“You don’t know until it’s over”
Lotte Giants’ Jeon Jun-woo started in left field and batted fourth in the lineup, going 2-for-4 with a double (one home run), two RBIs and one run scored in the 12th game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League against the Hanwha Eagles at Sajik Stadium in Busan on Sept. 28.
With SSG Landers and KIA Tigers, who have been battling for the mid-table spot, faltering lately, Lotte’s six-game series against the Hanwha Eagles and Samsung Lions from Sept. 28 to Oct. 3 at Sajik Stadium is crucial. Acting head coach Lee Jong-woon promised an all-out war before the game, and he got off to a good start.
At the center of the two-game winning streak was Jeon Jun-woo. In his first at-bat in the bottom of the first inning, Jun-woo hit a grounder to second base against Hanwha starter Ricardo Sanchez. While his first at-bat was unsuccessful, he came through in his second at-bat in the top of the fourth inning with the score tied at 0-0.
With Sanchez cruising through three scoreless innings, Jeon took advantage of a 2B-0S, three-pitch, 140-kilometer slider in the middle of the strike zone. The pitch hit the “sweet spot” of his bat and traveled at 169.7 kilometers per hour for a two-run home run over the left field fence. It was his fifth home run of the season against the Expos.
He didn’t stop there. In the bottom of the sixth inning, with the bases loaded and the score 2-0, Jun-woo Jeon once again had a multi-hit game against Sanchez with a single to left field. In his final at-bat, he recorded a grounder to the second baseman, finishing 2-for-4 with two RBIs to spearhead Lotte’s 3-0 victory. Acting manager Lee Jong-woon said after the game, “At the plate, Jeon Jun-woo hit an off-balance home run to set the tone. I want to congratulate him on his home run against his former club.” He gave him a thumbs-up.
“I didn’t know, I didn’t think about it, I didn’t realize it at all. In a way, the number of home runs is more important than the record, but I feel good that I was able to hit a home run against the former team.” “Sanchez’s pitch was very good today. It was an unfavorable count, so I was looking for a fastball, but I think I got a slider and it went over,” he reflected on the game.
With both SSG and KIA losing on the 28th, Lotte has managed to close the gap on the teams in the mid-table race. It’s still a difficult situation, but it’s not impossible. “In a way, we have no pressure,” said Jeon. We’re playing with a little bit of a relaxed mindset. We don’t have any pressure, so we can just look up,” said Jeon. “I think that’s why the players are playing a little better.”메이저사이트
In particular, the performances of Jung Dae-sun and Seo Dong-wook have sparked a “competitive spirit” within the squad. He said, “I think the rookies like (Jung) Dae-sun and (Seo) Dong-wook are doing a good job. There is a synergy with these players,” he said, adding, “We are a competition. I’m a competitor, the other players are a competitor. If any player comes up and does well, there is no place for them. I think the players will be alert and think a lot about doing well.”
Jun-woo continued, “I think the moment you leave your seat, your place is gone. I have always done that. I hope the younger players have the same mindset,” he said, adding, “The team gets better as we go through this process. Everyone is doing a great job and it’s great to see,” he smiled.
Like all teams and players with a chance to punch their ticket to the top five, Jeon hasn’t given up yet. Although he is about to enter free agency, he is prioritizing the team’s performance over his own. “Free agency is motivation. It’s true that it feels good to go 3-for-3, but I think the team needs to do well first,” he said. “I always look at the leaderboard after the game and ask myself, ‘How are we doing today? Everyone around me says, ‘It’s almost over,’ but you don’t know until it’s really over. For now, we have to play well. We just have to do our best every game,” he concluded.