“I just love it.”
For Lee Young-ha (26-Dusan Bears), the label “17-win ace” follows him around. He joined Doosan as a first-round draft pick in 2016, became a 10-win pitcher in 2018, and won 17 games (4 losses) in 2019.
He was expected to be one of the best right-handed ace pitchers in the KBO, but he has since faltered somewhat. To make matters worse, he was involved in a bullying controversy in high school. He was classified as an ‘unsigned pending player’ in 2023, but on May 31, he was acquitted and was finally able to play the season properly.
As he continued to build his body, he contributed to the team as a bullpen player instead of a starter. He didn’t even make it to spring training, so he wasn’t able to get back to full strength, but he’s starting to look like his old self as he pitches multiple innings.
In the bottom of the fifth inning with Pohang Samsung Electronics leading 6-2, Kim Dong-ju was brought in after a walk and a hit batted him around.
Lee Young-ha struck out both Kim and Jose Pirela to end the inning. Lee took the mound in the bottom of the sixth and gave up back-to-back singles to Kang Min-ho and Oh Jae-il, but struck out Lee Jae-hyun. He then handed the mound over to Kim Myung-shin, who retired the next two batters on strikeouts and groundouts. Lee finished the game without allowing a run.
Doosan won the game 7-4. Lee was the winning pitcher. Lee added one more win to his resume, 379 days after his last one against SSG in Incheon on June 21, 2022.
The win came after many twists and turns. Young-ha put his junior Kim Dong-joo first, saying, “I got the win because (Kim) pitched well. In fact, I feel like I stole the win from him. I think he gave me a good gift,” he said.스포츠토토
“When I first came back, I knew that my body wasn’t 100%, but I wanted to play baseball so badly that I thought I could overcome it with mental strength, but it wasn’t the case,” he said.
“I talked to my coaches a lot because I was doing well in the middle and then faltering, and I admitted what I needed to admit. My body wasn’t 100%, so I took a break and threw afterward, and I think my balance was fine,” she explained.
The first-team stage is a difficult one, but Lee is enjoying the moment. “I love playing baseball right now. I’m not lying, I’m happy when I’m on the field. It’s so good to be able to play. It’s hard, but it’s better to just be happy than to think about it.”