‘Hiking with sandbags’…Varsity Leadoff’s performance didn’t just happen

Leadoff hitter and outfielder Ahn Soo-ji, 34, is doing her part for the Korean women’s national baseball team. In the third game of their group stage at the 2023 Baseball World Cup (BFA) in Hong Kong, the Korean women’s national team used Ahn’s excellent slugging percentage and quick feet to defeat “nemesis” the Philippines 9-5 to advance to the Super Round and earn a spot in the World Baseball Classic.

Ahn didn’t hold back. She took on the important role of “leadoff” and actively tried to get on base, and when she did, she ran around and shook her opponents. The highlight of the day was her home slide in the fifth inning.

In the fifth inning, Ahn Soo-ji, who had reached first base with no outs, sprinted home on Park Joo-ah’s single up the middle.

But the Filipino outfielder’s shoulders were stronger than she thought. As the ball sped toward home, Ahn slid right into it. In the process, she collided heavily with the opposing catcher, resulting in an unfortunate out. However, the team’s fighting spirit was boosted by Ansuji’s effort.

After the game, Ahn said, “It hurt when I collided with the catcher. But it didn’t matter because my team was able to beat the Philippines and go to the world stage,” she smiled.

Ansuji’s quick feet are the result of a special drill she has been practicing in secret. She used to run to the top of the mountain with sandbags.

“There’s Mount Achasan in front of my house. I’ve always loved climbing mountains, so I started a few years ago,” she said. He started wearing sandbags because he wanted to speed up his running. And so, twice a week, he ran up Mount Achasan.

Ahn Soo-ji is now a fourth-year outfielder on the national team. She first wore the Korean flag in 2020 when she was 31 years old. 토토사이트 While women’s baseball players can be selected for the national team at the age of 16, she made the team a little later.

This is because she started playing baseball in her 20s. Despite her late introduction to the sport and a broken nose from a ball hit into her nose, her passion for the game never waned. Eventually, as the saying goes, “steady wins the race,” and she was able to make the national team in her 30s.

“I wanted to get better at baseball because I have a strong competitive spirit, and in order to get better at baseball, I went to lessons in addition to social clubs, so I wanted to try out for the national team where I could get systematic training,” she says.

She’s also a master of self-care. Even in Hong Kong, she doesn’t play during breaks, but instead practices yoga nonstop at her hostel. “When my muscles get tight, I get injured,” she says. I have to compete, so I use yoga to keep my body flexible. It’s my routine,” he said.

National team coach Yang Sang-moon said of Ahn Soo-ji, “She is good at learning when you teach her theories. Also, her body is flexible, so her ability to hit is good.”

With the flexibility that comes from yoga and the quick feet that come from training in sandbags, An is now aiming for a medal. “I want to bat more as a leadoff batsman. I have faith in the batsmen behind me. I will run harder up front so that they can score runs.”

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