Throwing a fastball that topped out at 154 kilometres per hour on the scoreboard at Seoul’s Gocheok Sky Dome, Moon Dong-ju (19-Hanwha Eagles) dominated the Korean National Baseball Team’s bats from start to finish.”I was more focused because I was pitching against national team batters,” said Moon, who allowed two hits and struck out five in three innings of scoreless relief in his senior national team debut .Moon was the starting pitcher for the Commerce team in a practice game between the Hangzhou Asian Games baseball team and the National Armed Forces Athletic Corps (Commerce) at the Gocheok Sky Dome on 26 June .The national team wanted to make the most of the once-in-a-lifetime scrimmage and sent several players to the game with the permission of the PLA .Moon’s appearance as the starting pitcher gave him the opportunity to face some of the best hitters in the national baseball team. After striking out three batters in the first inning – Kim Hye-sung (Kiwoom Heroes), Choi Ji-hoon (SSG Landers), and Noh Si-hwan (Hanwha) – Moon shut down the national team bats in the second and third innings with one more strikeout. “I knew I was going to pitch three innings, so I thought I wasn’t going to give up any runs. I was just thinking about finishing well and coming down,” said Moon .Hanwha’s “future ace” is in his second year as a professional. To protect him, Hanwha limited him to 120 innings this season and released him from the first team on May 5 when he had pitched 118⅔ innings. Since then, Moon has been resting and training at Hanwha’s Seosan second team stadium to prepare for his return to the national team. “I thought I shouldn’t rest and not pitch well,” Moon said. The club took good care of me, so I was more focused,” he said. “I was in good shape for my first start in a long time. It went as well as I thought it would, and I felt good with my changeup in particular. It was my first time throwing an official ball at the Asian Games and it was good. “On the day, Moon struck out Noh Si-hwan, a senior on the team and the KBO’s home run leader, with a changeup, something he rarely gets to do. “I was lucky. If he had (hit) me, I would have been teased this year,” he said, adding, “He was more focused on my brother .”Jang Hyun-seok (Masan Yongmago-Los Angeles Dodgers), the third pitcher for the national team, was applauded for his performance .Like Moon Dong-joo, Jang threw one inning of two-hit ball, striking out two and walking none, with a top speed of 154 kilometres per hour on the scoreboard .Moon Dong-ju, who has been keeping a close eye on the youngest Jang Hyun-seok, his next-door neighbour in the national team accommodation, said, “I was surprised. It was the first time I saw him throw and it was good. His changeup was good, and everything was good .”With his performance, Moon has emerged as one of the favourites to start against Taiwan .The team will face Chinese Taipei on the 2nd of next month, and a win in the first round will make it easier for them to qualify for the final in the Super Round. “I don’t know who will start, but I will prepare well for every game. We don’t know what will happen in the short term, so we will prepare for every 안전놀이터 eventuality,” said Moon.

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