Noah Song, the US Naval Flight Officer with a 99 mph arm

Noah Song, the US Naval Flight Officer with a 99 mph arm
17/11/2019
The reliever impressed at the WBSC Premier12. The Boston Red Sox are waiting for him, so is the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida

Noah Song threw the fastest pitch in the WBSC Premier12 2019. His fastball touched 159 km/ph (or 99 m/ph).

"I never look at the scoreboard, I had no idea I threw that fastest pitch," commented the right-hander. "Someone told me and I am obviously happy. Sometimes you find out that the pitch was faster then you thought, sometimes that it was slower".

Song was the 137th pick of the 2018 Amateur Draft. The Red Sox selected him in the fourth round. A late pick, for a pitcher with Noah's skills. "I don't think I necessarily fell down in the draft. There were still 30 rounds after me and a lot of talent. I don't feel I have been downgraded".

Song graduated from Claremont High School in Claremont, California, in 2015. He attended the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. He played college baseball for the Navy Midshipmen, and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2019.

Song is expected to report to Naval Air Station Pensacola as soon as the WBSC Premier12 ends. This could delay his professional baseball career for as many as two years. The Red Sox are trying to find a solution. "I have no say in that," admitted Song. "As of right now, I will report to Flight School in Pensacola. Whatever happens, it will be something to be proud of."

Coming back to baseball after two years serving as a Naval Flight Officer may be challenging.
"I will pay a lot of attention to the possibility of coming back. It mostly will depend from the state of my body."

Noah's father, Bill, immigrated to the USA from Korea as a five-year-old. "My grandparents come over for festivities and take with them all the works," commented Song. "I enjoy listening to my father talk to them in Korean, even if for me the language is a challenge. I love the Korean culture, but unfortunately, I don't know much about the country".

Song had his first taste of international baseball at the WBSC Premier12. "It's awesome. Baseball makes everybody come together. We don't speak the same language, we do play at the same rules. The game really is universal".

Noah Song pitched 1.1 innings against Mexico in the bronze medal game of the WBSC Premier12 2019. He only allowed one hit.



PREVIEW: Japan face Korea for Premier12 Championship

PREVIEW: Japan face Korea for Premier12 Championship
16/11/2019
Korea are the defending Premier12 and Olympic Champions ... Japan finished third at the 2015 Premier12 ... Japan defeated Korea in their Super Round game 10-8 last night.

No. 3 ranked Korea has an opportunity to defend their 2015 Premier12 title tonight, as they take on no. 1 ranked Japan in the 2019 Premier12 Championship Game at the Tokyo Dome.

In last night’s Super Round finale it was Japan who came out on top 10-8 in a three hour and 40 minute marathon. Japan scored six runs in the bottom of the third in front of 44,224 fans at the Tokyo Dome, before Korea bounced straight back with five runs of their own in the fourth. Despite giving up two runs in the seventh, pitchers Kan Ohtake and Kazuto Taguchi combined for two scoreless innings to seal a Japanese win.

Starting pitcher: Hyeon-Jong Yang (Korea)

Yang has been dominant in his first two Premier12 starts, and will toe the rubber for Korea in the Championship Game. Yang allowed one hit and struck out 10 against Australia in Group A and gave up one earned run in 5.2 innings against the US in the Super Round. Despite allowing 10 hits against the US, Yang struck out seven and has a tournament ERA of 0.77.

Starting pitcher: Shun Yamaguchi (Japan)

Japan will hand Shun Yamaguchi his third start of the tournament in tonight’s Gold Medal Game. Yamaguchi opened the tournament for Japan in Group B, allowing one earned run against Venezuela. His second start came against Australia in the Super Round, as he gave up two earned runs in four innings. Despite two solid outings, opponents are hitting .281 off Yamaguchi this tournament.

Player to watch: Seiya Suzuki (Japan)

Samurai Japan’s power hitting right-fielder has been outstanding during the WBSC Premier12. Suzuki is 11-for-23 with two doubles, two triples, three home runs and 12 RBI in six games.

Suzuki won the 2019 Central League batting title in Japan’s NPB, finishing with a .335 batting average and 28 home runs for the Hiroshima Carp.

Player to watch: Jung-Hoo Lee (Korea)

Korean outfielder Jung-Hoo Lee has been Korea’s hottest hitter of the Premier12. Lee is 10-for-23, with a tournament high five doubles through seven games.

