Kiwoom Heroes played four games without center Lee Jung-hoo. The result: 2 wins and 2 losses. Here’s how the team is feeling his absence.

Kiwoom won 2-0 against the Hanwha Eagles in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Nov. 27. The win snapped a two-game losing streak and gave the team a chance to rebound.

Ace Ahn Woo-jin was the driving force behind the victory. He pitched eight innings of two-hit ball with one walk and 10 strikeouts.

The bats took advantage of Hanwha’s small lead. In the fourth inning, leadoff hitter Kim Hye-sung reached on an error by the first baseman. Dawson then drew a walk and Lee Hyung-jong followed with a single. With runners on first and third, Song Sung-moon drove in a run with an infield single.

The 2-0 lead held until the end. Kiwoom, who was facing a possible sweep, stayed focused to secure the win.

The team’s recent struggles have been due to inconsistency on the mound, but also the absence of center fielder Lee Jung-hoo. Without him, the team is unable to score runs when they need to, which has led to late runs and losses.

Lee started in center field as the No. 3 hitter against the Lotte Giants at Sajik Baseball Stadium on April 22, but was replaced in the bottom of the eighth inning when he felt pain in his left ankle while fielding. After being removed from the roster the next day, Lee underwent a medical examination and was diagnosed with a damaged left ankle extensor ligament.

It was an injury that required surgery. He was hospitalized on the 26th and underwent surgery on the morning of the 27th. His rehabilitation is expected to take three months. He is effectively out for the season.

The Kiwoom players have been wearing Lee’s number 51 on their caps. They played four games without Lee Jeong-hoo. It was a series of tough games. On the 23rd, they came home after ending an eight-game losing streak after a six-hour, 10-minute battle against Lotte, but suffered a second straight loss against Hanwha. The first game on the 25th was a nail-biter, lasting 4 hours and 31 minutes. On the 26th, they fought back to force extra innings, but their bullpen collapsed and they lost 4-5.

This must have weighed heavily on the shoulders of starting pitcher Ahn Woo-jin. She had a huge task to end the losing streak without Lee Jung-hoo. Next year, Lee Jung-hoo will most likely make the trip to the United States, and this was a warm-up for him.

After the match, Ahn Woo-jin said, “I had a video call with the seniors at around midnight last night. They told me they were having surgery today, so I woke up and talked to them. They told me to do well today. I hope he gets better soon and comes back.” 안전놀이터

Ahn Woo-jin, who has to take the mound for Kiwoom in Lee’s absence, said, “Whenever I go out there, I’m more concerned about the team’s victory than my own. I don’t go up there to get a quality start, I go up there to help the team win. I felt that way today as well, and I think that feeling is especially strong during a losing streak,” he said.

For Lee, who is likely to challenge for a major league post after this season, the only stage left to play alongside Ahn is the postseason. “If I go to fall baseball, Jung-hoo might come, so I’ll be ready for him (high ranked

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