Growing up with a baseball-loving father, I was introduced to the game through TV broadcasts at the age of 7. Later, with my father’s hand in mine, we would often visit a shepherd’s ballpark near our home.
One day, while returning home from a baseball game, I saw a sign that said, “Heroes Little League is looking for kids,” and I was inspired to play baseball myself. I threw the ball bravely, even though I was in the middle of a group of boys.
She played baseball for more than eight years, and eventually became a national team member who wears the flag on her chest and competes in international competitions. This is the story of Lee Yoo-jin (17), a pitcher for the South Korean women’s national baseball team.
National pitcher Lee Yoo-jin was invited by the Kiwoom Heroes to throw out the ceremonial first pitch for their home game against the Samsung Lions at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on April 28.
Before taking the mound, Lee greeted the Kiwoom fans and said, “I’ve been dreaming of being a baseball player since I was a kid, watching the Heroes games. More than 10 years later, I’m honored to be able to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Gocheok Dome.”
“There is a saying in baseball, ‘It’s not over until it’s over,'” Lee said. I hope that Kiwoom will succeed in turning the tables in the second half and go to even greater heights. Go Kiwoom!” and took the mound.
When contacted by Sports Seoul after the first pitch, Lee laughed, saying, “I threw a fastball, but I was nervous and it slipped out of my hand a little bit.”
He had an assistant before the game. Kim Dong-heon (19), a rookie catcher for Kiwoom and a member of the national team for the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games (AG).
Kim and Lee are juniors in the Yeongdeungpo-gu Little Baseball Team. Although they haven’t played together for a long time, they have greeted each other back and forth. Lee, who played for Yeongdeungpo-gu Little Baseball Team for two years starting in 2018, often said, “I’m proud that my brother, who has been throwing baseballs with me since childhood, joined a professional baseball team and became a member of the national team.”
“We went to the Gocheok Dome bullpen for batting practice. I met my brother (Kim) Dong-heon there. He recognized me and said, ‘It’s been a while,’ so I played catch with him for about 15 minutes.”
Kim Dong-heon, like a national catcher, sat back and took the ball from Lee Yoo-jin. “He recognized at once that I grip the four-seam fastball differently. I hold it a little differently than everyone else, but that’s how I get a good balance, so that’s how I throw it,” she said.
“It was much more nerve-wracking than an international game,” said Lee. “Even though Heroes hasn’t won a championship yet, I’ve always been with them for the past 11 years, even when they were runners-up or third, with all my heart. It’s an honor to be able to throw out the ceremonial first pitch for my favorite team. I feel like I did a good job playing baseball.” Lee is now 17 years old and a sophomore in high school, so he’s been with the Heroes for more than half of his life.
In her second year with the national team after earning her first call-up last year, Lee pitched two shutout innings in three games at the 2023 Women’s Baseball Asian Cup (BFA) in Hong Kong in late May, helping South Korea earn a valuable bronze medal.
On August 6, the team will travel to Thunder Bay, Canada, for the 2024 Women’s Baseball World Cup (WBSC) qualifiers. Under the leadership of Yang Sang-moon, 20 members of the women’s national baseball team, including Lee Yoo-jin, have been training hard to qualify for the tournament, sweating through heavy rain and heat.메이저사이트
“I want to make a big impression on the people,” said Lee. “The team did well at the Asian Cup, but I want to do better at the World Cup and definitely qualify. My goal is to showcase women’s baseball on the big stage and make it a popular sport like women’s volleyball.
Meanwhile, the Korean women’s national baseball team will play five consecutive days of qualifying matches from Sept. 9-13 (KST). The team is in Group A with Canada, the United States, Australia, Hong Kong, and Mexico. The team’s goal is to go 3-2 and keep their hopes of qualifying alive.