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Lee Dae-ho Hits ‘130m Home Run’

Posted May. 25, 2007 03:12,   

Updated January. 01, 1970 09:00


The first Korean batsman to become a major leaguer, KIA’s Choi Hee-seop (formerly Tampa Bay), was shocked while watching Lee Dae-ho in a match against Lotte on May 24. The reason was the flexibility that Lee showed, despite his bulk.

Choi Hee-seop, widely known as ‘Big Choi,’ envied how ‘Big Boy’ Lee Dae-ho, who is 194cm tall and weighs around 120kg, could have “such a smooth swing with his huge build.” On May 24, Lee Dae-ho presented a smooth swing that would have won the approval of baseball experts everywhere, as Choi Hee-seop watched, sitting out the game due to a side injury. Lee stepped out as the starting batter in the seventh inning, with a 4-1 lead, and hit an out-of-the-park homer from Cha Jeong-min’s first straight ball (137km). The driving distance was 130m.

As the bat met the ball with an almighty “thwack,” everything froze. Lee Dae-ho calmly looked towards the left-stands while left fielder Kim Won-seop didn’t even bother chasing the ball. It was such a big hit that the moment the ball left the bat, everyone could tell it was a home run.

For Lee Dae-ho, this was his first homerun in five matches, since the game against Hanwha on May 18; and with his tenth homerun this season, he is only three homeruns shy of the leaders Kim Tae-kyun (Hanwha) and Yang Jun-hyuk (Samsung, both on 13 runs). Lotte’s starting pitcher Yeom Jong-seok claimed his fourth win (three losses) of the season, allowing one score, one walk and four hits in a 7 2/3-inning outing. He also broke his recent three-straight losing streak. His run average, currently at 2.09, is getting better and is second only to Doosan’s Rios (2.04).

In the Daegu match, the fighting spirit of Samsung’s ‘senior player’, Yang Jun-hyuk, deserved a great deal of credit. In a match the previous day, during the extended tenth inning, Yang was replaced after his left hand was crushed under SK second-base man Jeong Gyeong-bae’s spikes while attempting to steal second base. But on this day, Yang played as usual, and during the eighth inning, with the scores tight at 6-6, two strikes and all bases loaded, he made a two-base hit, hitting the left-hand fence, and bringing three players home. His crucial hit was the decider in his team’s 9-6 victory.

At the Cheongju match, Hyundai defeated Hanwha 8-4, breaking its recent eight-game losing streak. Jeon Jun-ho added five hits, bringing his personal total to 6,295, which broke the previous record of 6,292 held by Jang Jong-hoon (Hanwha coach). Kim Soo-gyeong who claimed his fourth victory, surrendering four points during six innings, crossed the 1100 strike-out level for the 17th time.

The match between LG and Doosan at Jamsil Stadium was cancelled due to rain.

uni@donga.com beetlez@donga.com