‘5-Hit Brother’ is a Super Catch & Ending ‘Cultivated Brother’, Unleashing ‘Genius DNA’

형이 밥은 아니다"...'5할 맹타 동생'은 슈퍼캐치 & '육성 입단 친형'은 끝내기, '천재 DNA'표출 [오!쎈 부산]

For Lotte Giants infielder Lee Ji-chan, 2024 is shaping up to be a dream season. The DNA of a baseball family can now be highlighted simultaneously

In the bottom of the 10th inning of a 6-6 tie against the Doosan Bears in the Korean Baseball Organization regular season at Sajik Stadium in Busan on Sunday, Lee came in as a pinch-hitter for Park Seung-wook with the bases loaded and two outs and delivered the game-winning hit to give the Giants a 7-6 victory. It was Lee’s first back-to-back wins and a game-winning series of the season.

It was a close, back-and-forth game. Lee Joo-chan was the last player left in the Lotte offense. Lee was picked up by manager Kim Tae-hyung from the final camp last year and completed all of the spring camps. He was briefly sent down to the second team during the exhibition games, but then moved back up to the first team and eventually made the opening roster. It was a hint that this year would be different for Lee, who joined the team as a developmental player in 2021 and played only three games for the first team.

Since then, Lee has been given the occasional opportunity. He was recognized for his outstanding defense and occasional power, which earned him a spot on the first team roster.On the 30th of last month, he recorded his first hit in his debut against Sasik NC. And once again, Lee didn’t miss the opportunity that came his way.

The circumstances were not favorable. With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning, Kim Ho-joon on the mound was under pressure, but so was the inexperienced Lee Joo-chan. He swung at Kim’s first-pitch slider and missed the second. It was an unfavorable count of two strikes. He fouled off the third pitch, watched the fourth forkball, and then hit the fifth pitch, a 128-kilometer forkball from Kim, which sailed over third base for the game-winning hit. Doosan requested a video review, but Lee’s game-winning hit was not overturned.

Afterward, he was baptized with water by his teammates and enjoyed the moment of his debut finish. As he faced the press, drenched from head to toe, Lee couldn’t hide his joy and continued the interview with a smile.

He said, “It felt so good. The coach told me to prepare because I might be pinch-hitting, so I kept preparing,” he said, adding, “The moment I stepped into the batter’s box, I prepared myself and thought about it, and then I stepped into the batter’s box, but it didn’t work out as I thought.” He shared the moment when he was called for two strikes.

That’s when coach Kim Tae-hyung from the bench gave Lee a one-point lesson. “The coach looked at me from the bench and said that my body was going outside when I hit, so he told me to hit it inside, so I thought I was going to hit it to the other side, but I think it went inside (fair territory) because it was less outside. It would have been a foul ball, but he showed me how to hit it, so I think it went inside,” he laughed.

In fact, Lee was in disbelief at the moment of the final out. “I actually thought it was a foul. But it’s so nice to get a pair,” he said. But his teammates 먹튀검증 didn’t doubt him. Yoon Dong-hee, who hit the game-winning home run, said, “I saw the ball go over third base,” and didn’t doubt it.

Lee also knows that coach Kim Tae-hyung has been giving him opportunities. He said, “I’m not a very good player, but the coach keeps believing in me. I played a game not too long ago, and I didn’t show much of what he expected, but I’m glad I got one today,” he said with a smile.

Lee is the younger brother of Lee Joo-hyung, the “successor to Lee Jung-hoo,” who is currently batting 5-for-2 with 11 RBIs in 21 at-bats for Kiwoom. While Lee Joo-chan entered the professional ranks as a college player (Dongwon University), Lee Joo-hyung graduated from Gyeongnam High School and was selected 13th overall in the second round of the 2020 KBO Draft. After failing to fulfill his potential at LG, Lee has been fulfilling his potential since being traded to Kiwoom last year. Although his younger brother Lee has been in the spotlight more, the two are close brothers who are not jealous of each other and talk about baseball a lot. His walk-off hit proved that he’s no slouch when his brother is on fire.

“I stay in touch with my brother during the season. At the beginning of the season, he was sick and I was playing the opening series with SSG, and when I got my chance, I struck out,” Lee said. “At that time, he said, ‘You just did well. It can’t be helped,'” he said. My brother tells me a lot about hitting. I ask him more because he’s a better hitter. He’s doing so well these days, and I’m so happy for him.”

Lee’s news team, Kiwoom, won the game 4-3 on a walk-off home run by Kim Hye-sung. Lee went 1-for-5 on the day and made the game-winning super-catch of Chae Eun-sung’s big hit with two outs and 1.3 runners on in the top of the 10th inning. He asked the press, “Did your brother get a hit today?” and showed his brotherly side by looking out for him. Lee Joo-chan also gave Lee Joo-hyung a cheerful word, saying, “You’re not a complete idiot.”

For Lee, 2024 couldn’t be a better year. “I think this is a great opportunity this year, and I have to do well in that situation. When the opportunity comes, I will work hard to grab it. I don’t have an answer except to do well,” he emphasized, vowing to seize the opportunity that came his way this year.

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