Reporter Lee Sang-cheol = It has been about three months, but Choi Won-tae (26, Kiwoom Heroes) cannot forget the nightmare of the final home run he hit in Game 5 of the Korean Series last year.
Kiwoom, who ranked 3rd in the regular season in the 2022 season, advanced to the Korean Series by causing a ‘rebellion of the hero corps’ and engaged in a fierce battle with SSG Landers, but missed the first championship by losing 2 wins and 4 losses.
The match was the 5th game with 2 wins and 2 losses, and at that time Kiwoom led 4-2 until the beginning of the 9th inning and was on the verge of victory, but Choi Won-tae allowed Kim Kang-min a home run to end the three-run reversal like a lie at the end of the 9th inning and collapsed. With this one shot, the flow went to SSG, and Kiwoom ended its dream of winning by losing 3-4 in the 6th game.
It was a moment that Choi Won-tae, who had been fighting in the bullpen and added strength, could not easily shake off. He felt guilty as much as his dream of winning was ruined because of him.
Choi Won-tae said, “I had a strong desire to do better in baseball last fall because I had not been able to achieve good results in the postseason. I hit well without missing a hit, but I wasn’t good at choosing the type of pitch,” he recalled Game 5 of the Korean Series.
I used that nightmare as a strong motivation to prepare for the new season. He said, “The Korean Series championship was right in front of me, and it was a game I had to win, but it was very sad that I lost because of me.
The Kiwoom team, led by coach Hong Won-ki, is holding a spring camp in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA from the 1st, but Choi Won-tae, the main pitcher, is currently training with Futures coach Seol Jong-jin at the national baseball training center in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province. On the 7th, they will leave for Kaohsiung, Taiwan, to prepare for the new season in earnest.
As Kiwoom prepares for this season, it is dualizing the squad. In the case of the Taiwanese camp, it is planned to focus on actual combat. It is a measure to prepare to play immediately in the demonstration game that will start on March 13 as a consideration for players who come up late.
Choi Won-tae said, “There will be more than 10 practice games at the spring camp in Taiwan, and I think I will be able to make up for what I lack through many real matches.” I’m trying to keep it well,” he said. 메이저사이트
An Woo-jin has grown into a native ace representing Kiwoom, but the original native ace was Choi Won-tae. From 2017 to 2019, he became the first domestic pitcher in Kiwoom to win 10 starts in three consecutive seasons. However, it slowed down after that, and in the second half of last year, there were more bullpen appearances due to being pushed out of the starting lineup.
Choi Won-tae, whose pride was crumpled, set a goal for the 2023 season by joining the starting lineup. He expressed confidence, saying, “Of course, I want to play as a starting pitcher. I want to record 10 starts in 4 years. I think I can do it if I prepare well.”
There are a few things to prepare for stepping up the stairs. Choi Won-tae said, “Currently, under the guidance of coach Song Young-young, I am intensively polishing the curve. If I add pitches to the curve, it will be easier to deal with batters. We want to bring it up quickly,” he explained.
He added, “Now I feel a lot of responsibility as I am not young. I will show a more fighting side on the mound to raise the morale of the team.”