A home run shocked the Japanese team, and young China baseball returned to the world series stage.

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China hit a home run. (00:20)

After five years’ return to the peak stage of international baseball, the China men’s baseball team used a home run to show the world their determination and potential to compete with the top teams.

On the evening of March 9th, in Tokyo Dome Gymnasium, Japan, the 5th world baseball classic (hereinafter referred to as WBC) Group B match kicked off. The Chinese baseball team challenged the host country Japan in the opening match and finally lost 1-8.

But in this "first show" of returning to the world stage, the young China team proved its potential with a home run.

"This team is full of passion, energy and vitality, and the players are also very studious. They have made progress in every game in the past few months." Dean Tereno, an American baseball player who just took over the China team, is full of confidence in these China players.

"I believe they will be the future of China baseball, and they also have the ability to shock the world."

Dean Tereno, an American baseball player, coached the China team.

not/never yield an inch of territory

The Chinese baseball team is actually a frequent visitor to WBC. As the highest level baseball game in the world today, WBC is authorized by the World Baseball Federation and sponsored by Major League Baseball. Since it was first held in 2005, it has been held every four years, and its influence and importance are equivalent to the World Cup in football.

China team participated in the first four WBC events, including two in the top 12.

However, due to the impact of the epidemic, WBC was closed for many years. When WBC officially announced its restart at the beginning of this year, a large number of players in the qualified China team were "fresh faces". Together with Dean Tereno, a famous American coach who just took over the China team, this China team can be regarded as a "strange team" on the top stage in the world.

In contrast, the host Japanese team just won the Tokyo Olympic Games and now ranks first in the world. In order to win back the WBC championship, the team recalled a number of all-star players in American professional baseball, including Shohei Ohtani, the MVP of Major League Baseball in 2021.

Shohei Ohtani is in the game.

Tickets for the WBC opener were sold out early-more importantly, its attention and topic continued from the announcement of the schedule to the official start of the game. Even before the game, the Japanese media speculated on many off-site topics.

According to Japanese media reports such as "Tokyo Sports" and the news agency, at the media meeting the day before the game, Dean, the coach of the China team, angrily denounced the Japanese media for distorting his joke into the meaning of "China will give up before playing".

The cause of this episode is that China coach Dean was asked by Japanese local media at another press conference three days ago, "Who are the players on the Japanese team who need to be careful?" And he joked-"If possible, I hope that Shohei Ohtani will be caught in a taxi or bus jam on the way to the stadium.".

This joke actually comes from the 2021 season, when Otsuka Pingyuan, who joined the los angeles angels team, played as a starter. As a result, he was temporarily replaced because he was one hour late for the traffic jam.

However, Dean’s joke was misinterpreted by some Japanese media. In the report, it was described as "China is afraid of Shohei Ohtani, hoping that he can be stopped by accident and can’t play", and even evolved into the "white flag theory" that "China gave up before the start of the game".

Dean, a 75-year-old coach, obviously didn’t want to lose momentum before the game, so he deliberately explained and corrected the Japanese media’s statement, and stressed at the last press conference one hour before the opening game that "China players are ready, and we will show our strength."

Japanese men’s soccer coach Hajime Moriyasu kicked off the game.

A home run proves himself.

Judging from the "Sino-Japanese duel" in Group B of this WBC tournament, although there is a huge gap in the pitcher’s ability, China did play their spirit as coach Dean said.

At the beginning of the game, Shohei Ohtani, the "chosen son" of the Japanese team, taught the young hitters in China a lesson with a high-speed ball with a speed of more than 150km/h-he solved the top three hitters in China with 11 balls, while the starting pitcher in China was Wang Xiang, who was only 19 years old.

Amid the clamor of 41,616 spectators at the scene, Wang Xiang exposed his lack of ball control ability as soon as he entered the court, and sent out four balls in succession to walk his opponent to base.

However, China’s defenders showed great concentration at the beginning, forcing the Japanese team to score only one point in the excellent situation of the first game with a "double kill".

Dean encouraged the players.

