“To have a chance, you have to be more prepared.”
Oh Seung-hwan recorded his 400th career save in the KBO on Thursday against the SSG Landers in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Samsung Lions Park in Daegu. While all the spotlight was on Oh, there was another player who made a big contribution to the record. That would be Lee Sung-gyu.
In fact, it’s not an exaggeration to say that Lee Sung-kyu made Oh Seung-hwan’s saves possible. He helped Oh Seung-hwan with a goal-saving save and an extra point. First up was Lee Sung-gyu, who made a fantastic defensive play. In the eighth inning, with runners on second and third, he faced Choo Shin-soo. Working a full count, Oh threw a six-pitch, 144-kilometer fastball, but it was in the middle of the strike zone and Choo made a strong contact. If he was able to get away with it, Oh would have a blown save. However, Lee Sung-gyu made a great catch and quickly took the base for the final out.
After his super catch, Lee Sung-kyu was also active in the ninth inning. The score was 4-3 in favor of the Lions. With runners on second and first, Lee hit a triple off Choi Min-jun. Lee Sung-gyu’s offensive performance helped Oh Seung-hwan reach 400 saves.
The next day (Nov. 15), Park Jin-man, who met with the media before the game against the NC Dinos at Changwon NC Park, said, “Lee Sung-kyu’s hosebee made Seung-hwan Oh’s 400th save,” and smiled at Lee’s performance. He continued, “Oh Seung-hwan was also shaking because the record was on the line. I think it will be more memorable for him to achieve 400 saves in a dramatic way with the help of the defense.”안전놀이터
In fact, at the beginning of the season, it looked like 2023 would be a turning point for Lee. In 14 games, Lee hit .333 (12-for-36) with five home runs, two doubles and a .778 OPS. That’s because he was swinging for the fences. However, after the opening day, Lee failed to capitalize on his opportunities and was pushed out of the starting lineup.
Manager Park Jin-man said, “I had high hopes for Lee Sung-kyu. When Kim Hyun-jun went down with an injury, he was given a chance, but he didn’t take it. Then, when Kim Sung-yoon made the leap to the starting lineup, Lee Sung-gyu was unable to play. Now, Lee Sung-gyu needs to be more motivated. I think he needs to be more prepared if he wants to get good grades,” he said, expressing his hope for Lee Sung-gyu’s further development.
On the day of his 400th save, senior Oh Seung-hwan said, “For me, today is a very meaningful day. However, I also hope that it was a turning point for Lee Sung-gyu. I hope Lee Sung-gyu will remember this game more. I believe he can do even better. If he does well next year, I think I’ll have given him a really big gift,” he said, cheering him on.