The 2023 season has come to an end for the ‘defending champions’ SSG Landers. After three straight losses in the Semi-Playoffs (Semi-Po), SSG’s fall was marked by disappointing performances from a number of players, most notably the national team duo of Choi Ji-hoon and Park Sung-ah, who helped the team win gold at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games.
Choi managed just one hit in five at-bats in the semifinals. After batting seventh in Game 1, Choi went silent in his first at-bat in the third inning. In particular, in his last at-bat in the bottom of the 39th inning, Choi swung at a fastball from Lee Yong-chan and flied out to shortstop.
SSG had cut the deficit to one run (3-4) when Ha Jae-hoon hit a two-run home run just before Choi’s at-bat. With a shaky pitcher on the mound and a potentially game-changing situation, the hasty approach to the first pitch spoiled the momentum.메이저사이트
Choi Ji-hoon, who missed Game 2, was not in the starting lineup for Game 3. The game was a back-and-forth affair early on, and SSG had a golden opportunity in the top of the third inning when they trailed 5-7. SSG pulled out the pinch-hitting card for Choi Ji-hoon, who had been strong against Lee Jae-hak this season, going 2-for-6 with a double and two RBIs.
However, Choi did not live up to the expectations of the bench. With a 2-2 count, Choi swung at an outside fastball from Lee Jae-hak and hit a grounder to shortstop. After failing to capitalize on the decisive opportunity, SSG eventually lost the third game 6-7 and was eliminated from the Fall Baseball League.
Park Sung-haeng, the “Kookmin shortstop,” also had a bad day. Batting second in the first game, alongside table-setter Oh Tae-gon, he went 0-for-3 with one strikeout and was unable to get the offense going. Dropped to the seventh spot in the batting order in game two, Park Sung-han recorded a multi-hit game with a double in the sixth and an RBI single in the eighth, but was unable to connect with a follow-up hit.
The third game was the most disappointing. Park, batting sixth in the lineup, grounded out to shortstop in his first at-bat of the inning. With the bases loaded in the top of the third, he squandered a chance with an infield single on just one pitch against reliever Lee Jae-hak. Park Sung-eun, who led off the fifth inning, tried to turn the tide with a surprise bunt, but it was fouled off by the catcher.
He then grounded out to the second baseman in the seventh and to the first baseman in the ninth, and was silent in five at-bats. Park Sung-ho, who was supposed to be the link between the cleanup and the bottom of the order, failed to live up to the expectations of the bench.
After contributing to last year’s Wire-to-Wire title, Choi Ji-hoon and Park Sung-ho have struggled this season. After posting a triple-digit batting average (0.304) and double-digit home runs (10) in his rookie campaign last season, Choi has slumped to a .268 batting average with two home runs, 30 RBIs, 21 doubles and a .672 OPS in 117 games this season. Park Sung-ho, who narrowly missed triple digits last year (.298), has also been disappointing this year, batting .266 with nine homers, 47 RBIs and an OPS of 0.713 in 128 games. After returning home from the Hangzhou Asian Games with gold medals, Choi and Park failed to win a Korean Series championship medal for the second straight year due to poor fall baseball.