Debut first win → report tough SV → set-up man sortie… 2nd year monster leaps into ‘core bullpen’

 The KIA Tigers put up left-handed prospect Choi Ji-min (20) at the most dangerous moment. Choi Ji-min, who rose as the water rose, lived up to expectations.

KIA won 3-2 in the 5th game of the season against the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League Kiwoom Heroes held at Gwangju-KIA Champions Field on the 20th. With this, KIA increased its winning streak to ‘4’, and booked a winning series of 3 consecutive weekends.

KIA’s narrow lead was close. 안전놀이터In the bottom of the 3rd inning, Socrates Brito’s two-run homer turned the game around 3-2, and KIA sent runners in scoring position in every inning from the 5th to the 7th. However, starting pitcher Adonis Medina and bullpen liners Lim Ki-young, Lee Jun-young, and Jeon Sang-hyun worked together to overcome the hurdle.

Before long, KIA faced another major crisis. In the 8th inning, Jeon Sang-hyun, who was on the mound, dedicated a left-handed double to Kim Tae-jin, and was driven to second base with one company. KIA chose replacement. Instead of setup man Jang Hyun-shik, he pulled out Choi Ji-min, who is on the rise.

Choi Ji-min used the 133km/h slider, his main weapon, against Song Seong-moon, the first batter, to induce a floating ball in right field. Then, he faced pinch hitter Kim Hwi-jip, and made a shortstop ground ball out with a 149 km / h fastball. Choi Ji-min, who clearly erased Jeon Sang-hyun’s successor runner, passed the baton to finishing pitcher Jung Hae-young.

Choi Ji-min successfully completed his mission, harvested his second hold this season, and lowered his ERA from 1.37 to 1.33. The recent uptrend is phenomenal. They are on a 13-game scoreless streak.

Choi Ji-min, who earned his first win against Daegu Samsung on the 16th, scrambled from 1st and 2nd base in the 9th inning with the team leading 7-6 the next day and reported a tough save without conceding. Following his first win and first save, this time before Kiwoom was a setup man role. Despite the heavy task, Choi Ji-min showed off his courage without showing any sign of difficulty.

Choi Ji-min, who joined KIA with the 5th pick in the 2nd 1st round of the 2022 rookie draft, played 6 games last year, which was his debut season, and recorded an ERA of 13.50. In just one year, Choi Ji-min is showing a high-speed growth trend.

KIA coach Kim Jong-guk praised Choi Ji-min’s crisis management ability and praised him for being a support for the team. Choi Ji-min will continue to be used in important situations.

Choi Ji-min finally proved his competitiveness on the first team stage. Attention is drawn to his move, which has established himself as a key bullpen.

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