Samsung Lions infielder Jae-hyun Lee made his presence felt with a stellar offensive and defensive performance.
Samsung won the 11th game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League against the LG Twins 6-3 at Samsung Lions Park in Daegu on Friday, securing the winner-take-all series regardless of the outcome of the sixth game. Lee Jae-hyun, who started at shortstop and batted eighth on the day, went 2-for-4 with one home run and one RBI.
In fact, before his home run, Jae-hyun made a strong impression on defense. In the top of the fourth inning, with the bases loaded and Moon Bo-kyung doubling, Jae-hyun received a throw from center fielder Kim Hyun-joon and made a precise throw to catcher Kang Min-ho to throw out first baseman Oh Ji-hwan at home. LG blew a chance to regain the lead.
Good defense was followed by good offense. In the bottom of the fourth inning, with the score tied at 3-3, Lee Jae-hyun pulled an eight-pitch changeup off LG starter Choi Won-tae for a solo shot to left field to give his team the lead.
The eighth home run of the season meant more to Lee than ever. After being silent for much of the second half, it was his first in 39 days since June 27 against the Busan Lotte Giants, and he surpassed last year’s record (seven) for most home runs in a single season. It was also the final hit of the game.
After the game, manager Park Jin-man praised Jae-hyun’s performance, saying, “It was good to see the younger guys get multi-hit games, and it was especially good that Jae-hyun turned the tide of the game with a great home run play in the fourth inning on defense.”
After the game, Lee expressed his feelings about hitting the home run, saying, “I’m not a 20-homer player, and I’m in my second season, so it was good to hit a home run when it mattered, rather than the most home runs in a season.”
“I never thought about a home run, and I didn’t have a specific pitch to aim for, but since it was two strikes, I think I relaxed a little bit with the idea of hitting it lightly if something similar came,” he said. “I think the changeup was lucky to get a little bit in front of me, and it went over,” he reflected.
There was also advice from senior Ryu Ji-hyuk. “During the midweek game against the Pohang KIA Tigers, he told me that I was trying to hit too hard, so I was doing a lot of backward motion (before the swing). He told me to hit lightly with the idea of eliminating the motion from the back so that I could hit from the front,” Lee said.
Lee Jae-hyun, who has been protecting the infield in the sweltering heat, said, “I don’t feel like it’s too hard, and I try to stay regular and drink a lot of water. I don’t have an appetite, but I’m forcing myself to eat a lot so I don’t lose weight.”메이저놀이터
A hit is a hit, but Lee, who said before the season that he wanted to play 100 games at shortstop, is likely to achieve his goal. “I don’t think I’m adjusting my goal, but I haven’t missed a game so far, so I think I have a big desire to play the rest of the games unless I get sick and get injured,” he said.