Doosan Bears outfielder Kim Tae-geun made his presence felt with a multi-hit game and a home run on the day he took over the leadoff spot for the first time in his professional career.
Doosan extended its winning streak to four games with a 10-1 victory over SSG in the ninth game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Friday. 스포츠토토 The team’s season record now stands at 54 wins, 1 loss and 51 draws.
Kim Tae-geun, who was placed in the table setting position alongside Kim Jae-ho, swung the bat fiercely from the first at-bat. He pulled a fastball from SSG starter Kim Kwang-hyun and smashed a two-run double to left field, giving the team an immediate scoring opportunity. After advancing to third on Kim Jae-ho’s single, Kim Tae-geun came home on Jose Rojas’ RBI single to give his team the lead.
Kim completed his multi-hit game two at-bats later. In the bottom of the third inning, SSG catcher Cho Hyung-woo’s fastball (foil) and a stolen base put runners on first and third, and Kim Tae-geun lined a five-pitch fastball from Kim Kwang-hyun to left field to score Cho from third. Just like his first at-bat, he made perfect contact with the fastball and converted it into a hit.
Kim Tae-geun, in particular, had an exceptional performance not only on offense but also on defense. In the top of the fourth inning, he chased down Kim Kang-min’s bunt and made a sliding catch, and in the top of the seventh inning, he threw out the runner at second base when Han Yoo-seom hit a single to right field, helping Kwak Bin keep his scoreless streak alive.
Doosan head coach Lee Seung-yeop also directly mentioned Kim Tae-geun, saying, “I want to praise Kim Tae-geun and Ahn Seung-han, who started the game as if they were beasts, and both of them did a tremendous job with the ball and defense beyond expectations.”
After the game, Kim Tae-geun said, “I was very excited when I realized that I would be playing as a leadoff for the first time. I had a lot of pressure to do well right before the game, but (Cho) Ha-dui advised me to do the same thing with ease and confidence, which helped me relax.”
Kim Tae-geun, who got two hits off the league’s leading left-hander, Kim Kwang-hyun, said, “In the pre-game power analysis meeting, I heard that the opposing starting pitcher (Kim Kwang-hyun) had a lot of fastballs, so I took advantage of that, which led to a good result and relieved my pressure. I am very grateful for the power analysis part.”
Recalling the assist in the top of the seventh inning, Kim Tae-geun said, “I was playing backward defense at the time, but when I looked at the scoreboard, I saw that (Kwak) Binyi had a no-hitter. The pace was such that a complete game victory was possible, so I just thought that if a strong hit came, I would somehow catch the runner at home and protect Binyi’s no-hitter. It was not me, but the catcher (Ahn) Seung-han who caught the ball well,” he said.
After rupturing the Achilles tendon in his left ankle in late July last year, Kim had to undergo a lengthy rehabilitation period and didn’t start playing in the Futures League until mid-May this year. He didn’t break into the first team until the first half of the season, focusing on improving his game, and only started getting opportunities late last month.
“It was hard during the long rehabilitation period, but I feel like I’m getting a little bit of compensation by getting a chance recently,” Kim said with a smile, adding, “I’m really grateful to the coaching staff and the training part that I struggled with in Icheon,” before heading to the locker room.