“You lost because of me”… The pain of ending the KS 5th game was used as a stepping stone for growth

 “The team lost because of me. I prepared hard last winter thinking about that part.”

Choi Won-tae started in the home game against the LG Twins in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League held at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on the 5th and played 6 innings (104), 5 hits, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts and 1 run.

Kiwoom won 2-1 thanks to Choi Won-tae’s quality start, and Choi Won-tae enjoyed the joy of winning in his first appearance.

Choi Won-tae, who was selected as a Distinguished Player, said, “Last year, I never threw 100 balls, but when I looked at the number of pitches when I went up in the 6th inning, it was 80. I thought I should do it until the 6th inning.” I threw a lot of balls. I should have played quickly, but that part is regrettable,” he looked back at his pitching.

When we think of Choi Won-tae, we cannot leave out the postseason last year. Choi Won-tae, who was in charge of the bullpen in fall baseball, led the team to the Korean Series by doing his part after the start of the postseason. Choi Won-tae wanted to take responsibility for the 6th inning because he knew better than anyone else the pressure that bullpen pitchers feel.

Choi Won-tae showed extraordinary responsibility, saying, “When I go down in a situation where I sent out runners in the 6th inning, the bullpen pitcher becomes more burdened. I also tried it last year, so I wanted to solve it even if I threw a lot. I threw with that thought.”

Before the game, Kiwoom coach Hong Won-ki said that last year’s postseason seemed to be a turning point for Choi Won-tae. Choi Won-tae was of the same mind.  스포츠토토

Choi Won-tae said, “I felt a lot during the postseason last year and it became a turning point. The balance seems to have improved and I am trying to maintain it well. I also learned a lot about the struggles of bullpen pitchers.”

Choi Won-tae, who kept the bullpen mound firmly throughout the postseason, collapsed in Game 5 of the Korean Series. At the end of the ninth inning, when the team was ahead 4-2, Won-tae Choi let pinch hitter Kang-min Kim hit a three-run home run in the crisis of 1st and 3rd base, and hung his head.

Choi Won-tae used the pain he experienced in fall baseball as a springboard for growth. He said, “The team lost because of me. I prepared hard last winter thinking about that part.”

With this victory, Choi Won-tae finally earned a starting win in his first appearance of the season. In the first six previous starts of the season, they recorded only two losses without a win.

Choi Won-tae smiled, saying, “I have never won. Before the season, when the coach told me that I was going to be the 4th starting pitcher, I thought I had to win the first game unconditionally. It was my first win, and I feel good.”

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