“Wow, this won’t work”… Why was the goal of Korea’s best catcher to be 10 home runs?

“My goal this year was 10. I thought, wow, this isn’t going to work.”

Doosan Bears’ home manager Yang Eui-ji (36) confessed that his goal for this year was 10 home runs after leading the team to an 11-1 victory by hitting a three-pointer against the Jamsil NC Dinos on the 12th. It wasn’t just a brutal killing. Yang Eui-ji was hitting 8 home runs until July, the first half of the season. It was a home run pace that did not suit a sluggish catcher who could easily hit 30 home runs a year.

Yang Eui-ji’s home스포츠토토 run production is so outstanding that he ranks 4th among all-time catchers and 2nd among active catchers with a total of 245 home runs. He had hit 20 home runs for five consecutive years: 23 home runs in 2018, 20 home runs in 2019, 33 home runs in 2020, 30 home runs in 2021, and 20 home runs in 2022. His home run pace is slower this year, and at one point he thought, ‘I’ll just hit 10 home runs,’ but now he’s hitting 17 home runs. He can reach the 20 home run mark for the sixth consecutive year if he hits three or more home runs in the remaining five games of the regular season.

Yang Eui-ji made a long-awaited and exciting performance in an important match against NC in a battle for third place. In the bottom of the 3rd inning, when Doosan was ahead 3-1, with no outs on first and second base, he hit a 3-run home run to the left, quickly widening the gap to 6-1. With a ball count of 1-2, he targeted opposing starting pitcher Lee Jae-hak’s changeup. It was a powerful blow that brought Lee Jae-hak off the mound while keeping the spark of his challenge for 20 home runs in the season alive. Thanks to this, Doosan was able to smile by beating NC, and narrowed the distance to 4th place NC by 0.5 games. They are only 1 game behind 3rd place SSG Landers, so they can easily catch up in the remaining 5 games.

After leading the victory, Yang Eui-ji said, “I need to hit more (home runs). I’m at a career low right now. My goal this year was 10. I kept getting caught in front of the fence in the beginning. I thought, ‘Wow, this isn’t going to work.’ I feel like my batted balls haven’t been flying since last year. “I received it,” he said, confessing his frustration.

Since September, he has completely regained his home run pace. Yang Eui-ji hit 10 home runs in 94 games until August, and 7 home runs in 30 games since September. Four of his remaining five games are Jamsil home games, so conditions are not favorable for producing home runs, but Yang Eui-ji hit eight home runs in Jamsil this year. Yang Eui-ji must hit consistently to gain momentum in Doosan’s battle for third place, so he will now do his best to aim for 20 home runs.

Yang Eui-ji said, “I’m feeling a little better now. I’ve been putting in a lot of effort so far. Since I have 17, I think I can do it and I’m doing my best. Even in the season when I hit my last 30 home runs, I hit my 30th home run in the last game. I hit 19 home runs.” “If so, I think I can hit it well in Incheon (the last game on the 17th). Lately, I’ve been hitting it a lot in Jamsil as well. Since I hit it well, I think I’ll get over it,” he said, looking at it positively.

Analyzing the reason for the decrease in home runs throughout the season and correcting and improving the batting are now showing results. Yang Eui-ji expressed satisfaction, saying, “In the beginning, there were a lot of batted balls flying in front and falling. As I tried to make a big front swing and made up for it, there were more and more straight batted balls. That’s why I’m looking forward to next year even more.”

Doosan will play four games in a row at its home stadium, Jamsil, against KIA Tigers on the 13th, LG Twins on the 14th and 15th, and SSG on the 16th, and will play its final game against SSG on the 17th in Incheon. With a season record of 72 wins, 65 losses, and 2 draws, it is advantageous to advance to the semifinals, but we still need to secure many wins until the end to lay the foundation for lasting longer in fall baseball. There is still a possibility of going straight to the semi-playoffs in 3rd place, so it is important to somehow accumulate a lot of wins.

Yang Eui-ji said, “I think the last two games against SSG will be important. It is true that it will be physically taxing since we will be playing eight games in a row until the last game, but I will do my best until the end.”

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