Kang Baek-ho (KT Wiz) and Ryu Chi-rong (US Minor League), representing South Korea and Taiwan at the Asian Games (AG), shared a bittersweet farewell photo.
The South Korean baseball team, led by Ryu Jung-il, defeated Chinese Taipei 2-0 in the final game of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games (AG) on July 7 at the Shaoxing Baseball and Softball Sports Center 1 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China. It was the fourth consecutive Asian Games title since Guangzhou 2010. The victory avenged a 0-4 loss to Chinese Taipei in their Group B opener on Feb. 2 and also snapped a three-game losing streak against the Chinese Taipei.캡틴토토
Players are required to exit the field through the Mix Zone at the end of the game. Su-hoon and other star players were interviewed by their home media in the mix zone.
Liu Zhi-liang, who took the mound in the sixth inning with the score 0-2 and pitched four scoreless innings with only one hit and six strikeouts, was the first to speak to the Taiwanese media. After Kang Baek-ho finished his interview with the Korean press, he walked over and hugged Liu Zhizhong before talking to him face-to-face.
Kang Baek-ho and Liu Zhi-rong chatting in the mix zone. Hangzhou=Hyungseok Lee Reporter
Kang Baekho and Liu Zhizhong met up again a short while later for additional interviews, and each took an affectionate photo with their cell phones.
“Liu Zhizhong is a friend I’ve known since I was a sophomore in high school and played for the national team (at international competitions). We’ve been friends for eight years (since 2016) and have been in frequent contact,” he said.
Speaking about his meeting with Liu after the group stage game against Chinese Taipei, Kang said, “I met him twice in my high school national team (2016 Asian Youth Baseball Championship, 2017 World Youth Baseball Championship), so I was happy to meet him in the adult national team. I think he has improved a lot and has become a good pitcher.”
Kang Baek-ho and Liu Zhilong were born in 1999. Kang won the rookie of the year award after joining KT in 2018. He batted .347 with 16 home runs and 102 RBIs this season despite some struggles. Liu Zhilong moved to the United States in 2021 and is currently playing in Double-A Oxy for the Boston Red Sox. In 114 and one-third innings pitched this season, he is 7-8 with a 5.35 ERA.
When asked about their conversation, Baek-ho Kang said, “We talked about seeing each other again on a good stage.” It’s a heartwarming moment of friendship away from the competitive world.