The national team ‘Jia-Jua’ keystone combination… “Please look forward to the double play after the sliding catch!” 

 ‘Keystone Combi’. It is a combination of shortstop and second baseman. Shortstop and second baseman are the core of the infield defense and need quick movement and the ability to quickly judge the situation. It also plays a role in completing double plays.

The keystone combination of the 2023 women’s baseball team led by coach Yang Sang-moon is shortstop Park Joo-ah (19) and second baseman Lee Ji-ah (21). The two have been working together in the keystone in the infield for two consecutive years following last year.

National team head coach Yang Sang-moon and national team defense coach Jeong Geun-woo are pinning high expectations on the two. Park Joo-ah said, “The word ‘keystone combination’ is actually burdensome. However, since the manager and coaches trust us and appoint us, I want to overcome the pressure and do well.”

The two became ‘a relationship where you can communicate just by looking at each other’. Since last year, we have continued to match the sum, and the two of us deliberately stick together for the catch ball.

Park Joo-ah said, “Conversation between the shortstop and the second baseman is important when various situations occur, such as when runners are on first and third base, when a bunt hits, and so on. So (Lee) Jia unnie and I continue to make plans and talk while eating and resting at the dorm. For example, the hand signal is like how to do it,” he explained.

In fact, the two continued to work together, talk about hand signals, and encourage each other throughout national team training. He did not lose his smile even in the training of throwing the ball quickly and repeatedly.

Second baseman Lee Ji-ah is receiving tweezers tutoring from coach Jung Geun-woo, who has been called the ‘devil’s second baseman’. Coach Jung was the national second baseman representing Korea.

Lee Ji-ah said, “Coach Jung Geun-woo was the second baseman and leadoff during his active career. His defensive position and batting order are very similar to mine. So he always clings to the coach and asks a lot of questions. It’s a question like ‘what do you think when you go to bat’, ‘what do you think when you are on defense’.”

Coach Chung’s answer was ‘set a mission’. Lee Ji-ah said, “The coach told me that I had set a mission like ‘If I’m not feeling well today, I’ll hit a ground ball in front of the second baseman’.” Lee Ji-ah is constantly improving her skills while receiving the teachings of coach Jung, who is also her role model.

Park Joo-ah basically has a strong shoulder. However, these days, a lot of attention is being paid to the ‘defensive sense’ that a shortstop should have.

Park Joo-ah, who often watches the play of shortstop Kim Ha-seong (San Diego Padres), who is playing in the American Major League (MLB), said, “I think shortstop sense is very important. When the ball comes he has to decide quickly where to send it and what to do with it.”

Park Joo-ah is also developing into a perfect shortstop under the guidance of coach Chung. Park Joo-ah said, “After the coach came, we continue to practice the situation we will face in the international competition. Until then, he played with the thought, ‘Is it okay to do this?’, but he learned how to play in professional baseball with the correct posture. I am trying to apply things in my own way through what the coach told me.”

The fielders, including the two, are constantly trying to match the defensive sum under the guidance of coach Chung. Practice the strategy over and over again. It might be exhausting, but I’m so immersed that it’s regrettable that the training session is coming to an end every time.

The women’s baseball team will participate in the Asian Cup (BFA) to be held in Hong Kong on the 26th. If you place within 4th out of 12 countries, you can win the right to participate in the world competition.

Park Joo-ah said, “I want to handle her ball stably without any mistakes. The pitcher and catcher are having a hard time, but (Lee) Jia and I want to hold the ball well and give a sense of stability from behind,” she said.

Lee Ji-ah laughed, saying, “I made a sliding catch, caught 스포츠토토 the ball, passed it to the shortstop with a glove, and then the shortstop stepped on the second base base and threw it straight to first base to catch a double play.”

The two have strong faith in each other. You can tell what kind of play each other will play just by looking at their eyes. The strong Keystone combination makes its debut through an international competition. The two, who are only in their early 20s in Korean age, are a resource that can easily defend the infield of the Korean national team for the next 10 years.

“I will definitely win the medal!” Jiah Lee exclaimed boldly. “I want to achieve good results and let the people know that our country’s women’s baseball has this level of skill!” Park Joo-ah also clenched her fists. An international stage where the two can show their full potential is just around the corner. The moment when the keystone combination of ‘Jia and Joo’ will also be revealed to the world has arrived.

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