Yang Eui-ji (36), a catcher who returned to her hometown professional baseball club Doosan Bears last January, has taken several flights in the past month. He flew to Sydney, Australia early on the 19th of last month and started his personal training. On the 1st of this month, he joined the local Doosan Spring Camp. In previous years, he would have been training with his teammates in Sydney, but this winter was a different story. He had to move to Tucson, Arizona, USA to prepare for the World Baseball Classic (WBC) next month.

It was the beginning of the forced march. Yang Eui-ji boarded a plane returning to Seoul from Sydney, Australia on the 12th. After resting for just one day, he departed for Tucson on the 14th. He had to go through LA as there were no direct flights. The total distance he traveled across the Pacific Ocean after returning from Seoul and Sydney is a whopping 27,000 km. Later this month, he will have to fly back to Tokyo, Japan for the first round of the WBC.

It was a formidable forced march, but Yang Eui-ji’s face was full of composure. Yang Eui-ji, who met at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson on the 16th, when the baseball national team convocation training began, said, “I have never moved this much (in a month). Still, (airline) mileage accumulated a lot.” He also said, “I deliberately didn’t sleep on the plane because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to adjust to the jet lag. Fortunately, I got a good night’s sleep today and I’m feeling fine.” He even smiled.

Yang Eui-ji is the hostess of the national team recognized by everyone else. Starting with the 2015 Premier 12, the 2017 WBC, the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, the 2019 Premier 12, and the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, he wore a mask at every major international competition. He also appeared in 31 matches for the national team. 슬롯사이트

At the WBC, which opens on the 8th of next month, Yang Eui-ji was the first name that Lee Kang-cheol (57) coach and Jo Beom-hyeon (63) technical committee chairman came up with. As the nickname ‘fox wearing a bear’s mask’ suggests, this is because Yang Eui-ji was the catcher with both experience and skill. Yang Eui-ji said, “Being a national representative has been my dream since I was a child. I’m just honored to be chosen like this every time. I will lead my juniors with the mindset that this is the last international competition.”

Korean baseball is evaluated that the mound has recently weakened significantly. This story came out in that Kim Gwang-hyun (35, SSG Landers) and Yang Hyeon-jong (35, KIA Tigers), born in 1988, still form the main axis of the pitching staff. There are young pitchers such as Eui-ri Lee (21, KIA) born in 2002 and So-Jun Sohn (22, KT Wiz) born in 2001, but they still lack the experience to be entrusted with an important role.

However, Yang Eui-ji said, “I don’t think our mound is that weak. If young players go out and throw with enthusiasm, and I, the catcher, catch well, I think good results will come out,” he said.

Yang Eui-ji brought out the word ‘Japan’ a lot on this day. He expressed his will not to repeat the pain of losing to Japan in succession in the 2019 Premier 12 and the 2021 Tokyo Olympics Korea-Japan match. Yang Eui-ji said, “I have painful memories of losing big in the last two matches against Japan. This time, I want to prepare well and pay it back,” he said. “There are many videos of Japanese baseball games. I try to analyze it carefully by watching the video closely.”

If Korea passes through the second round, it will move to Miami, Florida, USA, to play in the semifinals. A tough march awaits the 36-year-old veteran catcher. However, Yang Eui-ji dispelled the worries around him with a single word, “I will endure with mental strength.”

Yang Eui-ji, who arrived at the national team’s accommodation the day before, digested both defense and batting training that day. He stayed until the end, swinging the bat and tuning his hitting senses before packing up. Yang Eui-ji’s WBC has already begun.

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