s players.”
After the Asian Cup, she continued to work on her fastball skills. “In our recent practice games, our hitters were able to cut or hit most of the fastballs thrown by middle school boys. They were very confident with each fastball.”
Outside of scrimmages with the elite middle school baseball players, the team also works on their individual skills. “I’m working on ball reactions that are faster than 110 kilometers per hour,” said outfielder Ahn Su-ji, who visits a batting cage some distance from home.안전놀이터
Kim Bomi said, “The national team players have been practicing fastballs. We are getting better and better at dealing with fastballs than when we first got together and started training, so I think we will be able to do well at the World Championships if we focus on picking the right pitches and aiming for fastballs.”
The team is determined to take down Hong Kong and Mexico and give it their all against Australia, which is ranked lower than Canada and the United States. The Aussies include Genevieve Bickham, 18, the first female player in the Australian Baseball League (ABL) to hit 136 kilometers per hour. The team lost to Australia 1-7 in their last meeting.
Meanwhile, the South Korean national team previously qualified for their first-ever World Cup, finishing second in their group at the 7th Women’s Baseball World Cup in Gijang-gun, Busan, in 2016. At that time, 12 nations were divided into three groups for qualification, and under Lee Kwang-hwan’s leadership, the team beat Pakistan and Cuba to finish second in their group behind Venezuela, and eventually finished sixth.