Baekunpo Sports Park in Nam-gu, Busan, on the afternoon of March 31. While dozens of sports enthusiasts were enjoying their respective sports, there were only two players wearing ‘Busan Nam-gu’ baseball uniforms. Jang Sun-jae, head coach of the Busan Nam-gu Little Baseball Team, who had an appointment with an international newspaper reporter, said, “There were originally three players in the team, but one of them went on a school trip. I don’t know if it’s okay (to be interviewed) with only two players,” he said.

The baseball team has a total of six players (three in each of the player and hobby classes). This is the smallest number among the 14 Little League teams in Busan. It’s not as if the population of Busan’s Nam-gu is particularly small. Due to the aftermath of COVID-19 and the creation of another youth baseball team in the area, the number of players has decreased significantly. “Before Corona, we had up to 80 players,” says Jang, “but due to various reasons, the number of players has decreased, and now we are training and competing in a joint team with Yeongdogu Little Baseball Team. We can’t even dream of practicing team play,” he sighs.

Jang founded the baseball team in 2009 with 메이저사이트 Park Jung-tae, a “legend” of the Lotte Giants of the Korean Baseball Organization, and the chairman of the Rainbow Hope Foundation. Within four years of its founding, the team had achieved remarkable results, including winning the Hae Dong-ki National Little Baseball Tournament and the Domino Pizza National Championship the same year. It has also produced professional players. Joo Sung-won (Kiwoom) and Chun Hyun-jae (Kiwoom) are among them. The team also had its first female member. Park Min-sung, 20, is known as the “one-two punch” of the Korean women’s national baseball team, led by Yang Sang-moon. The team recently competed in the Women’s Baseball Asian Cup and won a bronze medal, qualifying for the WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup.

“I first met (Park) in 2004, when she was in fifth grade. “I asked her to throw me a ball as a test without any expectations, but I was surprised to see that the tip of the ball was alive. She hit the ball better than most boys and quickly became our team’s clutch hitter. They said he was an ace on the national team, so I’m really happy for him.”

Currently, the team’s main players are Lee Min-ho (12) and Jung Hyun-joon (13). Lee Min-ho is a pitcher with good control and a great changeup. He uses his curveball as his deciding pitch and has a good slider and changeup. As a fielder, his quick feet allow him to cover a lot of ground and make smart baserunning plays. However, he lacks power, so his velocity isn’t as high and he doesn’t have the ability to produce long balls.

Jung has only been playing baseball for a year, but he has the potential to be the team’s ace. He has good body elasticity and flexibility, so he has a fastball. He has a good size for his age (176 centimeters and 72 kilograms) and has a high OPS as part of the cleanup trio. “I started playing baseball after my grandfather’s friend told me that I was a big guy and asked me to play baseball,” he said. “I want to debut as a professional player and meet Choi Jung, who I always admire.

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