As the curtain comes down on the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games, the race for the KBO home run crown remains between “National Team” player Noh Shi-hwan (left-Hanwha Eagles) and “Home Run Factory” player Choi Jung (right-SSG Landers).
Choi hit his 29th arch of the season in the top of the ninth inning against the NC Dinos at Changwon NC Park with a one-run lead, taking a low fastball from Ha Joon-young. She moved within two runs of home run leader Noh Si-hwan, signaling that the title race is far from over.
Choi Jeong-jeong continued to hit hard while Noh Si-hwan was away with the national team. On his return from a five-day layoff due to back pain, he hit a one-run home run off Hanwha starter Lee Tae-yang in the bottom of the first inning, and in the third inning, he hit a knee-bending pitch that cleared the fence for a grand slam.
By the middle of the season, it looked like Noh was going to cruise to his first career home run title. After hitting three home runs against the KT WIZ on August 9, Noh followed it up with home runs on the 12th and 15th of the same month, widening his lead over Choi to seven.
However, the competition resumed as Noh’s bat cooled dramatically. After slumping to a .205 batting average with one home run in 10 games since mid-August, Noh was held to two home runs last month. However, he hit his 31st home run of the season in 16 games before being called up to the national team, and found his groove in Hangzhou, going 1-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs against Japan on Friday and 1-for-3 with a home run and an RBI against China on Saturday.토토사이트
“I was stressed because my batting was not good, but I found my form with the home run in the previous game,” Noh said in an interview before the team’s training session on March 24. “I hope I don’t have too many home runs during the Asian Games,” he said.
But Choi is definitely motivated. SSG is in a tight three-way battle for third through fifth place with the Doosan Bears and NC, which could drop them into the wild-card battle depending on the rest of the season. With the team’s batting average ranked eighth in the league (0.259), they are in desperate need of a big hit from their leadoff hitter to punch their ticket to the semi-finals.