Lee slashed .336/.388/.456 for the Kiwoom Heroes during the 2019 KBO season, and claimed 193 hits in 140 games.

First pitch of the 2019 Premier12 Championship game is slated for 19:00 JST.



PREVIEW: US, Mexico to battle for bronze, Olympic berth today

PREVIEW: US, Mexico to battle for bronze, Olympic berth today
16/11/2019
The US and Mexico will battle for Premier12 bronze and the fourth spot at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

An Olympic berth is on the line as no. 2 ranked USA and no. 6 ranked Mexico play for the WBSC Premier12 bronze medal this afternoon.

Mexico, who finished the Super Round with a 3-2 record, enter the game after a 7-3 loss against no. 3 ranked Korea in their final Super Round game.

The US defeated Chinese Taipei to finish the Super Round with a 2-3 record, and had to rely on other results to secure a place in the Bronze Medal game. Chinese Taipei defeated Australia 5-1 yesterday, which saw the US qualify for the Bronze Medal game, and gave them a chance to qualify for Tokyo 2020.

Mexico scored five runs in the eighth inning against the US en-route to a 8-2 win in their Group A game in Guadalajara. Ali Solis went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBI against the US, while Mexico’s bullpen shut down the US offence, allowing just three hits after the third inning.

Starting pitcher: Arturo Reyes (Mexico)

Arturo Reyes makes his third start of the tournament in today’s Bronze Medal game.  Reyes has tossed eight scoreless innings during the 2019 Premier12, which includes a strong start against Chinese Taipei. Reyes anchored Mexico’s Super Round win over Chinese Taipei, scattering two hits in five scoreless innings. Opponents are hitting .111 off Reyes during the Premier12.

Starting pitcher: Cody Ponce (USA)

Like Reyes, Cody Ponce will make his third start of the 2019 Premier12. Ponce dominated the Netherlands in Group A play, conceding two hits in five scoreless innings. However his second start of the tournament didn’t go as planned. The 25-year-old right hander gave up three earned runs in 3.1 innings against Korea.

Player to watch: Jonathan Jones (Mexico)

Mexico’s leadoff man has been outstanding for his country, claiming 10 hits with and six RBI in this year’s Premier12. Jones has homered in his last three games, with his latest coming against Korea.

After going 1-for-6 to begin the tournament, Jones is 9-for-20 in his last five-games. Jones has also starred defensively, making strong plays in centre-field throughout the Premier12.

Player to watch: Jordon Adell (USA)

A 20-year-old outfielder with big league potential, Jo Adell has made his mark at the 2019 Premier12. Adell – the number five prospect according to MLB Pipeline – leads the US offence with 11 hits in seven games, and has excelled in centrefield.

Adell has homered twice at the Premier12, once in the Opening Round and once against no. 1 ranked Japan in the Super Round.

First pitch is scheduled for 12:00 JST from the Tokyo Dome.



Atsunori Inaba: “We’re going to fight in the final”

Atsunori Inaba: “We’re going to fight in the final”
16/11/2019
"We don’t want to have any regrets, playing all together we’re going to win this game.”

Japan finished today the Premier12 Super Round in the first place, after a 10-8 victory over Korea in the last game of the Super Round. Tomorrow, both teams will play the final of the event.

“Tonight our lineup hit the ball very well, and we hope to continue doing this tomorrow,” said the Japanese manager. “Thinking in our pitching, the Korean hitters are very strong. Is quite difficult to surprise them and make them out, but we’ll try to do it.”

Inaba focused on the approach for tomorrow’s decisive game: “Just like any other game that we’ve played so far, we’re going to fight in the final. We don’t want to have any regrets, playing together we’re going to win this game.”

Teamwork was mentioned by Inaba as one of the keys for tomorrow. “We’ve been together as a team for approximately one month, all the players have been together, and the communication among them is very good, also during the games. It allows us to play as a team. This will be very important for tomorrow.”

The Korean team showed resilience in today’s game. “Our offensive had a great game today, and we built some momentum during the match. But then, they were able to come back. This is the Korean team, they fight until the end, they have shown this in previous tournaments. So it’s important for us to switch our mentality and being able to fight until the last inning. That’s what we need to do tomorrow.”



Kim Kyungmoon: “Is more important to win tomorrow’s game”

Kim Kyungmoon: “Is more important to win tomorrow’s game”
16/11/2019
“We expect to have our best pitching staff tomorrow, and together with the lineup play a good game.”

