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Dream of Victory Vanishes due to May 18 Democratic Movement

Dream of Victory Vanishes due to May 18 Democratic Movement

Posted June. 21, 2007 03:01,   


“Due to the May 18 democratic movement, we lost in the finals.”

Sun Dong-ryul, 44, coach of Samsung Lions, said on June 20 that his team was defeated in a match with Sunlin Commercial High School at the 34th Golden Lion Cup final in 1980 because Gwangju was under martial law at that time.

He was known as the best right-handed pitcher at Gwangju Il High School, which has a reputation for good baseball. However, the Golden Lion championship hasn’t been kind to him. Sun was defeated by Seoul High School two to three in the second round of the 1978 championship when he was freshman in high school, and next year he lost in the first round four to nine to Gyungbuk High School.

Sun led Gwangju to the finals of the 1980 Golden Lion championship. His team won 7-0 over Masan HS in the quarterfinals and won a 4-2 victory over Cheonan Bukil HS in extra innings in the semifinals.

The coach recalled the final game with Sunlin (now Sunlin Internet HS) as unforgettable. He took the mound as the starting pitcher and lost 3-5 to Sunlin after Yoo Ji-hong, who is now LG scout, scratched out a hit which turned the tide of the game, and after Park Noh-joon who is now SBS commentator, hit two-run homer.

Dong-A Ilbo covered the story on October 6 in 1980 and commented that Sun, who won the fighting spirit award of the championship, had shown a high standard of pitching.

“After I took the mound every game, I got tired and Park Noh-joon had been good in that game as well. However, we were playing amid gunshots which were going off all around Gwangju.”

At the time, the government declared martial law during the Gwangju democratization movement in 1980. People could not walk around the streets and every school was temporarily closed.

As Sun could not stay in camp for training, he went to his home in Songjeong and practiced by himself. His father, Sun Pahn-kyu, who passed away last year, helped Gwangju HS coach Cho Chang-soo and some players rode bikes to his home to be trained together. He said soldiers once raided his home and threatened them.

“The individual training continued over three weeks, and teamwork was undermined as a result. The effect that had on our performance in the finals of the Golden Lion championship was obvious.”

However, coach Sun smiled and said, “I am just happy and satisfied with the fact that my juniors won the Golden Lion championship in 1983, 1984, and 2005.”