On the 2nd, in the Gwangju match between the Lotte Giants and the KIA Tigers, the aces seniors and juniors who led Gangneung High School to victory showed off their powerful skills. Coincidentally, Lotte Zero Man Kim Jin-wook (21) and KIA Fireballer Choi Ji-min (20), who had a complete transformation this season, climbed the mound as relief pitchers and did their part.
Kim Jin-wook started to relieve starter Park Se-woong in the 5th inning with 2 out 1st and 2nd base. Joo Hyo-sang was induced into a floating ball in right field after one pitch with a powerful fastball, and lightly put out the fire. In the sixth inning, he got two hits, but finished the mound by passing the baton with two outs and first base. Choi Jun-yong, who followed, finished the inning without conceding.
On this day, he went on a 12-game scoreless streak. He gave up four hits and eight walks in 12⅔ innings, but struck out 12. With the power of his fastball overflowing and his breaking ball control, he emerged as the core of the bullpen. It wasn’t Kim Jin-wook who had been shaken for the past two years. It was a metamorphosis itself.
Choi Ji-min took the mound in the ninth inning, trailing 3-7, and struck out one inning and blocked it with a three-way strike. Kim Min-seok was treated as a shortstop fly ball after nine pitches, Ko Seung-min as a ground ball to second base, and Rex as a strikeout. He bravely threw a fastball of up to 148 km. Recently, it has been up to 150km, and the power of transforming into a fireballer was shown as it is. He has a 2.03 ERA in 11 appearances.
The two players served as the aces of Gangneung High School with a one-year difference. At the time of winning the 2020 Presidential Cup, Kim Jin-wook led the mound as a third-year ace and Choi Ji-min as a sophomore pitcher. Choi Ji-min played an active role in winning the 2021 Golden Lion competition. That’s why the heart that cares for each other is special.
Side by side, Lotte (2021) and KIA (2022) were nominated as the 2nd 1st, and were expected as promising players. Kim Jin-wook had a lot of worries because he had not been able to control himself for two years. In his two years, his earned run averages were only 6.36 and 6.31. Choi Ji-min only pitched in six games last year due to problems with control and speed. However, during the off-season, he participated in the Australian League as a member of Geelong Korea and established himself as the main reliever pitcher in the first team through hard work.
That’s why it is inevitable that the mindset of thinking of each other will be different as they pitch side by side on this day. After the game, Kim Jin-wook said, “I met Jimin before the game. We didn’t talk much and just talked about our daily lives. Both Jimin and I will do our best for the match. We are proud of each other. Jimin will also be proud of it.” He conveyed his special feelings. 안전놀이터
In addition, hearing that Ji-min Choi expressed his wish to go to the Asian Games in Hangzhou this year with Jin-wook-hyung, he said, “It would be nice if Jimin went and it would be a much better memory if I was selected. I also went to Geelong Korea together. I think there will be,” he said, showing strong hope for a companion boarding.
Finally, Kim Jin-wook gave a thumbs up to Choi Ji-min’s speed-up. “I think I gained a lot of strength. I had a lot of trouble in my first year, but I think my body has improved a lot and my speed seems to come out. Now it seems that Jimin’s ball is much faster. I hope my speed will increase too,” he laughed. On this day, Kim Jin-wook recorded the highest distance of 146 km.