Korean manager Kim Kyungmoon was present in the press conference tonight, after today’s game between Japan and Korea, but the main subject was tomorrow’s Premier12 Final between the same teams.

“It would have been very nice to win today. But of course, is more important to win tomorrow’s game. And thinking on the condition of the players, definitively we put our focus in the final,” said Kim Kyungmoon.

Asked about the Japanese pitchers, the skipper said: “The Japanese pitchers have been very good and have played very well, but I don’t think that today we faced their best pitchers. Tomorrow we’ll do our best to beat them. In our end, we expect to have our best pitching staff tomorrow, and together with the lineup play a good game.”

“Today we used some players that didn’t play too much so far in the tournament; we wanted to keep all the players in the best physical condition to face tomorrow’s game. We’d like to forget today’s result and come back tomorrow to do our best effort to win the final.”

Asked about the performance of the substitute players today, and how it could affect the composition of tomorrow's lineup, Kim answered: “We’ll discuss with my staff the lineup for tomorrow, but definitively we’re going to talk more about the defensive side of our team.”



Japan beats Korea in front of impressive crowd, powerhouses ready for WBSC Premier12 final

Japan beats Korea in front of impressive crowd, powerhouses ready for WBSC Premier12 final
16/11/2019
A total of 44,224 fans enjoyed a 3 hour 43 minute slugfest at the Tokyo Dome

Japan and Korea amused an impressive crowd of 44,224 at the Tokyo Dome scoring a total of 18 runs on 26 hits. The effort to complete the 3-hour 43-minute marathon required 11 pitchers. Japan earned a 10-8 win to finish first in the WBSC Premier12 Super Round.

Japan and Korea will face each other again tomorrow, in the Championship game of the WBSC Premier12 2019.

The starting lineups may have suggested that if was not going to be a do-or-die type of game. Japan's starter, 35-year old veteran Kishi Takayuki, had pitched only three innings in the tournament and Korea used 20-year old prospect Lee Seugho only for one inning before tonight.

Lee lasted only two innings and gave up six runs on eight hits. He left in the bottom of the third. Reliever Lee Yongchan inherited a 3-1 deficit and the bases loaded. He walked in a run and gave up two more on a base hit and a sacrifice fly.

Kishi also gave up six runs, but over the span of four innings. He needed 69 pitches to complete the task. Kishi went to the mound in the top of the fourth with a six-run lead. He needed 31 pitches to get out of the inning.

Despite missing their starting shortstop, center fielder and catcher, Korea's line up got to Kishi with six hits, including doubles by catcher Park Seihyok and shortstop Kim Sangsu, and trimmed Japan's lead to one run.

Japan stranded 11 runners, leaving the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh, but managed to protect the lead. Right fielder Seiya Suzuki and first baseman Tetsuo Yamada manufactured a key double play in the top of the fifth.

Reliever Yudai Ohno completed a scoreless fifth, despite allowing three walks, and earned the win.

Kan Ohtake pitched a perfect eighth inning. Kazuto Taguchi followed with a perfect ninth and earned the save.



Premier12 Daily Review

Premier12 Daily Review

Hong I-Chung: “It was a very tight game”

Hong I-Chung: “It was a very tight game”
16/11/2019
“Our players did very well, especially in the eighth inning,” said Chinese Taipei manager.

Chinese Taipei closed the Premier12 with a win over Australia and ended at fifth place. During the press conference the skipper Hong I-Chung made a quick analysis of the game.

“At the beginning of the game thing didn’t go very well for us, it was a very tight game with a lot of tensions. But our players did very well, especially in the eighth inning.”

“In the beginning we had some difficult to score, but finally we score one run in the third,” related leadoff hitter Wang Wei-Chen. “Australia hit a home run to tie the game, but we never gave up, we made a great effort, tried very hard and finally in the eighth inning we were able to score more runs to win the game.”

Asked about the performance of the team in general, Hong I-Ching praised his pitching staff’s performance: “When we put together this team I was not too confident about the pitching staff, but I was quite confident about our lineup. But after this tournament, I can say that the pitching staff has been better than our batters. And the reason for this performance is the great preparation of our pitchers and the scouting job and the information gathered about the other teams.”



“Premier12 has been a fantastic tournament,” said David Nilsson

“Premier12 has been a fantastic tournament,” said David Nilsson
16/11/2019
"Having the best 12 baseball programs in the world competing in different places is a wonderful concept"

Australia finished today its participation in the Premier12 with a 5-1 loss against Chinese Taipei. At the press conference, manager David Nilsson reviewed today’s game, as well as Australia’s performance in the whole tournament.

