KIA Tigers outfielder Lee Chang-jin, who was named to the starting lineup exactly three weeks later, perfectly lived up to the head coach’s expectations with his first four-hit game of the season.
KIA won 12-7 in the second game of the double header against the KIA Tigers in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League held at Gwangju-KIA Champions Field on the 9th, recording two consecutive wins. With the sweep of the double header, KIA’s ranking rose one level from 5th to 4th.
Lee Chang-jin, who did not appear in Game 1, started as the 8th batter and left fielder in Game 2 of the doubleheader and recorded 4 hits in 5 at-bats, 2 RBIs, and 1 run. It has been 407 days since his 4-hit game against the Gwangju SSG Landers on July 29 last year, and this is the first time this season.
Lee Chang-jin started off properly from the first at-bat. In the bottom of the second inning, he hit a timely hit with 1 RBI against Son Joo-young at 1st and 2nd bases with 1 out and runners on first and second bases, setting the stage for the team’s pursuit. He also had a single in his second at-bat and added an RBI in his fourth at-bat with a hit to left. Choi Hyung-woo’s comeback grand slam in the bottom of the 5th inning and Na Seong-beom’s two-run shot in the bottom of the 6th were decisive in the flow, but the player who was most consistent throughout the game was Lee Chang-jin.
After the game, Lee Chang-jin said, “Ever since batting practice, I thought to myself that I had a good feeling, and as a result, I came to the plate with more confidence. Of course, it was my first time as a starter in a long time, but I went in with the intention of doing it without regrets, and as I continued to do it with confidence, I felt good. “I think the results have come out. I also think there may have been some luck,” he said.
In particular, winning a double header against the league’s leading team means more than just two wins. Lee Chang-jin said, “We had a difficult comeback win in the first game, and I think that gave us an opportunity to get back into the mood again.” He also expressed his desire for a third consecutive win, saying, “I will make sure that we can continue our winning streak until the game on the 10th.”
There are more than one or two high-quality outfielders on the team, including Socrates Brito and Na Seong-beom. In reality, it is not easy for Lee Chang-jin to receive many opportunities to play. However, he expressed a positive mindset, saying, “Even if I didn’t go to the game, it was good because the team won. I was just doing what I had to do.”
Choi Won-jun will be absent due to being selected to the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games national team, but Lee Chang-jin believes that he does not want to be too greedy. He said, “Even if (Choi) Won-jun is missing, there are many players on the team who are very good at hitting right now. I just don’t care about that and want to focus on helping the team win.”
After the home game, KIA holds a ‘night special’ centered on several players for about 20 minutes. Even after the game on the 8th, in which the team lost 2-12, Hwang Dae-in and Ko Jong-wook postponed work for a while and came to the ground to check their batting condition. Moreover, KIA’s batting lineup was somewhat depressed compared to the winning streak period, scoring only 2 points in total in 2 games from the away game against the Doosan Bears on the 7th to the LG game on the 8th.토토사이트
Lee Chang-jin said, “The players also thought that if a winning streak ended, there was a high probability that it would lead to a losing streak, and the team was not in a good mood after losing two consecutive games. The senior players mainly said, ‘We have to end the losing streak anyway, so let’s do it with a smile.’ “I think we talked a lot,” he said. “(Through the night special), I feel like I feel the effect of changing my mood and gaining sensibility.”
KIA, which has the tightest remaining game schedule, has 31 more games to play. Compared to Kiwoom Heroes, who only have 14 games left, there are still many games left. Lee Chang-jin expressed his determination, saying, “The players who are currently playing are doing very well, and when the team is in a difficult situation like this, if the players behind us go out and produce good results, I think our team will be able to move up to a higher ranking.”