But in the second game, when Wang Xiang threw a dangerous situation with bases loaded again, coach Dean quickly stepped onto the court, rotated the pitchers and replaced the 21-year-old Wang. It was this substitution of Dean’s coach that made Shohei Ohtani’s infield grounder blocked at first base and successfully resolved the crisis of full base.

In the following game, China’s relay pitchers Wang Weiyi and Sun Hailong helped the team to resolve many crises under the on-the-spot guidance of Dean, but Shohei Ohtani, whose shooting ability reached the top in the world, hit a second base hit in the second half of the third inning to help two teammates run back to home plate and rewrite the score to 3-0.

The China team played an imposing manner.

That is, after this game, Shohei Ohtani was replaced by the Japanese team’s relay pitcher Kawamura Shoji-this substitution of the Japanese team once became a turning point in the game.

In the sixth game, China team Liang Pei swung the bat vigorously, hitting the ball thrown by Huxiang Xiangzheng 90 meters away and then sending it to the stands. At that moment, the Tokyo Dome Gymnasium suddenly fell silent, and the stadium that was originally screaming loudly could hear the cheers of China’s substitute seats from the middle and back rows of the audience.

Liang Pei’s home run was the first home run on the spot. Before that, several top hitters in the center of the Japanese team failed to complete the home run.

"Liang Pei’s hit was excellent. After getting this point, I thought we had a chance to beat the Japanese team." Coach Dean also mentioned the home run when he resumed the game after the game.

Regrettably, these young China players still lack experience in international competitions. Facing the more mature Japanese team, China players failed to continue their good state to the end. "We didn’t continue to score points later."

After China lost another point in the seventh game, the opponent hit hits and home runs in the eighth game, losing four points in a row, and the game lost its suspense …

However, the home run that China took the lead in this game has shocked the international baseball world. Even Shohei Ohtani affirmed the performance of China when interviewed by Japanese media after the game.

"This China team played very well. They once pushed us very hard and kept the game interesting."

Coach Dean coached the players on the spot.

There will be opportunities to "shock the world" in the future.

No matter how much "politeness and civility" Shohei Ohtani had in his post-match evaluation, the young China team did prove their potential with this solid home run.

More importantly, due to the tight schedule set by WBC, coach Dean of the China team retained some of the team’s strength through substitution-Judging from the starting lineup, China didn’t do its best. In the case of obvious disparity in strength between the two sides, coach Dean left a hand for the next few games in the group stage.

On the other hand, in the arrangement of pitchers, coach Dean played a "wheel battle" against the center of the Japanese team, in order to make every young pitcher adapt to the intensity and pressure of international competitions as soon as possible while retaining his physical strength.

"There is not only one WBC competition this time. We have also made a reasonable plan and hope to prepare for the following competitions."

"I like the state of the players on the court very much. They basically carried out the tasks assigned by the coach. I think their execution in the competition is very good."

For this China team, which has little experience in international competitions in the past three years, the final result of 1-8 is not unacceptable-you know, on the highest stage of WBC, China lost to the Japanese team by 16 points in the first quarter, and China lost 3 points at least once in the next three WBC competitions.

Foreign teachers give guidance to China players.

"There is a big gap between our pitching lineup and our opponents. We need to play more aggressive pitching." When coach Dean talked about the continuous improvement of the team, he repeatedly emphasized pitchers and mistakes."I hope the China team can play clean and have no mistakes, but we obviously have too many mistakes in this game."

In Dean’s view, the China team has indeed been improving since he took over, but these young people must also see their own shortcomings-if these obvious shortcomings can be solved, these China players have the ability to play more closely with many strong teams including Japan.

"These China players are still very young. They are improving all the time. They are getting better both in hitting the ball and in other aspects. But if you don’t win the game, these progress will become meaningless. "

Dean said frankly that China’s line play can compete with Japanese line play, and the gap is not that big, which is why he believed that China team has the ability to "shock the world" after leading the team for several months.

"I believe they will be the future of China baseball, and they also have the ability to shock the world."