“Premier12 has been a fantastic tournament from every point of view. Having the best 12 baseball programs in the world competing in different places is a wonderful concept, and exposes the world to a lot of great players from different countries,” said Nilsson. 

He continued: “Our team faced some good moments and some disappointing moments, but I think that as a nation we’ve trying to build more exposure for us, as a team, to this level of competition. And it’s going to make us better, so I have nothing bad to say. A lot of disappointment, a lot of emotions about some results, but I think we’ve been in every game and we’ve had an opportunity to win every game, so we’ll continue to improve as a team.”

Asked about today’s game, he shared his feelings: “First of all, a great disappointment for the result of the game. The game itself was a very good ballgame, great pitching from both teams, a lot of opportunities for the batters, but ultimately Chinese Taipei got the big hit an broke up the game. I’m very proud of the way Australia played.”

Also during the press conference, shortstop Logan Wade agreed with his manager: “For me as a player it was a very clean game, it really could go in any way, but they came up with the big hit.”

Wade hit a solo homer in the top of the sixth inning to tie the game. He explained his approach in this at-bat. “I just wanted to drive the ball. With the pitching changes, you’re not going to see as many fastballs, so if I saw something up in the zone I was trying to put the barrel on it, and I did. It felt good, but I was just trying to attack the ball.”



Bats come alive late, Chinese Taipei wins, sends USA to third place game

Bats come alive late, Chinese Taipei wins, sends USA to third place game
16/11/2019
Wang Wei Chen singled to break the tie, a three-run homer by Lin Che Hsuan punched out the Aussies. World number 2 USA will play World number 6 Mexico for a spot in Tokyo 2020

Chinese Taipei used a four-run eighth at-bat to break the tie against Australia. Chinese Taipei won, 5-1, and will finish fifth in the WBSC Premier12 super round.
The win by Chinese Taipei helped the USA qualify for the third-place game against Mexico. The winner will also earn the spot of the Americas in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Chinese Taipei gave reasons to celebrate in the bottom of the eighth to an enthusiastic group of supporters that made most of the 7,299 people attendance at the Tokyo Dome.
Josh Tols, the fourth pitcher sent to the mound by Australia, recorded the first out on strikes, then walked substitute shortstop Yueh Tung Hua on four pitches.
Ryan Searle took over for Tols. He went ahead in the count with third baseman Wang Wei Chen, then gave up a base hit that took Yeuh to third. Center fielder Hu Chin-Lung fouled off the first pitch, then drove the second offering deep into the left-field bleachers for a three-run home run.

After a well-deserved curtain call for Lin Cheh-Hsuan, veteran right-hander Chen Hung Wen took care of the last three outs, two on strikes.
Chinese Taipei bullpen dominated overall Australia's line up late in the game. Wang Yao-Lin, Chen Yu-Hsuan and Chen Hung-Wen recorded the last 10 outs, 8 on strikes. Australian batters struck out a total 15 times in the game.

Australia blew a chance to take the lead earlier in the game. The World number 7 entered the sixth inning trailing 1-0 and tied the game on a one-out solo homer by shortstop Wade Logan off reliever Lin Kai Wei. The Aussies put the go-ahead runners in scoring position against Lin as center fielder Aaron Whitefield singled, pinch hitter David Kandilas walked and both advanced on a successful double steal.
Chinese Taipei sent to the mound Wang Tsung Hao to record the second out. Wang Yao Ling stuck out pinch hitter Wade Dutton to end the threat.



Aaron Whitefield: From U-19 Softball World Cup to Premier12

Aaron Whitefield: From U-19 Softball World Cup to Premier12
16/11/2019
Aaron Whitefield, current Australia Baseball National Team center fielder, started playing softball as a kid and represented his country at the U-19 Men's Softball World Cup 2012

Aaron Whitefield had an outstanding game at Tokyo Dome on Wednesday, and was one of the key players in the historic first-ever victory of Australia over USA in a top-level baseball event. In the first inning, he drove in the only two runs of the game for Australia, while in the eighth he made a spectacular diving catch that saved the game for his team. Not bad for someone who started to play baseball just five years ago: he played softball in Australia before switching to baseball, and represented his country as a youth softball player.

