Surprise bunt to overtake Lee Seung-yup, KIA’s 40-year-old batsman sprint… Choi Hyung-woo was always ‘team first’

He lays down a surprise bunt with the bases loaded. He has always followed the basics of sprinting. KIA’s 40-year-old batting coach Choi Hyung-woo has always practiced ‘team first’.

KIA’s pillar and mental support has fallen. 온라인카지노 Choi Hyung-woo came up as the leadoff hitter in the bottom of the seventh inning with the score 0-1 against KT in Gwangju on April 24, and after hitting a liner to second base against KT’s Ko Young-pyo, he slightly tripped over KT first baseman Park Byung-ho’s foot while stepping to first base. As he fell, he struck his left collarbone hard on the ground. Medical examination revealed a fracture.

Choi will be cross-checked on the 24th, but at this point it’s hopeless. At worst, he could be out for the season. Na Seong-beom is out for the season, Park Chan-ho is out of action, and Choi Won-joon is on the Asian Games team. Even with Choi Hyung-woo, the batting lineup has lost a lot of strength, and without him, the KIA batting lineup is in a state of panic.

It’s an emergency for KIA’s top five, but it’s also a disappointing end to Choi’s individual season. This season, Choi made a spectacular comeback after missing the last two years. Through 24 days and 121 games, he’s batting .302 with 130 hits in 431 at-bats, 17 home runs, 81 RBI, 64 runs scored, an OPS of .887, and a slugging percentage of .317.

He cooled off a bit in the second half after a hot first half. However, he has been the centerpiece of the offense all year long, from the first half of the year when Na Sung-beom and Kim Do-young were out to this point. Without Choi’s performance, KIA’s late first half and early second half surge and current top-five status would not have been possible.

This year, Choi repeatedly broke Doosan manager Lee Seung-yup’s career records for most doubles and most RBIs, and on June 18, when he was on the verge of breaking Lee’s record for most RBIs, he came up as the leadoff hitter in the bottom of the eighth inning against Gwangju NC, trailing 5-7, and sprinted to third base for the save. He could have gotten past manager Lee Seung-yeop with a big hit, but he chose to run to help his team catch up.

Choi Hyung-woo has always been that kind of player. He always called himself the “No. 6 hitter” because he wanted to be remembered for his dedication to KIA rather than for his records and skills. He experienced countless championships during the Samsung dynasty, but after signing a four-year, 10 billion won free agent contract and leading Kia to the 2017 championship, he wanted to become a player who would be remembered for his dedication to the team for a long time.

He sprinted to the plate even when he hit an ordinary ball, and tried his best to run the bases even when he missed. He sticks to the basics even when he’s playing defense. Lee Woo-sung once said, “Hyung-woo is very good at defense as well as hitting.” He’s not just a player with one flashy hit. When the younger players see him, they realize that he has a team-first mentality, and that’s how Team KIA became stronger. 

KIA has lost a mental anchor and pillar, and at a crucial time when the outcome of a year’s farming can be decided. Regardless of how the team ends up this year, it’s worth remembering Choi’s momentous 2023 season. Choi could still end up signing a three-year, 3.4 billion won free agent contract with KIA.

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