Doosan Bears infielder Lee Yoo-chan couldn’t smile after his team’s first win of the series. It was his own fault.
Lee came on as a substitute defender in the ninth inning of game nine of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League against the Samsung Lions at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on 8 August. He took the field in the top of the ninth inning and soon found himself in a dizzying situation.
In the top of the ninth inning with his team leading 5-2, Lee lunged forward on Kim Sung-yoon’s grounder to second base, but the ball slipped behind the first baseman, allowing second baseman Jose Pirela to round third base and race home.
With the gap between the two teams down to two runs, a home run would have tied the game, but reliever Hong Gun-hee got Oh Jae-il to fly out to shortstop to end the game and give Lee a breather.
His mistake didn’t bother his manager. “It was a safe situation no matter who was at second base,” Doosan coach Lee Seung-yeop said when asked by reporters if he was disappointed with Lee’s defence the day before, ahead of a home game against Samsung on the 9th.
“I think it’s actually a mistake for the lead runner to go through third base and come home, but if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have been able to catch the ball and throw it,” Lee said. “It looks like that because he’s so fast, but if he can go out there and handle a hit like that in a crucial situation, I can feel more secure on the bench, but I think it’s not an easy hit. I haven’t been in the starting line-up for a long time, and I didn’t feel that bad in practice,” he said.
However, even with the encouraging words from his captain, Lee made mistakes on the field and in the infield that cost the team.
Batting ninth and playing second base, he seemed to be putting the pressure on his opponents when he hit a single up the middle in the bottom of the seventh inning with his team leading 3-2. The problem came after that. Lee was tagged out at the plate by Woo Gyu-min on the next at-bat by Jung Soo-bin, and the inning ended. It was a costly mistake for both Doosan and Lee, as one run was more important than ever.
That wasn’t the end of the story, as in the top of the ninth inning, with the score tied at 3-3, Lee opted for a home run after catching a grounder from Kang Kang-ul at first and second, but the ball slipped behind the catcher, allowing Ryu Ji-hyuk to score from third and Pirela from second. Given the bounce, it wasn’t easy to catch the third baseman, but that doesn’t mean Song was accurate. In many ways, it was a disappointing defence for Doosan.
They have a solid second baseman in Kang Seung-ho, and they have other infield resources like Park Kye-beom that can be utilised immediately. However, for the sake of the team’s present and future, Doosan needs Lee to step up and give them more options.토토사이트
This season, Lee committed the third-most errors (13) in the league, along with Park Chan-ho (KIA Tigers) and Noh Si-hwan (Hanwha Eagles). Narrowing it down to the team, Lee is the player with the most errors. Nevertheless, the coach’s faith is unwavering. Now it’s up to him to live up to the team’s expectations.