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New independent baseball club launched in northern county

All Headlines 14:49 March 13, 2015

YEONCHEON, South Korea, March 13 (Yonhap) -- The northern county of Yeoncheon announced on Friday it has assembled the country's second independent baseball club.

Yeoncheon, located 62 kilometers north of Seoul in Gyeonggi Province, said the club, named the "Yeoncheon Miracle," will be open to former amateur or professional players alike. Officials there said some 20 ex-players area already training.

The Miracle will be the country's second-ever independent ball club, with no affiliation with teams in the top-tier Korea Baseball Organization (KBO). The Goyang Wonders, founded in 2011, were the first such club, but disbanded last fall under financial hardships.
Yeoncheon officials said Kim In-sik, a former KBO pro who once managed the minor league team for the KBO club LG Twins, will be the Miracle's inaugural manager.

They said Kim is not to be confused with another former KBO manager Kim In-sik, who led the Doosan Bears to the KBO championship in 2001 and managed South Korea at the World Baseball Classic in 2006 and 2009.

Kim's coaching staff will include former KBO batting champ Ma Hae-young, who has worked as a television analyst in his retirement.

Officials said the players will be asked to help fund the team's operations and pay small training fees to join the team. However, players who show potential to reach the KBO will have their training expenses covered.

The Wonders sent 27 players to the KBO clubs during their existence. Players who join the Miracle will try to make the same jump.

On Tuesday, the Miracle will hold a ceremony in Seoul announcing its sponsorship agreement with a local sports marketing firm named International Sports Group. The official team launching ceremony will be held at Yeoncheon Baseball Park, the team's home ground, on March 20.

Officials said the Miracle will be facing high school and college teams in practice games twice a week.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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