(WBC) Down but not out, S. Korean players focused on winning

TOKYO, With South Korea having dropped its first two games at the ongoing World Baseball Classic (WBC), outfielder Lee Jung-hoo said on Sunday all is not well inside the clubhouse.


It was a candid admission from a player who typically doesn’t reveal much.


“The vibe isn’t that great,” Lee said at Tokyo Dome during a pregame workout. South Korea was to face the Czech Republic in a must-win contest beginning at noon. “But we have to keep on playing games, so we have to stay prepared.”

South Korea began the competition with an 8-7 loss to Australia on Thursday, and then got pounced 13-4 by Japan the following day. South Korea must now beat the Czechs and then China on Monday just to have a shot at reaching the quarterfinals as one of the top two teams in Pool B.


No longer in control of its own destiny, South Korea must hold off Australia and the Czech Republic in a tiebreaker.


Lee said there wasn’t any pep talk from the leadership group Sunday.


“No one has to say anything to get the team fired up. We know it’s an important game,” Lee said. “We just have to play well. That’s all there is to it.”


Outfielder Park Kun-woo, who will bat leadoff to replace Tommy Edman, also said the team was thinking about winning Sunday and nothing else.

Park, who homered in the Japan loss, did provide a peek into the clubhouse in the aftermath of the loss to Japan.


“When we lose, we lose as a team, not because of any particular individual. And it broke my heart when a few guys stepped up and put the loss on their shoulders,” Park said. “We talked about how we should put the loss behind us because we have an important game today. It’s never about individuals.”


Park said despite the two crushing losses, the players have never lost faith in each other.


“We’ll do whatever it takes to win today,” Park added. “We all trust each other that everyone will do his part to take this game.”


Source: Yonhap News Agency

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