The Korean National Team fell to Chinese Taipei 0-4 in the first game of the 2023 Asian Baseball Championship on Wednesday at Taipei Dome in Taipei, Taiwan.
Except for two hits by Kim Sung-woo (LG), who wore the starting mask, and one hit each by Jung Jun-young (KT) and Lee Min-joon (Hanwha), the rest of the batters struggled against the Taiwanese pitching staff.
Shin Heon-min (SSG) started the game and gave up three runs on six hits in two innings, followed by Woo Kang-hoon (LOTTE), who gave up one run in 3 2/3 innings. Lee Byung-heon (Doosan), Kim Dong-hyuk (Kiwoom), and Jeong Hyun-soo (Lotte) followed with scoreless innings, but the bats could not explode in the end.
Photo via CPBL Official SNS
Taiwan’s starting pitcher, Hsiu Wah-hsi (徐若熙), was a force to be reckoned with. She pitched seven scoreless innings and struck out 10 to shut down the Korean National Team bats.
Hsieh is a 23-year-old right-hander born in 2000 who throws a hard fastball that tops out at 157 mph. He made his professional debut in 2021 with the Weichen Dragons of the Taiwanese League, where he became known as the “Taiwanese Kim Kwang-hyun” as his pitch count was managed by the club.
In his debut game that year, Xu turned heads by striking out 11 straight batters. At the time, MLB.com said of his debut, “Xu Luo-hsi pitched well, reminiscent of Taiwanese ace Wang Chen-ming (王建民), who played in the major leagues.”굿모닝토토
This season, Hsieh took to the mound in the Taiwan League in the second half of the season after undergoing elbow surgery. He went 1-0 with a 1.17 ERA in five starts.
Then, in the Taiwan Series (best-of-seven best-of-four series), with Wei Chen down 2-3 in the series, Xu was the hero, pitching seven scoreless innings and striking out seven to save the day. Weichen went on to win Game 7 to clinch their first Taiwanese league title in 24 years, and Xu was named the Taiwan Series MVP.
Hsieh was named to the roster for South Korea early on. Notably, the national team’s head coach, Hsieh Ching-ming, had mixed feelings about her selection. In a pre-game interview with Taiwanese media outlet TSNA, the head coach said of Hsieh: “I know him as the best pitcher in Taiwan. I’m worried that our players won’t be able to hit his pitches,” he said. However, he added, “I believe in our players. We will get the win today.”
Xu shut down the Korean bats until the seventh inning with a total of 77 pitches on the day. He finished the inning with an average of 10 pitches per inning. That’s how powerful her pitches were. In particular, he threw a fastball that averaged 150 kilometers per hour and a variety of other pitches, including a slider, changeup, and forkball.
For his performance, Xu was recognized as an ‘internationally competitive’ pitcher. Especially with the KBO League introducing the substitute foreign player system (a system that allows teams to sign a foreign player to temporarily replace an existing foreigner on the rehabilitation roster due to a long-term injury) from next season, and with several clubs announcing their intention to replace foreign players, it is expected that more domestic teams will be watching Xu Luo-shi.
Meanwhile, the Korean national team will take a one-day break before taking on Hong Kong in the second leg of the tournament at the Taichung Intercontinental Stadium on Nov. 5.