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Kim Seon-woo Edges out Choi Hee-seop

Posted April. 14, 2004 22:06,   


There was a crisis with runners on first and second base and two outs in the eighth inning, as the Montreal Expos was behind 0-4.

Taking the mound as the second pitcher for Montreal in the seventh inning, 27-year-old Kim Seon-woo faced a challenge. His close, two years’ junior and fellow Korea University student, Choi Hee-seop (25-year-old), appeared at the plate for Florida.

Kim talked with the catcher for a bit before pitching, seemingly under pressure. He pitched defensively considering Choi’s power and had Choi at no strikes and two balls. Driven into a corner, Kim calmed himself after being advised from his pitching coach. Thereafter, he threw a 148km/hr high fastball inside to Choi, and Choi swung.

It was popped up to right field and was caught by the right fielder Juan Gonzalez. It was a close victory for Kim. It was a historical confrontation in which a Korean pitcher and a Korean hitter faced each other for the first time in Major League Baseball regular season.

Montreal and Florida played at San Juan Hiram Bithorn Stadium, Puerto Rico on April 14.

Playing in the desirable Major Leagues, Kim contended in a friendly match with Choi, inducing the pop-up to right field. They played against each other when Choi was promoted to the Major Leagues for the Chicago Cubs in September of 2002 and the two teams played on April 9, but it was the first time that they have faced each other.

Throwing as fast as 150km/hr and with 21 strikes out of 44 pitches, Kim allowed two hits and one run over three innings pitched. He gave up a run for the first time in three games this season. His ERA is 1.42.

Choi only walked once in four at-bats, with no hits (one strike out). He hasn’t had a hit in two games, bringing down his batting average to 0.200 (four hits in 20 at-bats). Florida won five straight, beating Montreal 5-0.

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com