Whitefield was born in Brisbane, Australia, on 2 September 1996. His parents, John Whitefield and Nikkie Molander, are lifelong softball players, so Aaron grew up in a softball field.

“My parents always played softball, and as a kid I played all sport around. But I had a few injuries doing contact sports, so I started to play softball at the age of 14”, remembers Whitefield.

The Premier12 is not the first international event for the Minnesota Twins prospect. Aaron wore Australia’s uniform at the WBSC U-19 Men’s Softball World Cup 2012 in Parana, Argentina, where he earned a bronze medal.

“It’s always a placer when you represent your country, and softball was my first taste of it. I was proud to represent my country, such an honour. Any time I can still represent Australia is a huge honour for me,” he said.

Whitefield was the starting shortstop during that softball world championship, hitting .370, with 2 doubles, 4 runs and 4 RBI.   

“My parents went to Argentina to see me play. It was a medium-size softball park, but there were people everywhere, people on top of buildings watching the games, it was fully packed. I remember how passionate Argentines were watching us play. I remember how much they valued us as players, and how much they love the game. It was an awesome experience.”

It was Aaron’s last high-level softball tournament. When he came back to Australia, a scouter from the Cincinnati Reds invited him to a tryout. Then played one year in a local baseball club in Brisbane, and in 2015 he turned pro in the Australian Baseball League. He played for Brisbane Bandits from 2015 to 2017 winning three consecutive titles, the Rookie of the Year award in 2015, and the MVP honour in 2016. Since 2015 is part of the Twins farm system. So far, he’s played 357 games in four levels in the minor leagues, including 31 AA games.

Asked about switching from softball to baseball, Aaron remembers: “It’s a different story, I had a lot of success early in my baseball career, especially the first three years both in Australia and USA. But then, playing at higher levels in USA, I started to feel the difficulty of playing a long 160-game season, being physically and mentally ready to play a long season. Last year I had an injury and I missed part of the year, so for this year I’m getting my mental side right. I’m trying to find a balance between being physically and mentally being ready. I think it’s going to be one of my best years.”

Baseball and softball are different sports, and Whitefield explained his experience in both disciplines. “In my experience, I found it easier to make contact in baseball, but harder to drive the ball. In softball is the opposite, it’s harder to make contact but it’s easier to drive the ball: if you hit it, it’s going to drive. The other big difference is that, in softball, the ball can rise; in baseball is always coming down. So it’s also a big change.

“In defence, you must move a little bit quicker in softball to field and throw, while in baseball you can be more technical, fundamentally right and take your time. But there are also a lot of similarities, for example in the outfield I use the same footsteps. But I’m still learning some little things about playing baseball, in the end, it’s only my fifth year as a full-time baseball player.”

He’s not the only member of the family representing Australia at the highest level. His younger sister, Tamieka, is also a high performance athlete: she represented Australia at the Junior Women’s Softball World Cup 2017 in Clearwater, and finished fourth place in the WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship 2018 in Chiba, Japan.

“She also plays for the national team, and they qualified for the Olympic Games. Would be amazing for us to play baseball and softball in the Olympics at the same time.”



Preview: Korea, Japan to battle in Super Round Finale

Preview: Korea, Japan to battle in Super Round Finale
15/11/2019
Japan and Korea will meet two nights in a row, once tonight in the Super Round Finale, the other in the WBSC Premier12 Championship Game.

The Tokyo Dome will host a preview of the 2019 Premier12 Championship game tonight, as no. 1 ranked Japan and no. 3 ranked Korea go head-to-head.

Korea guaranteed their place in the Tokyo2020 Olympics, as well as the 2019 Premier12 Championship game with a 7-3 win over no. 6 ranked Mexico last night. Korea plated all of their seven runs in the fifth inning, Hyun-Soo Kim’s three-run double capped off the inning for the defending Premier12 champions.

Korea’s victory also sealed Japan’s place in the Premier12 Championship game. Japan, who finished third at the 2015 Premier12, are coming off a 3-1 win over Mexico on Wednesday night. Three hits for Hayato Sakamoto and a stunning six inning start from Shota Imanaga lead Japan to their second win of the Super Round.

Korea will send Seungho Lee to the mound for the second time this tournament. Lee saw one inning of work in Group C against Cuba, striking out two and allowing one hit.

Takayuki Kishi makes his third appearance at the 2019 Premier12 after two relief appearances against Chinese Taipei and Australia. The right-hander has struck out one and conceded one hit in three innings of work.

