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The catcher who actually stood out in the 2023 professional baseball wild card game, called the 'Yang Eui-ji Series', was Kim Hyeong-jun (23, NC Dinos). NC came from behind to win 14-9 in the wild card game against the Doosan Bears held at Changwon NC Park in Gyeongsangnam-do on the 19th.
In a game that was a close contest, NC catcher Kim Hyung-jun played well, hitting two home runs and scoring 4 RBIs (2 hits in 5 at-bats). On this day, NC was down 0-3 before the bottom of the 4th inning began. However, Kim Hyung-jun calmly guarded the living room. When Seo Ho-cheol hit a bases-loaded ball with two outs and bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth inning, the next batter, Kim Hyeong-jun, hit Doosan starter Kwak Bin's 137 km/h slider and hit a solo home run over the left wall, putting more pressure on the opponent.
Kim Hyeong-jun, along with Seo Ho-cheol, hit the first consecutive hitter's home run in a wild card game in history, and achieved it at the age of 23 years, 11 months and 17 days, and became the youngest wild card home run record (24 years old), which Jin-gi Jeong achieved in the NC game in 2017 when he was with the SK Wyverns. 11 months and 25 days) shortened by almost a year. Kim Hyeong-jun hit Hong Geon-hee in the 8th inning and hit a 3-run home run. In his first postseason appearance, Hyungjun Kim hit two home runs.
NC, which won the combined championship in 2020 by recruiting Yang Eui-ji in 2019, embraced Park Se-hyuk, who played for Doosan, when Yang Eui-ji qualified as a free agent (FA) and returned to Doosan after the end of the 2022 season. However, the catcher who protected NC's home base in the wild card game that day was Kim Hyeong-jun. Kim Hyeong-jun discovered gold by participating in the Hangzhou Asian Games, and contributed to his team's advancement to the semi-playoffs.
Hyungjun Kim is not the end. There is also Kim Joo-won (21, NC Dinos). Kim Joo-won had a good start to this season, but overall, it would have been a disappointing season. He also had a batting average of 0.233 and failed to reach 100 hits. Above all, he felt regretful, not just regretful, about being ranked first in errors made overall.
However, it seems that all such regrets are being shaken off through AG and this WC. Kim Joo-won has established himself as a solid starting shortstop under Ryu Joong-il. He has clearly impressed coach Ryu Joong-il, who is likely to lead the national team for a while.
In the game against China, he hit two home runs, including a spectacular two-run home run that left a strong impression on baseball fans, becoming the team's home run king. And in the important final match against Taiwan, he hit a sacrifice fly to Lin Yumin with one out and third base on base. It was the only goal that the Korean national team achieved on its own (the other point was Lin Yu-min's wild pitch). Kim Joo-won has long-hitting power and the advantage of being a switch hitter, so it is highly likely that he will be used in international competitions in the future. There is no disagreement that he, along with Jaehyun Lee, will be Korea's next young shortstop leader in the future.
Thursday, October 19, 2023