The Korean baseball team won the gold medal. This is the fourth consecutive Asian Games gold medal.
Although it is a very auspicious event for Korean baseball, there are players who are reflecting on their great disappointment in this victory. A representative example is Lee Ui-ri (21, KIA Tigers). My fingers are too sore to bury it in the joy of winning a gold medal.
Since Lee Ui-ri was a member of the last Tokyo Olympics and this season’s WBC, it is inevitable that he will be eliminated from Hangzhou AG this time. This is especially true because the reason for the elimination was ‘an injury that is not an injury.’
It is heartbreaking for the player. But after the rain, the ground hardens. KIA Lee Ui-ri has been showing signs of improvement recently. Although the end of the season is not far away, it seems that the potential is gradually exploding.
Immediately after being eliminated from the national team, Lee Ui-ri pitched well in two consecutive games. On October 3rd, he started in a visiting game against KT Wiz in the 2023 KBO League held at KT Wiz Park in Suwon and allowed 4 hits and 5 walks in 5⅓ innings, but struck out 4 at each turn and allowed 1 run.
Lee Ui-ri, who threw a fastball with a top speed of 152 km per hour, recorded the number of pitches up to 109, the most this season. He still showed some disappointment in his control. However, it is much better than before, and it is encouraging to see that even after 100 pitches, he showed an incredible speed of over 150km.
He also has good records in the last two games. He pitched 12.1 innings, allowing 1 run and 5 walks. On September 27th last month, Lee Ui-ri took the mound in the second game of a doubleheader against the NC Dinos and made a ‘show of force’ by allowing 3 hits and no runs over 7 innings.
Lee Ui-ri recently had a big change of heart. He is a player who has always followed an elite course without failure since high school. As soon as he entered Gwangju Il High School in his first year of high school, he was a player who attracted attention enough to face second-year student Gu-beom Jeong in the Deoksu Classic in the quarterfinals of the Golden Lion. That year, he won the Golden Lion, and later that year, at the National Sports Festival, he led the team to victory with an ace. From his second year onwards, he stood tall as a national ace. He is a left-handed pitcher who throws up to 148 km/h and has already booked first place in his sophomore year.
Even after entering his professional career, he quickly achieved 10 wins, won Rookie of the Year, and was even selected to the national team. It was a smooth course that allowed him to start in the 3rd or 4th place match at the Tokyo Olympics. For Lee Ui-ri, being eliminated from the Asian Games was no different from the biggest ordeal he had ever experienced.레고토토
However, Lee Ui-ri is venting his pain in the right direction on the mound. He said, “I will throw for the KIA Tigers and my senior team members who comforted and supported me.”
In fact, there is no official who would not acknowledge that Jegu is the No. 1 left-handed pitcher in the country, based on his performance in the last two games. This means that being eliminated from the national team does not mean that Lee Ui-ri’s value has decreased.
If he wants, he can get the opportunity three years later at the 2026 Nagoya Asian Games. Even in this AG, Korea did not have a single left-handed starter. Additionally, he is a left-handed fireballer who fits the trend of the international stage. The international stage demands fast pitchers who can hit with power. Considering the ever-increasing number of left-handed hitters, the importance of left-handed pitchers goes without saying.
Although he suffered great pain, the KIA Tigers may be able to gain a true first-choice left-handed fireballer. Lee Ui-ri is only 21 years old to be frustrated or stopped by this incident.
Above all, the qualities he possesses are very valuable to the Korean baseball world.