“I want to make the next victory a quality start (QS, 6 or more starting innings and 3 runs or less).”

Did you say, ‘If you wish hard enough, it will come true’? In the third year of his debut, NC Young-gun Lee Yong-jun (21) harvested the first starter he so much hoped for after 547 days. The hard work for this moment has finally paid off.

Lee Yong-jun started in the second game of the 2023 KBO League home match against KT held at Changwon NC Park on the 12th and led to a 5-1 victory with 4 hits, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts and 1 run in 5 innings. Prior to the game on this day, Lee Yong-jun’s personal career record was 1 loss and 8.23 ​​ERA. Along with reporting the first win of the 2023 season, the average ERA was also significantly lowered to 7.24.스포츠토토

Lee Yong-jun, who met with reporters after the game, said, “From the time I played the first team game, I was so eager to win his first victory. It feels so good to be able to achieve it today,” he said.

NC urgently needed a replacement selection as Taylor Widener (31), one of the foreign one-two punchers, left a gap due to injury. Lee Yong-jun made his first mound in the match against Doosan in Jamsil on the 6th and left a strong impression by pitching 3.2 scoreless innings. And while taking the eyes of the head coach Kang In-kwon, he was dropped as a starter for the KT match.

Director Kang’s prediction was right. It will not be easy for him, but he gave confidence that 5 innings would be enough if he endured well in the first inning. Manager Kang, whom I met the day before before the game, said, “I think the 1st inning will be a turning point. He believes that if he passes the first inning well, he will be able to handle 5 innings,” expressing both concern and expectation.

In fact, Lee Yong-jun was driven to 1st and 3rd base safely, with Kim Min-hyuk and Kang Baek-ho’s consecutive hits in the beginning of the first inning, leading to a wild fight in a crisis situation with 1st and 2nd bases unharmed. He struck out Anthony Alford with a swinging miss, but Park Byeong-ho hit a timely hit and conceded a run. However, Lee Yong-jun got out of the crisis by handling KT Cho Yong-ho as a ground ball in the crisis with the second company loaded. Lee Yong-joon, who escaped the crisis of a large number of runs in the first inning, found a sense of stability and blocked the KT lineup well without any further runs until the 5th inning.

At the end of the 5th inning, NC succeeded in reversing with Park Min-woo’s 2 RBI triple and Park Kun-woo’s 2-run home run, and at the end of the 6th inning, veteran Park Seok-min’s wedge was added to make it 5-1. Here, Lee Yong-jun’s victory was protected by the bullpen’s solid iron wall defense.

Lee Yong-jun said, “I could have been discouraged because there were a lot of pitches in the first inning and the situation was not good, but (Park) Se-hyeok senior and coach gave me confidence that the first inning was not good, so I will continue to get better from next time. He seems to have passed well,” he said. “From the 1st to the 5th, I believed that his brothers’ hitting was good, so he would explode. It turned out exactly as expected,” he said with a broad smile.

He said, “In fact, as we succeeded in scoring after the 5th inning, I was greedy that if I threw something up to the 6th inning, I would be able to start a quality start.” . I think the coach and I had the same thoughts,” he confessed.

Naturally, Lee Yong-jun’s next step is to win the QS selection. the goal is clear He said, “Actually, this is my first start as a starter this year, and I haven’t thrown more than 70 balls, so I think the coach was worried that I might get hurt by throwing too much.” he said forcefully. kmg@sportsseoul.com

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