He expressed his gratitude to his team of six years. He was warmly greeted by the fans, but he expressed his determination to not miss the opportunity he had gained through the trade. Lee Ho-yeon (28), wearing a KT Wiz uniform, scored the winning run in his first game against his parent team.
KT extended its winning streak to three games with a 4-1 victory over the Lotte Giants at Sajik Stadium in Busan on June 6. The team improved to 19-30-2 on the season and moved into a tie for ninth place with Hanwha.
Along with starter Ko Young-pyo’s seven innings of four-hit ball on 87 pitches with one walk and three strikeouts, the offense’s cohesion was on full display, especially when infielder Lee Ho-yeon, who left Lotte in a one-for-one trade for left-hander Shim Jae-min on May 19 and now wears a KT uniform, drove in the game-winning run with a leadoff single.
Lee wore a Lotte uniform when he was selected in the sixth round of the 2018 KBO Draft. He was given his chance in earnest after completing his military service and steadily received opportunities as an infield utility player under manager Larry Sutton. This year, however, he was batting .440 in the second team but couldn’t find a spot and was given a new opportunity with KT.
Starting at second base in the No. 7 spot, Lee capitalized on the opportunity in his first at-bat. In the top of the second inning, he came to bat with runners on first and second. Before stepping up to the plate, Lee bowed to the fans in the dugout and toward first base. The Lotte fans, who had been applauding since Lee’s name was called, greeted the six-year player with even louder applause.
Lee was called upon to bunt, but his first attempt was foul, so he set his bat again. He picked off the second pitch and fouled off the third. With two strikes and a one-pitch count, Lee focused and took Park’s four-pitch 147-kilometer fastball and lined it cleanly to center field. It was enough to bring the runner from second base home. After taking a 1-0 lead, KT added a sacrifice fly to right field to make it 2-0.
On the mound, Ko Young-pyo was turning the ‘nemesis’ Lotte batters around like a falling leaf, and the game was going well. They gave up a run in the bottom of the sixth inning to cut the deficit to 2-1, but scored a run in the top of the seventh.
In the process, Lee Ho-yeon played a key role. In the top of the seventh inning, Hwang Jae-gyun led off with a single to right and was then hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with no outs. Kim Min-hyuk then singled to center field to score another run, which proved to be the deciding factor.
After the game, Lee Ho-yeon said, “I came to Sasik for the first time after transferring to KT through a trade. Coming to my hometown team made me want to do well. I was more excited than nervous,” he said. “It would be nice to get a lot of hits and score runs, but I tried to take my shots accurately and not be greedy. I was lucky to get a good pitch and it turned out to be the winning run. It feels great for the team to win,” he said of his game-winning hit against his hometown team 토토사이트.