The unexpected choice eventually became a trick. Doosan Bears coach Lee Seung-yeop’s appointment of a player with outstanding determination eventually changed the game.
Doosan won a 12-10 finish victory after a close match against the Lotte Giants of the ‘2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League’ held at Jamsil Baseball Stadium on the 1st in the opening match to the 11th inning. It was a complex and long game that could not be summarized into just one or two reasons for the victory, but if you were to pick one player out of pitching that showed coach Lee’s perseverance, it would be infielder Lee Yoo-chan (25) and pitcher Park Chi-guk (25).
The most eye-catching thing in the starting lineup for the opening game was Lee Yoo-chan, who was named shortstop at the ninth hitter. Coach Lee said, “Lee Yoo-chan has good defense and a strong shoulder. He is also a very fast player. He is a good player if he is not nervous. He does not have much experience in the first team, but he will become a good player as he gains experience while playing games.” seemed 메이저사이트
Coach Lee was deeply troubled because he could not confirm the starting shortstop until the demonstration game was over. To strengthen his center line, he had to pick and secure a solid starting shortstop, but it was not easy for him to pick one. Calmly, Lee Yu-chan was ranked second in the shortstop competition at the start of the Australian spring camp. In the spring, veteran Kim Jae-ho (38) and Ahn Jae-seok (21), dubbed the “post Kim Jae-ho,” received even more attention.
Still, at the last moment, director Lee’s eyes turned to Lee Yoo-chan. From last fall to this spring, I believed that if Lee Yu-chan’s strengths, which coach Lee had observed, were shown on the first team stage without being nervous, there would be a chance of winning.
Lee Yoo-chan 200% lived up to director Lee’s expectations and contributed greatly to the drama-like ending victory. In the bottom of the 7th inning, with the score trailing 3-8, Lee Yu-chan struck a blow that signaled the beginning of a big inning with 5 runs. Yoo-chan Lee hit a sacrifice fly to the left fielder from 1st and 3rd base, signaling a 4-8 pursuit. Afterwards, Lohas’ 1 RBI and Kim Jae-hwan’s 3-point tie broke out, and they were able to balance 8-8.
In the bottom of the 8th, even the squeeze bunt operation was successful. Yoo-chan Lee summoned Jo Su-haeng, a runner on third base, with an exquisite squeeze bunt from 1 out 3 base to the course between the pitcher and 1 baseman. If the game had ended with a score of 9-8, Lee Yu-chan might have been the main character of the game.
Coach Lee said, “I left the sacrifice fly at the hitting sign because of the difference in score. One point was really important because it was a 1-point game. Lee Yu-chan is a good hitter, but he came out as the ninth hitter and it was his first appearance in the opening game, so he must have been nervous. In the situation (in the 8th inning), it was judged that a bunt was more likely than a hit. I tried it because the runner on third base was an assistant,” explaining Lee Yu-chan with admiration.
The unexpected decision to put pitcher Park Chi-guk on the mound also became an exquisite move for Lee. Finishing pitcher Hong Kun-hee, who took the mound in the top of the ninth inning, was beaten by Ahn Kwon-soo with a timely triple in the middle right at the risk of one out and third base, resulting in a 9-9 tie. In a situation where the closer allows a tie, he usually chooses to trust a little more, but coach Lee quickly took out the card Chi-guk Park.
Had Park Chi-guk’s pace been good, it would have been a choice without a question mark. Park Chi-guk was a sidearm who played a big role as Doosan’s winning group until he left due to elbow pain in 2020. However, until last year, his elbow condition was not perfect, so he had to take a break in the second half of last season. It could have been an unreasonable choice for his sure victory card.
Park Chi-guk dispelled all these concerns at once by treating the first batter, An Chi-hong, as a first baseman foul fly with a single ball. In 2nd out and 3rd base, Jack Rex was skipped with an automatic 4-pitch, and Han Dong-hee was caught in a right field foul fly with 2 balls, leading the game to overtime. Although Park Chi-guk walked lead batter Ko Seung-min in the 10th inning of overtime, he completely cut off the flow of Lotte by turning Jeon Jun-woo, Noh Jin-hyuk and Jeong Bo-geun back to back in a row. It was a perfect pitch for 1⅔ scoreless innings.
Park Chi-guk’s good pitching was like sweet rain on the Doosan mound, where the red light came on from the opening game. Ace Raul Alcantara only allowed 4 runs in 4 innings, but as the game extended to the 11th inning, he literally had to pour pitchers. In the meantime, Park Chi-guk was responsible for 5 outcounts, which was a great help.
Even after showing bold choices several times that led to dramatic victories unbecoming a beginner, coach Lee said, “It was so hard. I never thought that Alcantara would throw up to the 4th inning and go down. It was difficult because it became a seesaw game,” he looked back on the game. He then expressed his gratitude to all the players who did their best to win until the end, saying, “It was good to feel the power of Doosan.”