+ A

Heroes’ Seo leads team in 8-3 win over Australia in exhibition game

Mar 02,2017
이미지뷰
Seo Geon-chang
Whenever Seo Geon-chang of the Nexen Heroes swings a bat, it’s almost always a safe hit.

During the Korean baseball team’s third pre-WBC exhibition game against Australia on Tuesday at the Seoul Gocheok Sky dome, Seo led the team by making five hits in five at-bats with two runs and one run. With his highly active role in the game, the team won 8-3. The Korean baseball team had 15 hits, the most among the three pre-WBC exhibition games.

“I think I was able to play in more comfortable state of mind since the game was played at the Nexen Heroes’ main stadium,” Seo said.

Seo, a left-handed hitter, has a unique swing where he hunches his upper body. During the game on Tuesday, he made hits by gently making contact with the ball, and the majority of his hits flew to the left of the field. He made his first infield hit during the end of the first inning as he hit a slow ball towards the short stop. Although it could have ended as an infield grounder, Seo ran to first base. During the bottom of the third inning, Seo scored Korea’s first run by hitting a double towards the left center of the field. Seo added another runs batted in (RBI) during the 4th and 6th inning.

Looking into Seo’s results at the two pre-WBC exhibition games against Cuba, Seo recorded a no-hit game.

Seo made his first appearance on the Korean baseball team as Chung Geun-woo of the Hanwha Eagles withdrew from the team due to knee injury.

After graduating from Gwangju Jaeil High School in 2008, Seo decided to join the LG Twins as a practice player since he didn’t get drafted by any professional teams. However, due to his small physical size and no specific strength in baseball, he was released by the team after a year.

After completing his military duty in 2012, Seo returned to baseball as a practice player at the Nexen Heroes. With his effort, Seo won the 2012 rookie of the year award and was awarded as the Most Valuable Player in 2014 regular season by recording more than 200 hits in one season. In 2016, Seo finished his season with a 0.325 batting average and 182 hits.

Through five pre-WBC exhibition games, Kim In-sik, manager of the Korean baseball team, had different first and second hitters. Since the table setter’s role of accurate hit and batting eyes are significant in short-term competition, Kim tested different possibilities. And Seo, as a second hitter, played his worth along with the first hitter, Lee Yong-kyu.

Woo Kyu-min, the starting pitcher, threw four shutout innings. As the third starting pitcher after Chang Won-jun of the Doosan Bears and Yang Hyun-jong of the Kia tigers, Woo only allowed two hits and showed stable control in his pitching throughout the game. However, Rhee Dae-eun of the Korean Police Baseball team, who fought for the starting spot prior to the game, pitched in the eighth inning and allowed one home run and two runs.

BY KIM WON[kang.yoorim@joongang.co.kr]