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Choi`s Refreshing Solo Homer

Posted April. 16, 2003 21:55,   


Two good news items from across the Pacific.

First one is about Hee S. Choi of Chicago Cubs. For the last four games, he failed to hit any. But he punched off the agony with a solo homer against Cincinnati Reds yesterday in a home game.

In the sixth, when the Cubs were leading 9-0, Choi drove a fastball from Josias Manzanillo deep into the center, which eventually fell outside the stadium. It flew only 118m. But the fence is quite low, and that was why he could hit a ball over the stadium. It was his season second home run. Choi last recorded a home run on April 5th game also against Cincinnati Reds.

Previously in the 5th, he hit another single into the right. In total, he recorded two hits for four, along with one RBI. His season average rose to 0.250.

Choi said, "I hit the fastball. I guess the strong wind helped me. Lately, I reviewed my videotaped batting form, and got to know my lowered stance was not good for fastballs. So, I returned to last year`s narrow stance and pulled my lower body a little up. That is why I got the good results today, I guess."

Arizona Braves reliever Jung Bong also got a lucky day. He recorded his first win against Montreal Expos held in Puerto Rico.

In the bottom ninth, Bong took the mound. The game was 1-1 tie. He, however, sealed off the inning. In the tenth, Marcus Giles hit a solo homer for the Braves, which was defended by its best closer Johm Smoltz. Thus, Braves won the game 2-1.

Pitching just nine balls brought Bong a win. Among South Korean major leaguers, he became the fifth winning pitcher, after Chan Ho Park (Texas Rangers), Jin Ho Cho (former Boston Red Sox), Byung H. Kim (Arizona Diamondbacks), and Sun Kim (Montreal Expos).

More remarkable is his lowered ERA. He now retains 2.35, and almost secured his position as a reliever.

In the meanwhile, Byung Hyun Kim is not likely to pitch in the 20th game against St. Louis Cardinals, due to his right ankle. He got injured by a piece of Petterson`s broken bat Tuesday.

Sang-Soo Kim ssoo@donga.com