A pitcher who once wandered away from the Kia Motorsports organization tries to win his first save. No matter how you look at it, the trade three years ago was a stroke of genius.

Doosan closer Hong Gun-hee, 31, pitched one scoreless, two-hit shutout inning in the 10th game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League against Kiwoom at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Aug. 8 to earn his 19th save of the season. It was a valuable save that extended the team’s winning streak to seven games.

Hong took the mound as the team’s fourth pitcher in the ninth inning with a 5-2 lead. After getting the first batter, Kim Woong-bin, to fly out to right field on six pitches, she struck out Lim Ji-yeol and Lee Ji-young in succession to end the game. Lim used a slider at 2B-2S as his deciding pitch, and against the veteran Lee Ji-young, he induced a three-pitch swinging strike with a dropping curveball. She threw 14 pitches.토토사이트

Hong Gun-hee earned the save in her third appearance in three days after taking two days off following her save against Pohang Samsung on May 5 to reach the 19-save plateau. It was the most saves in a single season for the rookie, surpassing his 18 last year. Last year, he earned 18 saves in 58 games after starting as a setup man and taking over the closer role during the season, but this year, in his first full-time closer season, he set a new record after 35 games.

Hong Gun-hee, who was selected by KIA in the second round (9th overall) of the 2011 KBO Draft out of Hwasungo, moved to Doosan on June 7, 2020, in a trade for Ryu Ji-hyuk. Despite possessing a strong fastball, he was often bounced between the starting rotation and the bullpen due to poor command of his pitches and frequent ups and downs, but with the move, he finally found his groove and jumped to the top of the rotation.

After going 9-20 with a 6.30 ERA in 166 games, five saves, and five relief appearances with KIA, Hong jumped to 11-22 with a 3.41 ERA in 208 games, 41 saves, and 35 relief appearances with Doosan. In 2021, he went 6-6 with a 2.78 ERA in 65 games, three saves and 17 holds, helping the team reach the Korean Series for the first time in seven years, and last year, he filled in for Kim Kang-ryul after the latter’s injury departure, posting double-digit saves in a full season for the first time in his career.

Hong has been a steady hand under Lee Seung-yup, posting a 3-3 record with 19 saves and a 2.38 ERA in 35 games. Last year, his status was briefly shaken by the emergence of another reliever in Chung Chul-won, but he has been steadfast in his first full-time season as a closer under Lee Seung-yup, who said, “Our closer is Hong Gun-hee.” Hong is also the assistant manager of the Doosan pitching staff.

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