First pitch is slated for 19:00 JST at the Tokyo Dome tonight.



Preview: Medal games on the line as Australia take on Chinese Taipei

Preview: Medal games on the line as Australia take on Chinese Taipei
15/11/2019
A win for Australia sees them qualify for the Bronze Medal game ... The US will take on Mexico in the Bronze Medal game if Chinese Taipei win.

No. 7 ranked Australia has a Bronze Medal game in their sights as they take on no. 4 ranked Chinese Taipei in the WBSC Premier12 this afternoon.

A win for Australia would guarantee a bronze medal game against no. 6 ranked Mexico, who fell to no. 3 ranked Korea last night.

If Chinese Taipei win, it sets up a bronze medal game between Mexico and no. 2 ranked USA. The winner of a potential Mexico v USA Bronze Medal game would automatically qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Chinese Taipei fell out of Premier12 contention with a 3-2 loss against the US yesterday. Chinese Taipei lead by one in the bottom of the seventh, before US right-fielder Brent Rooker crushed a two-run homer to give the US a lead. Despite a strong start from Sheng-Feng Wu, Chinese Taipei failed to score in the late innings, sealing a win for the US.

Australia kept their Bronze Medal hopes alive with a nail-biting 2-1 over the US on Wednesday. Australian starter Tim Atherton struck out four in five one-hit innings, while Aaron Whitefield’s two-RBI single in the first inning held up.

Former MLBer Chih-Wei Hu toes the rubber for Chinese Taipei and makes his second appearance at the 2019 Premier12. The big righty struck out three and gave up one unearned run against Japan in their Opening Round game.

Australia will counter with veteran right-hander Dushan Ruzic. Ruzic allowed one run in four innings in Australia’s Super Round opener against Japan on Monday.

First pitch from the Tokyo Dome is slated for 12:00 JST.



Premier12 prize money tops $5m

Premier12 prize money tops $5m
15/11/2019
WBSC to introduce bonus money for each win and winning the opening round in Premier12 global baseball tournament, Olympic Qualifier. WBSC Premier12 to distribute the highest amount of world ranking points in baseball.

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) will distribute a total amount of $5.2 million USD in prize money for the WBSC Premier12®, marking a 40% increase over the inaugural edition of this major international baseball event in 2015.

As part of the new prize money structure, WBSC will reward teams for each win and winning the opening round — in addition to how a team places in the final standings.

Full press release available here.



Kim Kyungmoon: “We’re going to play very well in Tokyo 2020”

Kim Kyungmoon: “We’re going to play very well in Tokyo 2020”
15/11/2019
“I’m very happy and pleased for the ticket to the Olympic Games,” said Kim Hyunsoo

Korea beat Mexico today at the Tokyo Dome, and secured his presence in next year’s Olympic Games and the final game of the Premier12. After this historic win, manager Kim Kyungmoon and left fielder Kim Hyunsoo expressed their feelings during the press conference.

Both, manager and player, will be back in the Olympics after winning the Gold Medal in Beijing 2008.

“Today we clinched the ticket to the Olympic Games next year, so therefore I feel we have less pressure now, after this game,” started the Korean skipper. “Twelve years ago I was the manager of the Olympic team. Then after some intervals I became again the manager of the National Team, and today I want to commend and congratulate my players and coaching staff for their efforts. I’m sure we’re going to play very well in Tokyo 2020.”

Kim Hyunsoo had a calm reaction: “We’ve clinched our ticket to the Olympics, so I’m very happy and pleased about that.”

Asked about the remaining games of the Premier12, Kim Kyungmoon stated: “Tomorrow’s game is the last match of the Super Round, but we have another game against Japan the day after tomorrow. Some of our players are a bit tired, because of the continuous games during the tournament, so I’d like to give them some rest.”

The manager changed the batting order for today’s game, putting Lee Jung-Hoo in the leadoff spot. “There was not a particular idea about the change. In the previous game against Chinese Taipei we didn’t score any run, therefore I wanted to make a change and take a new approach with the lineup. That’s the only reason.”

The last two games Kim Hyunsoo went 0-for-5, but today produced three runs with a bases-clearing double in the fifth. “It’s a team effort, not only me but all my teammates, especially in this kind of representative teams. It’s not about one player, but everyone. Today, Mexico scored first so I thought that I needed to do my best effort, and all my teammates would follow me. And it happened.”

Tomorrow Korea will close the Super Round against Japan.