“Why didn’t they use a pitcher like that?” he asked. 150 kilometers in front of a packed house. 22-year-old military pitcher Gak Tuk-tu.
Sajik Stadium in Busan, South Korea, during the LG Twins-Lotte Giants game on May 5.
Trailing 1-5, a pitcher making his debut came to the plate in the top of the eighth inning for Lotte. Woo Kang-hoon, a sidearm pitcher. A third-year high school pitcher who graduated from Yatapgo and was drafted with the 41st overall pick in the second round of the 2021 First-Year Player Draft. He was a former military pitcher who underwent elbow ligament reconstruction surgery and was discharged in May after enlisting for active duty.
However, he pitched impressively against the No. 1 team, LG. Against the first batter, Jung Ju-hyun, he threw four pitches, all fastballs, for a fly to right field. His fastball was up to 151 kilometers per hour. After retiring veteran Seo Gun-chang and rookie Kim Bum-seok to end the eighth inning, Woo Kang-hoon came out in the top of the ninth and retired Son Ho-young, Kim Ki-yeon, and Shin Min-jae to end his first start with two perfect innings of one-hit, one-strikeout ball.
The second stage was Jamsil. They came up in the bottom of the ninth with a comfortable 8-1 lead against LG. The leadoff hitter, Moon Sung-joo, walked on a full count. Woo Kang-hoon, who returned from the Hangzhou Asian Games to pinch-hit for Moon Bo-kyung with a fastball, was hit by a pitch from Seo Gun-chang, but Kim Bum-seok threw him out at third base to end the game. There were 22,807 fans in attendance, close to a sellout (23,750 seats), and both teams were cheering enthusiastically, so there could have been a lot of nerves for Woo, but he finished well.
Lotte acting head coach Lee Jong-woon had high hopes for Woo. “He was good when he threw once before (on the 5th), so I thought he would be overwhelmed by the crowd this time, but he threw well,” he said, adding that his mental game was also good.
Lee continued, “He might feel pressure to write because he doesn’t have experience yet, but I’m asking him to throw in the same situation and he’s showing good skills.”캡틴토토
LG manager Yeom Kyung-yeop, who has faced Woo twice, was also impressed. “I saw him in Busan, and his ball was fast and good,” he said, “I don’t know why they put him in the second team. He is a pitcher who can be used as a must-win pitcher next year.” He nodded as if he understood after hearing that he was discharged from the military this year.
Yeom used Park Myung-geun, a high school rookie, in the bullpen this year. Woo Kang-hoon is a sidearm pitcher like Park, but he also has a fastball and a variety of pitches, including a curveball, slider, and changeup, so he could be used as a bullpen pitcher.