“Fill up your stomach” Home run candidate responds to best friend’s bruise with a laugh
“Fill your belly.”
Noh Si-hwan (23-Hanwha Eagles) and Won Tae-in (23-Samsung Lions) are best friends. Despite their close personal friendship, when they’ve faced off in the KBO, they’ve fought a war without gunfire. But now it’s different. After being named to the Korean baseball team for the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games, the best friends have their eyes set on a common goal: gold.
Noh Si-hwan and Won Tae-in are the heart of South Korea’s batting lineup. Noh is on pace to win the home run title after hitting 31 home runs this season and will be the centerpiece of the batting order at the Asian Games. Won Tae-in, who posted a 3.19 ERA in 2023 (3rd among Korean starters) and 17 quality starts (6 starts with 3 or fewer earned runs – 2nd among Korean starters), will also play a key role at the Games.
The two best friends couldn’t have been more different in the evaluation game with Sangmu before their departure. While Won pitched two perfect innings, Noh was silent, going 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. Noh hasn’t pitched in a while after being called up to the Asian Games team, so it’s likely that he’s out of practice. Noh will be asked to play the center field role at the Asian Games, so he’ll need to pick up his batting pace quickly.
Won Tae-in also hopes that Noh will find his game as soon as possible. After the final training session at the Gocheok Sky Dome on the 27th, Won Tae-in was interviewed by the media and called out to Noh as he walked by, saying, “Fill up your stomach.” He joked. It’s not surprising, given their close friendship. Won Tae-in said, “We’re on the national team with the goal of winning gold. Noh Si-hwan has to do really well. I’m telling him to get his act together. The atmosphere is so good that I can say this. If he can take the pressure off himself, I think he can do better.”
Noh Si-hwan is also frustrated. He said, “I know that not only Won Tae-in, but my teammates are expecting a lot from me. I try not to be greedy for home runs as much as possible. I will approach the plate with the idea of hitting the center of the bat. If I do that, I’m sure I’ll hit a lot of home runs,” he said, expressing his desire to get back on track as soon as possible.
In fact, Noh is also playing his first international game with the Korean flag. “I was also selected for the national team for the first time. I don’t know how nervous I’ll be when I go out on the field, but I’m going to do my best and play with the mindset that I’m here to win. I think I’ll have fun and do well once I’m relaxed and adapted,” he laughed.
He also expressed his faith in his teammates. Hard-hitters like Moon Bo-kyung (23-LG Twins) and Kang Baek-ho (25-KT Wiz) will be batting alongside Noh in the center of the lineup, as well as league-leading players like Kim Hye-sung (24-Keum Heroes) and Kim Joo-won (21-NC Dinos). “There are so many good players on the national team,” said Noh Si-hwan. Even if I’m not good enough, I have good hitters with me. I’m not going to put any pressure on myself. I’ll leave the home runs to the heavens. I will focus on fighting with the pitcher at the plate.”캡틴토토
He has also thoroughly analyzed his opponents. “I heard that Taiwan is the strongest opponent. Japan is of course a good team, but when I watched the video, Taiwan also has a lot of good players. They also seem to have similarities with Korean pitchers. However, I’m not afraid because I had good results against strong pitchers in the KBO League. I will analyze and prepare well,” he said.
At Hanwha, she played mostly third base, but she can also play first base for the national team. He is confident in any position. “As a first baseman, I’m always confident. I’m not afraid of the ball. I’m also confident in my pitching. I can play first base well enough. I will do my best,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Korean baseball team will depart for Hangzhou on the 28th through Incheon Airport. Next month, the team will play Group B qualifying rounds against Hong Kong on the first day, Chinese Taipei on the second day, and the top team of the qualifying round on the third day.