Lotte Giants’ Jung Bo-geun started as a 메이저사이트 catcher and the ninth batter in Game 10 of the season against the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League NC Dinos at Sajik Stadium in Busan on the 2nd, and was at the forefront of his team’s escape from four consecutive losses.
On the 29th of last month, Jung Bo-geun was called by the first team for the first time in a long time. This is why “8 billion catcher” Yoo Kang-nam needed resources to fill the “home” as he was out of the lineup due to a side injury. Jung Bo-geun, who wore a catcher mask as his second starter since returning to the first division, had an unforgettable day in his professional career.
In the bottom of the second inning with a 2-0 lead, Jung Bo-geun faced Eric Pedi, the pitcher of the KBO League’s “best” and “active big leaguer,” in the first at-bat of the scoring chance with one out and runners on first and second base. Jung Bo-geun hit a 132km sweeper for the sixth pitch after filtering out two balls from an unfavorable count of 0B-2S, but swallowed his disappointment by only a pitcher’s foul fly. But he didn’t get hit twice by the same pitch.
Jung Bo-geun faced Pedi once again in the bottom of the fourth inning with one out and a runner on first base, which was different from his first at-bat. Jung Bo-geun turned the bat without hesitation when Pedi’s second 130km sweeper was formed into a body course. As a result, the ball that left Jung Bo-geun’s bat stretched at a speed of 162.4km, leading to a two-run home run from the left fence.
This home run is Jung Bo-geun’s second career home run, and he tasted it 369 days after the Samsung Lions match on July 29 last year. If the first home run was on the road, this was the first home run recorded at home. Jung Bo-geun gave Pedi the most runs in a game based on his home run, and Pedi, the “14-win ace” who hit a home run, could not hide his regret that he hesitated to sit on the mound.
His performance did not stop here. Jung Bo-geun played as the leadoff hitter in the third at-bat in the sixth inning, got a walk, and played a role in opening the door, stepping on second base on Ahn Kwon-soo’s sacrifice fly, Kim Min-seok’s hit, and stepping home to Nico Goodrum’s timely hit, creating a wedge in the victory. Manager Larry Sutton raised his thumb after the game, saying, “In particular, Jung Bo-geun brought the atmosphere to us by making a decisive home run not only in excellent defense but also in offense.”
What was it like to hit a home run in front of home fans in about a year. Jung Bo-geun said, “Peddy’s main pitch is a slider (sweeper), and he was aiming for it from his first at-bat. However, in his first at-bat, the result was not good because he had strength. “However, I went to the batter’s box with the same thought in my second at-bat, but it led to a good result because of a mistake,” he said with a happy smile.
Jung Bo-geun said it was a mistake, but the ball thrown by Pedi was a very good ball that dug into the body. “I didn’t intentionally make a launch angle (27.4 degrees), but I tried to send the ball to the outfield without hitting a double play because there was a runner on first base,” he said. “It was really thrilling (to hit a home run in front of home fans).”
After hitting a home run, Jung Bo-geun raised his right hand and performed a ceremony as if he had prepared. “I didn’t prepare a ceremony. Because I’m not a home run hitter. However, I think I raised my hand without realizing it as I felt like I crossed the fence as soon as I hit it. “The first home run was a home run that ran away when the team was winning, but today it was a home run that came from behind, and I think it’s more meaningful and good that the team won after the reversal.”
Since he wasn’t a batter who usually hit a lot of home runs, his teammates’ congratulations were even hotter. Jung Bo-geun said, “Other players congratulated me more than usual. He also cheered for me to inspire confidence, he said. “(Yoon) Dong-hee liked it the most. “I’ve talked a lot with Dong-hee since before, but he liked me more after the home run,” he said with a smile.
Jung Bo-geun had a batting average of 0.280, when he went down to the second division, and his batting condition was not bad. That didn’t mean there was a problem with defense. At that time, Lotte was forced to head to the second division to give opportunities and experience to Son Sung-bin, who was discharged from Sangmu. However, he is now in a position to fill Yoo Kang-nam’s gap with Son Sung-bin.
Jung Bo-geun said, “Honestly, it’s a lie if there’s no pressure, but it’s up to me to get through it. I’m working hard and preparing well to show you a good performance. I want to seize the opportunity. However, if I am too motivated, the results are not good, so I try to feel a little comfortable,” he said adding, “I was disappointed when I went down to the second division, and I thought I went down because I couldn’t.” Therefore, I prepared with my teeth clenched a little more. “I tried to continue hitting steadily, and I thought I would make it perfect in defense,” he explained.
He was certainly happy with the home run, but he led a quality start (less than three earned runs in six innings) through collaboration with “Ace” Charlie Barnes, and also collaborated with the Pilseungs to pitch without losing a point. Jung Bo-geun said, “In terms of defense, if you minimize pitchers’ runs and don’t give the team a point to win, you’re happier and better than doing well in batting.” “I got a home run today, but I liked that part (in harmony with the pitcher).”
Jung Bo-geun marked OPS 0.901 due to his performance on this day. Jung Bo-geun, who hit a home run this year following last season, will be greedy for long hits in the future. He said, “Mentally, I’m not chased more than before, and my confidence has improved as I only played the course I was drawing led to good results,” adding, “Honestly, if I get greedy, my swing will increase and my balance will collapse.” “I won’t be greedy for home runs and I will do as I am now,” he said with emphasis.