After a long signing session with the catcher, LG’s Choi Won-tae took his foot off the mound. After taking a deep breath, he exchanged autographs with the catcher again. But this time, Choi Won-tae kept shaking his head and refused to sign the catcher’s autograph. Then, Hanwha’s Chae Eun-sung, who was batting, released his foot and laughed, telling Heo Do-hwan, “Let (Choi Won-tae) throw the ball he wants to throw.” Heo smiled when he heard the story.

Heo Do-hwan smiled when he heard Chae Eun-sung’s comment, and he did indeed sign Choi’s autograph with the pitch he wanted. With two strikes and no outs, Choi wanted a high fastball. But Chae Eun-sung cut it, and then induced a false swing with a dropping curveball that Heo Do-hwan called for, resulting in a catcher’s strike for the final out.

When a batter can talk to the opposing catcher during a game and laugh about ball placement, it’s a sign of a good relationship.캡틴토토 That’s right. Chae played exclusively in the LG for 14 years before joining Hanwha as a free agent last winter. He joined LG as a rookie in 2009 and was the team’s No. 4 hitter last season, leading the team’s batting order. He still maintains a close friendship with his LG teammates, even though they are now opponents in Hanwha uniforms.

After striking out in her first at-bat, Chae Eun-sung stepped up to the plate with a vengeance in her second at-bat. But LG knew her too well from their time together. In her second at-bat, she showed a 145-kilometer high fastball before turning it into a 123-kilometer slow curveball for a swinging strike. 

Chae is batting .266 with 124 hits, 20 home runs, 75 RBIs, 64 runs scored, a .428 OPS and a .779 slugging percentage this season, but she goes silent when facing LG. Against LG, he’s batting .180 with 11 doubles, two homers, four RBIs, eight runs scored, a .295 OPS and a .549 slugging percentage. That was the case in this game as well, as he batted third and started at first base but was thoroughly exploited, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. 

Choi Won-tae, on the other hand, shut down his nemesis, Chae Eun-sung, in an important comeback game. As an LG, Chae Eun-sung was very strong against Kiwoom Choi, batting .417 (10-for-24) with a .440 OPS and .982 slugging percentage. However, this day was different as he was paired with catcher Heo Do-hwan after the LG transfer. He struck out swinging in his first at-bat and flied out to left field in his third.

Meanwhile, the game was a complete game victory for Choi Won-tae, who returned from a stint in the second team. Choi threw 92 pitches, allowing one run on six hits (one home run) in seven innings with one walk and eight strikeouts. He overwhelmed the Hanwha bats with a variety of pitches, including a fastball that topped out at 148 kilometers per hour, a slider, a changeup, and a curveball.

With the survival of Choi Won-tae, who was the “final piece” to the championship puzzle, LG took a step toward fulfilling a long-held dream of winning the Korean Series for the first time in 29 years since 1994.

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