“Didn’t know this would happen?” You gave me 20 home runs for free… Two home runs, seven RBIs, boomerang and “Archid.”

SSG Landers paid a considerable price for releasing Choi Joo-hwan (36), a 20-homer big gun, for free.

Choi Joo-hwan started as the fourth batter and first baseman in a regular season visit game (a total of 7,250 people entered) between SSG and Shinhan SOL Bank KBO League at Incheon SSG Landers Field in Michuhol-gu, Incheon, on the 10th, marking two hits (one home run) in five times at bat, three RBIs, one run and one strikeout.핑크알바

Kiwoom won 5-2 over SSG thanks to the even performance of hitters including Choi Joo-hwan and starter Ha Young-min’s two runs in five innings (105 pitches), escaping from two consecutive losses.

The result was one win and two losses, but Kiwoom kept a tight race against SSG until the end of the game throughout the series. What made it possible was Choi’s hard-hitting. Choi performed just like an archer with four hits (two homers) and seven RBIs from 13 times at bat in this series alone.

The first point came from Choi’s bat. In the top of the third inning with one out and a runner on first base, Choi hit Elias’ first fastball of 149 kilometers, which flew well over the right fence. It was his third homer of the season with a flying distance of 115 meters.

Another hit was also highly nutritious. With Jihoon Choi’s two-run shot leading to a two-run shot, Choi hit a 135-km changeup by Roenis Elias to hit a timely RBI single that passed the second baseman. Elias caught Lee Hyung-jong’s grounder to the first and third bases with one out, and made a bad pitch to the second base, before allowing one more run and completely collapsing.

After the game, Kiwoom manager Hong Won-ki said, “Starting pitcher Ha Young-min pitched smartly, and played his part until the fifth inning. Kim Jae-hyun’s lead was also good. All of the bullpen pitchers that followed also pitched perfectly well, so they did not miss a win until the end,” adding, “In offense, Choi Joo-hwan’s two-run shot in the third inning raised the mood, and his timely hit in the seventh inning played a decisive role in the victory,” referring to Choi as one of the leading players.

Kiwoom Choi Joo-hwan is shooting a superior two-run shot in the top of the third inning of the match against SSG in Incheon on the 11th.

It was the first time in about six months that Choi visited Incheon wearing a different uniform than the SSG. Having joined SK (currently SSG) after signing a four-year FA contract worth 4.2 billion won (approx. Choi was released from the protected player list after the end of the season last year despite hitting 20 home runs in a rare move, and moved to Kiwoom as the first player in the first round through the second draft of the KBO in November last year.

It was not that a boomerang was not unexpected. Choi was one of the representative players who enjoyed the effect of SSG Landers Field, a batter-friendly stadium, for three years at the SSG. Of the 47 home runs at the SSG, 34 came from their home ground. Moreover, Choi recorded the most home runs (six) against Kiwoom last year, eliminating its natural enemy for free and earning 20 home runs for free.

After the game, Choi said, “There is nothing special. Since Gocheok Dome is definitely bigger than here (SSG Landers Field), I just thought that the ball that hit the fence in Gocheok would pass here,” adding, “It was nice to be able to hit two home runs here. I’m glad to have a good match against my former teammates.”

His first at-bat after returning to the team was quite impressive. On Wednesday, Choi received applause from SSG fans. He greeted his fans 90 degrees Celsius and hit Oh’s first pitch to make a two-run shot. “There is a behind-the-scenes story behind the game. I ran into (Lee) Ji-young and she blocked me (from saying hello) in Major League style. I felt very emotional because I was a roommate in Sangmu and we played baseball in one team and coincidentally exchanged uniforms. Still, I politely thanked SSG fans for their welcoming.”

Choi, who had been in charge of lower and upper-order hitters, is entering as the fourth batter in Kiwoom. “I feel like I achieved my dream when I was young. In fact, since I was not a fourth batter since I was young, not a single percent of people thought I would hit fourth in the professional league,” Choi said. “I will do my best for the task given by thinking that I am the fourth batter rather than the fourth batter.”

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