“We are getting better and better since coming from Tokyo.”
Korea’s 2023 Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) squad, led by head coach Ryu Jung-il, will face Japan on Sunday at the Tokyo Dome in Japan.
Japan will be led by starting pitcher Chihiro Sumida (24-Seibu Lions).
Sumida, who joined Seibu as the No. 1 pick in the 2021 First-Year Player Draft, made his first appearance with the first team last year. He struggled in his first year, going 1-10 with a 3.75 ERA, but has shown improvement in 22 games this season, going 9-10 with a 3.44 ERA. In those 22 starts, he threw two complete games.
He has a fastball that sits at 150 mph, but he also has a changeup, a splitter, and is considered to have good command of his other pitches.
He has been gradually improving, including a two-hit shutout against the Yomiuri Giants in an exhibition game in Miyazaki.
Against Chinese Taipei on Saturday, Japan struggled against Taiwanese starter Koo Lin-Liu-yang, who was perfect through five innings. However, a home run in the seventh and a three-run ninth inning helped secure the win.
The bats came alive late, but the mound held firm. Yushi Akahoshi tossed 4⅔ scoreless innings, followed by Masaki Yookawa, Haruka Nemoto (2 innings), Takuma Kirishiki (1 inning), and Kazuto Taguchi (1 inning).
It was the first win for Ibata, who took the reins of the Japanese national team prior to the tournament.
“It was a difficult atmosphere from the beginning, 먹튀검증 but the pitching staff did a good job and we were able to get the win,” said Japan manager Hirokazu Ibata after the game. “We had information that the opposing pitcher was good, so we tried to keep him to zero runs,” said Akahoshi.
After the no-hitter, the team had high hopes for Sumida, the starter against Korea.
Ibata said, “He’s getting better in Tokyo. “I think his pitching has gotten better since coming to Tokyo,” Ibata said. “Like Akahoshi, it’s best if he can pitch well from the start and keep the bases loaded for a given inning.
He also smiled at his batting lineup. “Starting with Morishita’s home run, we were able to get some hits and play in a good way,” Ibata said. I think we’ll have a good game tomorrow. I hope we do well from the beginning.” “I think the players who hit will be calmer tomorrow. I think Maki, who batted fourth, will get a hit tomorrow if he doesn’t change his stance. I think it would be good if he maintains his current form.”
Ibata continued, “Korea also struggled in the first game and won. I think our attitude will be different tomorrow. We’re going to be aggressive and not let them get in our way. We are determined to play a good game.”
Meanwhile, Lee Yi-ri (KIA) will start for South Korea. Lee is 11-7 with a 3.96 ERA in 28 games this season.
“Lee Yi-ri is the best left-handed pitcher in Korea,” said Ryu Jung-il, head coach of the Korean National Team. There are a lot of left-handed hitters in Japan,” said Ryu. “If he has a good pitch, I think he’ll do a good job. From what I saw, the ball is fast. When his pitches are good, he’s hard to hit. I’ll try to observe whether his pitches are good or not from the first inning tomorrow.”
Korea is also in a good mood. They had a close game against Australia that went into extra innings, but Noh Si-hwan’s RBI single in the bottom of the 10th secured the win. “It’s a qualifier, so we’ll give it our best shot,” Ryu said.