5 fouls → double bang! A small change made by ‘Baby Beast’ led to SSG victory

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SSG Landers continued their 100% win rate in ‘Starbucks Day’ in their first match of the season against Doosan Bears. The small change made by Choi Ji-hoon’s persistence was hidden behind SSG’s victory on this day.

SSG Landers won 4-1 in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League Doosan Bears season 1 home match held at Incheon SSG Landers Field on the 28th, and got the first button of a three-game series well.

The game between the two teams was off balance early on when SSG Choi Jung hit a solo home run in the early stages, but the match proceeded in a very tense pitcher battle. Doosan starter Choi Seung-yong built up an out count in the first inning by striking out first baseman Choo Shin-soo and first baseman Choi Ji-hoon. After that, Choi Jeong hit a solo home run, but he struck out Guillermo Heredia with a 135km forkball.

SSG had a hard time with Choi Seung-yong in the first match except for Choi Jeong. For SSG, Tae-gon Oh struck out in the 2nd inning, Hanyu-seom grounded to first baseman, and Seong-hyun Kim stepped down with a floating ball to first baseman. And in the 3rd inning, the batting line leading to Park Seong-han, Cho Hyeong-woo and Choo Shin-soo did not use much force.

There was a player who broke this trend. This is Choi Ji-hoon. Choi Ji-hoon showed a game that went up to 10 pitches with Choi Seung-yong in the attack at the end of the 4th inning. Choi Ji-hoon made a miss on the 130km slider in the first pitch, then allowed a strike on the 116km curve and was driven to an unfavorable ball count. This is where the so-calledㅋㅋㅋ벳 ‘Yonggyu Nori’ began.

Choi Ji-hoon cut Choi Seung-yong’s third pitch and picked out the fourth pitch. Afterwards, he played a fierce match against Choi Seung-yong, turning various types of pitches such as fastballs, sliders, and forkballs into foul balls. He opened the door by attacking the 118km curve on the 10th pitch and pulling out a double in the right field. After Choi Ji-hoon got a hit, Doosan starter Choi Seung-yong began to falter.

Choi Seung-yong gave up a walk to Choi Jeong, the follow-up hitter, and could hardly find stability. And after throwing two balls to Heredia in a row, he allowed a hit to the ball that went in to catch a strike, causing a safe bases crisis. Here, Choi Ji-hoon shone once again, and Choi Seung-yong’s uneasy appearance continued.

Full base safely. SSG Oh Tae-gon hit Choi Seung-yong’s forkball on the 4th pitch, creating a missed ball that went in front of the pitcher. Here, Choi Seung-yong attempted a glove toss to catch Choi Ji-hoon running home. However, this throw became a bad throw, and Choi Ji-hoon, who had one of the best players in the league, even collided with Doosan catcher Jang Seung-hyun, digging into the home and scoring. And at this time, second base runner Jeong Choi ran home, widening the gap to 3-0.

In the aftermath of a collision with Jang Seung-hyeon in the 4th inning attack, Choi Ji-hoon was replaced by Choi Sang-min from defense in the top of the 5th inning, so he could not play any more. With the victory on this day, SSG maintained a 100% win rate by running a 7-game winning streak at ‘Starbucks Day’ from the year before last.

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