Lee Jung-hoo is Lee Jung-hoo. Kiwoom Heroes’ Lee Jung-hoo shook off an early slump to lead his team to victory.
Kiwoom cruised to a 13-0 victory over the LG Twins at the Gocheok Dome on Aug. 8. They didn’t hit a single home run but pounded out 20 hits. Lee Jung-hoo also led the offense. He hit the game-winning two-run double with runners on first and third in the first inning and followed it up with an RBI triple in the fourth. He was 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. Manager Hong Won-ki replaced Lee Jung-hoo with Lim Byung-wook in the bottom of the seventh inning due to the previous day’s 12-inning game.
Lee has 19 hits in 39 at-bats in his last 10 games. He has no hitless games and seven multi-hit games. In seven games, he reached base six times with three hits and three walks. Lee said, “I felt good hitting before, and it looks good now that the results are following. I think I should try to keep the good feeling. Just because I’m in scoring position doesn’t mean anything.”
In fact, Lee’s hitting at the start of the season was the worst since his debut. He finished April with a .218 batting average. But a triple-digit batting average in May (0.305) pushed his season average up to 0.266. As of June 8, his batting average is 0.294, and he’s on pace to reach the triple digits.
“Hitting has a cycle,” says Lee. I got a little impatient because I thought I was starting with a bad cycle. I was trying to get results, so I was trying to hit bad pitches without picking them out. I also hit pitches that weren’t in my strike zone, which led to bad results. With the help of the guys around me, I was able to improve.”
“At first I thought it was unfortunate because I was getting so many good pitches, but now I don’t pay attention to each one. Lately, I’ve been getting some hard hits, and I’ve been hitting them to the outfield. It’s helped me get a lot of at-bats and improve my hitting.”
Lee also reached a significant milestone. He reached the 500-hit plateau in 853 career games. He did so at the age of 24 years, 9 months, and 18 days. The only other players to reach 500 hits before Lee was Doosan Bears manager Lee Seung-yeop and Kim Ha-seong, who played together in the Heroes.
“I didn’t get the hit alone, but (Kim) 먹튀검증 Jun-wan and Hye-sung helped me from the first inning. I’m grateful.” “It means a lot. Until his third year, he was mainly a table setter and not a mid- to long-range hitter. It’s nice to be able to do it after a national hitter and a major leaguer,” he laughed.
Throughout the three-game series, Lee had to face his family. He is married to his sister, teammate Ko Woo-seok, and his father, coach Lee Jong-beom. In the seventh game, he went toe-to-toe with Ko Woo-seok and got a straight grounder. Lee said, “I was fine. He was probably under more pressure. I already had three hits, and if Woo-seok got hit, the game was over,” he laughed, adding, “I felt like it was going to be a tough game because I was more comfortable at the plate.”
He also shared some of his conversations with coach Lee Jong-beom. “My dad (who is the first base coach) didn’t tie his shoes. Today, he said he tied them, so I told him to wear slippers if that’s the case,” Lee said.
The Korea Baseball Organization and the Korea Baseball Softball Association will announce the roster for the 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games on Monday. Lee, who has worn the national team’s uniform since the 2017 APBC, has a near 100 percent chance of being selected. “It’s a lot different from the first time I went to the Asian Games four years ago. I was a substitute then,” Lee recalled.