“Most Memorable Summer” Miracle of Yangshan, a rural town of 350,000 people, and the runner-up spot was a miracle in itself

July 28, 2023 0 Comments

“I think July 2023 will be the most memorable summer of my life.”

The championship didn’t come. But for the month of July, the Mulgum High School baseball team was the pride of Yangshan, a small city with a population of 350,000. The last words of captain Gong Min-seo, 18, showed no sign of regret as he wrote a page of his youth together with everyone.

Mulmungo lost 1-4 to Gyeongbuk High School in the final of the 78th Cheongnyonggi National High School Baseball Championship and Weekend League Wangjungwang at Mokdong Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Sunday to finish as runners-up.

Unlike the concentration in the scoring column throughout the tournament, the team struggled to score a single run in the final. They had scoring chances in every inning except the fifth against Gyeongbuk High starter Lee Seung-heon, but they couldn’t hold on to the last changeup that fell. “We were always strong in our chances in this tournament, but we couldn’t score because we were nervous because it was the final,” said Mulmungo coach Kang Seung-young after the runner-up finish. “But I think that’s okay, too. We only have three seniors (Gong Min-seo, Kang Kang-kyung, and Ko Seung-hyun) and the rest are underclassmen. I think we played a game that showed more hope than disappointment, and I think we will become more mature through this tournament.”

Despite being unable to overcome the early onslaught from Kyungpook National University, Mulmungo’s third-year starter Bae Kang-hyun went eight innings (102 pitches) with seven hits, three walks, six strikeouts, and four runs (three earned). He settled down as he pitched, keeping the game close until the end.

Coach Kang Seung-young said, “(Bae) Kang-hyun has always been my ace. I think he was a little nervous at the beginning, but he kept his faith and finished the game well,” and thanked him, saying, “I don’t know what he will do in the draft, but I think he has the potential to go to the pros, so I hope you will look forward to him in the future.”

Mulmungo was called the miracle team of the tournament. In the round of 16 against Masango, they were down 1-11 after three games, but came back with a metallurgical score to win 14-12. In the quarterfinals, they defeated favorite Chungamgo 11-9 in a suspended game to reach their first ever quarterfinal. In the quarterfinals, they defeated Gyeonggi Sangsang Sanggo, who had also reached the top four for the first time, 13-5, to advance to the national finals.

With that, Mulgogo reached the finals of the national tournament for the first time in its eight years of existence. Their previous best result was the quarterfinals of the 2020 Association Championships (now E-Mart Vessel). At the center of it all was third-year captain Gong Min-seo. Min-seo, who plays center field, won the Most Valuable Player award after batting .571 (21-for-12) with eight RBIs, seven runs scored, and two stolen bases in five games. He also pitched on the mound in the quarterfinals against Chungamgo (⅓ innings, no hits, no walks, two strikeouts) due to poor team conditions.

She gave it her all, and there was not a trace of regret on her captain’s face when they met after the runner-up finish. “I think it was a really good memory,” said Gong Min-seo. I think July 2023 will be the most memorable summer of my life,” he said with a smile, adding, “I think the image of Mulgeumgo being strong was planted through this competition. We have only the phoenix years left, but the juniors have next year. I hope they will gain confidence through this competition and win next year.”

It was also up to the captain to take care of the members who were saddened by the runner-up finish. Gong Min-seo said, “Some members were crying after the tournament, but I told them, ‘Your tears shouldn’t end today. There should be something we can learn from them. I think there are successes in failure, so I told them, ‘This defeat today is a process for us to move forward. We didn’t lose, so let’s not be afraid and let’s go out with a bang,'” he said.

Although the team ended up as runners-up, Mulgungo’s run to the national tournament was nothing short of miraculous for Yangsan, a small city of 350,000 people, which is why more than 100 Mulgungo students, players’ families, and many Yangsan officials, including Yangsan Representatives Yoon Young-seok (Yangsan 1) and Kim Doo-kwan (Yangsan 2), KBO Commissioner Heo Gu-yeon, and Yangsan Mayor Na Dong-yeon, traveled to Mokdong Baseball Stadium for the final game.

It has been a miracle since the baseball club was founded. In 2013 and 2014, Yangsan Wondong Middle School won the Presidential National Middle School Baseball Tournament for the second consecutive year. Heo Gu-yeon and Yangsan Mayor Na Dong-yeon joined forces to create the Wondong Middle School baseball team in 2011, and the results achieved within two years helped the team gain momentum to become the first high school baseball team in Yangsan in 2015.

Eight years later, Mulmungo became the first high school baseball team founded 10 years or less in the 21st century to reach the finals of a national tournament. The team’s success is expected to inspire baseball enthusiasm not only in Yangshan but also in other small cities in the province. In the past, before there was professional baseball, high school baseball played a role in publicizing the region.

Just as Wondong Middle School, which was on the verge of closing, succeeded in becoming self-sustaining as a school specializing in sports, high school baseball can be a way to revive small towns as they lose their strength due to the increasing concentration in the metropolitan area. Inspired by Mulgeum-go’s propaganda, the city of Yangsan is working with Governor Heo Gu-yeon to build a baseball stadium and a women’s national baseball training center.

After pulling off the miracle, Mulmungo’s baseball team hopes that their achievement will not be a one-off, but will give hope to other local high school baseball teams. Captain Gong Min-seo said, “Not only students from our school, but also officials from Yangshan City came to the stadium, and it would have been better if we could have won in front of them. However, I think we did our best as they supported us a lot. I hope they will continue to give us a lot of attention and support.”바카라사이트

“I don’t think we are disappointed with our runner-up finish,” said Kang Seung-young. I hope that Mulgeumgo’s achievement will serve as an opportunity for new schools like us to become a team that can make waves if we don’t give up and do our best until the end. We are left with such pride.”

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