Seo Eui-tae of NC, who endured 9 years of sadness, took the mound as a relief pitcher and won his first professional victory

Seo Eui-tae (27, NC) was a precocious monster in the days of Cheongnyangjung. He had already grown to 1m88 and weighed 88kg when he was in his first year of middle school. The fast ball exceeded 120km/h. There were not many opponents among his peers. I wanted to become a pitcher like Ryu Hyun-jin, and I wanted to make a name for myself by entering the Japanese stage someday. I didn’t know it would take so much time for him to win his first professional victory.안전놀이터

Seo Eui-tae of NC Dinosaurs took the mound as relief pitcher in the bottom of the fourth inning when his team was leading 3-2 at the match against the Incheon SSG on the 4th, striking out Choo Shin-soo and preventing the team from losing a point. Even during a close game for more than four hours, NC won 8-6 without allowing a reversal. Seo became the winning pitcher with 0.1 scoreless innings. It was his first win in nine years as a professional. “I expected my first win, but honestly, I can’t believe it yet,” Seo said with a smile.

Until last year, he had played in the first division only once. Seo Eui-tae was one of the many “monsters” and “geniuses” who failed to adapt to the professional stage and collapsed. He joined KT in the second and third rounds of the 2016 draft (No. 31 overall), but was traded to Kiwoom in two years. He made his first appearance in the first division in his third year as a professional on Sept. 23, 2018. He allowed four runs in 0.2 innings and was replaced. He has not played in the first division since then, and was released the following year.

I joined the military with the intention of quitting baseball. I vaguely thought, “If I work as hard as I used to play baseball, I will achieve anything.” However, I couldn’t let go of baseball. Senior players Ko Young-pyo (33) and Eom Sang-baek (28), who trained together with KT when they were young professionals, were already active in the pro league. I wanted to stand in the same position as them on TV again.

After being discharged from the military, he started to exercise again in earnest. Like fate, opportunity came. Kim Kwang-soo, head of the 54K Training Center, who used to be a pitcher for KIA and LG, helped him. Then, Min Dong-geun, head of NC’s scouting team, who was a teacher during his time in Cheongnyang Middle School, contacted me. It happened a month after he was discharged from the military. Seo Eui-tae went down to Changwon by train the next morning. He was tested and signed the contract right away.

Two years after he was released, he started wearing a professional uniform again. He took the mound at a Futures League game on July 23, 2022. It was his first comeback game in 1,028 days. “I never imagined that I would be able to regain my physical strength and join the professional team and play the same game today,” Seo said after pitching a scoreless one inning.

Then a year has passed. It was time for the excitement of returning to the professional league to blur and get tired of the indefinite wait for the first-team stage. Seo did not try to get tired of the routine. He woke up at 6:50 a.m. every day to go to work, exercise, and compete in the second-team field.

After the training session, I went to Changwon NC Park right next to the 2nd tier playground and watched the 1st tier game that starts at 6:30 p.m. Image training every day to renew my commitment. Seo Eui-tae said, “It was nice to see the 2nd tier playground right next to the 1st tier playground.”

He never let go of repetitive training sessions and was not afraid of new challenges. In 2022, Seo threw away the four-seam fastball, which he had been using as his main weapon all his life. “I just remembered something,” second-tier pitching coach Lee Yong-hoon said on a break day in the spring. He wanted to maximize the movement of the ball with his determination. The result was successful. While pitching 39.1 innings in the Futures League last season, Seo did not hit a single home run.

Last winter, he went to a driving line camp in Tokyo. As he showed nothing in the pro league, he trained with his juniors Shin Young-woo (20) and Lee Yong-joon (22), who are considered key prospects in the team. He also participated in overseas training camp for the first time in nine years since joining the pro league last spring. As Seo grew, his team had high expectations.

Looking back, I have so many grateful moments. I cannot forget a single word from Coach Kang. On the second day of the Tucson training camp in Arizona, which was his first overseas training camp as a pro, Kang said, “I guess the teams didn’t have eyes for him.” Such a word gave Seo a lot of strength.

At the end of the fourth inning of the match against SSG on the 4th, Seo was warming up with right-handed Jeon Samin as he watched the runners pile up one by one. Depending on the opponent, the left-hander could go out or the right-hander could go out. Seo thought, “I wish I could be called out.” I wanted to show what I had prepared so far. Seo said, “I’ve been waiting for a tough situation to come.”

I wanted to prove my worth to those who I am grateful for. Even when I was included in the opening entry and was removed from the first team in 21 days, I was not disappointed. He made the first team again on Sunday, and pitched three times without allowing any points.

Seo Eui-tae is a huge man. He grew much taller than when he was in middle school, and now he is 1m96 meters tall and weighs 120 kilograms. I want to become a pitcher who can confront hitters like a “fighting chicken” by utilizing his good physique and put pressure on them. I spent the past nine years amid various stories, but I am only 27 years old now. Seo Eui-tae, a precocious monster, has a full-fledged baseball career from now on.

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