After the game between KIA and LG held at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field on the 8th, the stadium was in full swing preparing for the double header to be held from 2 PM the next day. Efforts were made everywhere to improve the ground and stands as quickly as possible.
However, the KIA players, who needed to rest in preparation for the double header the next day, returned to the ground. Wearing comfortable clothes, we each carried a bat. It was for a special hit. One by one, we came to the ground, did some more batting training, and finished the day’s schedule. Among these players, Ko Jong-wook (34) and Oh Seon-woo were the first to enter the special strike.
Seonwoo Oh is still a young player. He also doesn’t have enough opportunities to play in practice. As long as he has stamina left, he can make special hits to get a feel for hitting. Ko Jong-wook is the opposite. He is a veteran in his mid-30s. He is a talented player with a career batting average of 0.304 in 1006 games for the KBO League’s first team. His contact ability is still showing off. Considering his age and performance, he is not a player worthy of being placed in a special batting team.
However, Ko Jong-wook came out first and silently hit the batting ball, adjusting his hitting feel. He controlled the timing by sometimes pulling and sometimes pushing to send the ball. By chatting affectionately with his juniors, Teuktara led the rest of the training in a good mood.
Ko Jong-wook is not a starting player in the current KIA lineup. There are many good players in the outfield. Choi Hyeong-woo is in the designated hitter position. Therefore, he is often used as a pinch hitter against right-handed pitchers in game-winning games. If there is no chance to win or the game goes down early, there are times when players just watch the game from the dugout. The game on the 8th was like that. The special hit of the night was a struggle by Ko Jong-wook, who had not been able to complete a single at-bat, to continue his batting skills.
Did Go Jong-wook’s efforts pay off? On the 9th, we had a serious accident in both games of the double header against LG. In both games 1 and 2, he contributed to the team’s victory with a great performance by coming out at a critical moment and creating an RBI. It was a double header sweep that could not have been made without Ko Jong-wook.
In game 1, the opportunity came in the 8th inning when we were down 5-6. After one out, Kim Sun-bin and Lee Woo-seong hit singles. With one out and runners on first and second base, the KIA bench put in their beloved Jong-wook Ko. And Ko Jong-wook accurately hit Yoo Young-chan’s 5th pitch forkball and delivered a timely hit to the right. The game returned to square one. KIA completed a thrilling come-from-behind victory by scoring the winning run on Park Chan-ho’s timely hit with two outs. The one who was in a corner was LG, who lost the first game before the starting matchup.토토사이트
In the second game, he again changed the flow of the game with a pinch hitter. In the 5th inning, when the team was down 3-5, KIA had Na Seong-beom, Socrates, and Kim Sun-bin hit in succession to load the bases with no outs. Here, LG changed the pitcher to Park Myung-geun, and KIA changed the batter to Ko Jong-wook. Another goal came from Go Jong-wook’s magic bat. Although he didn’t hit the ball well, he accomplished his duty by hitting a timely hit that crossed the infield. KIA, who set the tone, was able to turn the game around and set the tone with a comeback grand slam by Choi Hyeong-woo, the next batter and another pinch hitter, with a grand slam. This led to a 12-7 victory.
Ko Jong-wook is recording a batting average of 0.316 in 88 games this year. He had 61 hits, many of which came at critical moments. There are only 5 final hits this season. Within the team, there are the second most after Choi Hyung-woo (14) and Na Seong-beom (6). In the last five games, he appeared as a pinch hitter, but he had a tremendous batting ability of 4 hits in 5 at-bats and even got the decisive hit.
In fact, it is difficult for pinch hitters to maintain a consistent hitting feel. Athletes who play in a game can naturally concentrate by sharing the rhythm of the game. However, it is difficult for substitute players sitting in the dugout to maintain concentration as they cannot participate 100% in the flow. Being prepared for an opportunity you never know when will come is not as easy as you think. Additionally, since each game involves only 1-2 at-bats, it is impossible to maintain 100% sense of real-life performance.
However, Ko Jong-wook is overcoming this through thorough preparation, study, and concentration. He knows exactly what to do and makes his moves. After the double header ended on the 9th, Ko Jong-wook said, “It was effective to analyze the opposing pitcher while the game was in progress.” This means that they were constantly checking which pitchers the opponent would play, selecting a few players, and continuously drawing up the situation. In some respects, he can also be seen as a veteran’s strength.
Ko Jong-wook, who led the doubleheader sweep, said with a smile, “I am happy that I stepped in as a pinch hitter at a time when a score was needed and created an RBI, giving the team a foundation for victory. I am grateful to the coach who believed in me and gave me the opportunity at a critical moment.” He added with a smile, “All the players gave up. “I think we were able to win because we didn’t lose focus in chance situations. I think it was a more valuable victory because everyone did their best to create it,” he said, giving credit to the players. Even at this very moment, KIA’s special sniper may be staring at the enemy, analyzing who he will shoot next.