After returning from military service, Choi Chae-heung (Samsung Lions) pitched well in his comeback game.
Choi took the mound for the Samsung Lions on Wednesday against the LG Twins in the 2023 KBO Baseball Classic at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul.
Choi, who made his professional debut in the 2018 season, is a left-hander with a 26-22 record and a 4.18 ERA in 403 innings pitched in 88 games (65 starts). He enlisted in the Armed Forces Athletic Corps (Commerce) after the 2021 season, and was discharged from the military the previous day (Dec. 12), so he took the mound immediately.
The reason he was able to take the mound so quickly out of the military was because he had been in the starting rotation for Sangmu until recently. The fact that he had good memories against LG also played a role. Choi threw his first career complete game against LG on September 30, 2020, in Jamsil.
Samsung coach Park Jin-man said before the game, “(Choi Chae-heung) showed a majestic appearance because he went to the army. (His body) seems to be better. His shoulders are broader, and he had a little bit of baby fat before he went to the army, but he seems to have trained a lot and built up his muscles well. I think the company has given him good systematic training,” he said, explaining why he chose Choi Chae-heung as the starter, saying, “Even before he went to the army, he showed confidence in the LG game.”
And he pitched perfectly in line with his commander’s expectations. In the first inning, he gave up a leadoff single to Hong Chang-ki, but induced Shin Min-jae to fly out to shortstop and Kim Hyun-soo to fly out to center field to end the inning with three outs. In the bottom of the second, he gave up a leadoff double to Austin Dean in left field, but retired Park Dong-won (grounder to third), Oh Ji-hwan (fly to center), and Moon Bo-kyung (strikeout).
In the bottom of the third inning, the crisis management was on display. Lee got Lee Jae-won and Park Hae-min to ground out to third base and fly out to left field, but gave up singles to Hong Chang-ki (first baseman’s error) and Shin Min-jae (walk) to put runners on first and second. But he didn’t falter and got Kim Hyun-soo to ground out to first base to end the inning.
The bottom of the fourth was clean again. After inducing Austin to fly out to center, he retired Park Dong-won and Oh Ji-hwan on back-to-back flies to right field for his first triple play of the night.
The threat came again in the bottom of the fifth, when leadoff hitter Moon Bo-kyung hit a double to left-center field. Lee Jae-won followed with a fly to center, but a walk to Park Hae-min put runners on first and second. But it didn’t collapse. He got Hong Chang-ki to fly out to left field and struck out pinch-hitter Kim Min-sung.안전놀이터
In the bottom of the sixth, Choi Chae-heung struck out the leadoff hitter, Kim Hyun-soo, straight to the third baseman before turning the ball over to the next pitcher, Kim Dae-woo.
His final line was 5.1 innings, three hits, two walks, two strikeouts, and no runs, with a total of 92 pitches. Choi came off the mound with his team leading 1-0, so if Samsung wins without allowing the tying run to score, he will earn his first win of the season.