A veteran’s bat wins the game. KIA Tigers outfielder Choi Hyung-woo sent fans into a frenzy with a pinch-hit grand slam.
KIA won the second game of a doubleheader against the LG Twins of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League 12-7 at Gwangju-KIA Champions Field on Monday, extending its winning streak to two games after a 7-6 victory in game one. They moved up one spot in the standings from fifth to fourth. Their season record is 59 wins, 2 ties, and 52 losses.
Choi Hyung-woo, who started the first game, waited on the bench for the second game to rest up. However, with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth inning, KIA made the bold decision to pinch-hit for Hwang Dae-in. The bench pinned their hopes on the veteran.
With a 2-1 pitch count, Choi pulled a four-pitch fastball from Park Myung-geun, sending it over the right field fence. According to the KIA organization, this is the eighth time Choi has hit a pinch-hit home run. It is the second time in his career that he has hit a pinch-hit home run, and the first time since his professional debut.
With the momentum boosted by Choi’s grand slam, KIA drove a wedge with a two-run shot by Na Sung-bum in the bottom of the sixth inning, clearly breaking LG’s will to chase. KIA head coach Kim Jong-guk said, “Choi Hyung-woo hit a pinch-hit grand slam that completely turned the tide in our favor. He went above and beyond the coach’s expectations.”
After the game, Choi Hyung-woo said, “It feels good to play well in both games of the doubleheader against the No. 1 team. From the first game, many fans came to the stadium and gave us a lot of support, but today we felt that we had to do even better.” “It’s true that we were tired after playing a doubleheader for a long time. However, the other team was also playing in the same conditions, so I thought I had to overcome it.”
Recounting the circumstances of his home run, Choi Hyung-woo said, “I came to bat as a pinch-hitter, but Koh Jong-wook had hit a single earlier, so I was able to enter the batter’s box a little more comfortably. Even if I was out, it was only one out, and (our team) could continue the offense, so I was thinking about taking a relaxed swing rather than trying to hit anything, and I think that led to a good result.”안전놀이터
In conclusion, Choi said, “I am the most senior player on the team, and I try to create a good atmosphere in the dugout by cheering them on rather than giving them baseball advice. I think my role in the dugout is pretty much the same as the junior players, as they have their own view of baseball to a certain extent. If you play with the younger players in a good atmosphere, your performance will naturally follow, and you will be able to start fall baseball in a higher position,” he said.