Doosan Bears head coach Lee Seung-yeop gritted his teeth on the bench, as if foreseeing the disaster of conceding so many goals. Regardless of his intentions, Chung Chul-won, 24, paid a heavy price for failing to fulfill his promise of teamwork.
Chung entered the game in the top of the eighth inning of a 0-0 tie against the Samsung Lions in Jamsil on April 24. Neither team had scored a run, and the game was likely to go to a one-run game. Lee kept set-up man Jung Chul-won in the game for the eighth inning and let closer Hong Gun-hee warm up in the bullpen. It was a clear message to the team that they had to take this game.
Despite the wind, Chung didn’t get an easy out. Back-to-back singles by Kim Hyun-jun and Lee Jae-hyun put runners on first and second with no outs. Up until this point, things were actually fine. Every pitcher gets hits and gives up runs. It was a normal situation that could have happened at any time.
The problem was the next play. Koo tried to lay down a sacrifice bunt. The ball rolled directly in front of Jung, and the catcher, Jang Seung-hyun, made a loud sign to throw to first base. The throw to first base was the correct call, and third baseman Heo Kyung-min was out in front of the plate, leaving third base empty. No matter how accurately he threw to third base, he couldn’t tag out second baseman Kim Hyun-joon from third.
However, Chung ignored the catcher’s sign and threw to third base. There was no malicious intent. His desire to get out of the jam and keep the game scoreless probably drove him to third base. Chung had been highly regarded for his defense as a pitcher since his high school days, so he may have been confident that he could make the catch without making a mistake.
As it turns out, he was overconfident. The ball was saved from disaster by Heo’s leaping catch, but even as Heo quickly stretched out his arm to third base, he was unable to tag out Kim Hyun-jun. A bases-loaded walk made matters worse.
Watching from the dugout, Lee gritted his teeth and lowered his head. Third baseman Heo Kyung-min, who had flown out, stood up with a stony face, and Jang Seung-hyun, who had called for the throw to first base even when Chung’s body was already back at third base, couldn’t hide his disappointment. Jung Chul-won, too, had a look on his face as he tucked his hair behind his eyes and realized that something was wrong. It was a scene that showed how breaking the promise of teamwork can have a huge impact on the team.
In the end, it was Chung himself who was the most shaken. With nobody out, Jose Pirela threw a wild pitch to give Korea an early 0-1 lead. When he walked Kang Min-ho to load the bases with one out, he gave up a push single to Kang Kang-ul to make it 0-2.
Lee eventually pulled Jung Chul-won from the mound and brought up Lee Hyung-beom. Lee gave up back-to-back RBI singles to Oh Jae-il and Kim Tae-gun to extend the deficit to 0-6, and the team eventually lost 1-6.
Chung, who joined Doosan in 2018, has been solid since making his first-team debut last year. He has established himself as a must-win pitcher with his strong heart and fastball that tops 150 kilometers per hour. He won the Rookie of the Year award with 23 holds, three saves, four wins, 72⅔ innings pitched, and a 3.10 ERA in 58 games. There’s no denying that this year, he was also a setup man and contributed to the team’s success with seven saves and four wins in 23 games 먹튀검증.
Chung has always looked confident and seasoned on the mound, but on this day, he brought the word “young gun” back into the conversation. He gave up five runs on two hits and two walks in ⅓ of an inning, setting a new personal record for most runs allowed in a single game. The previous record was 4 runs (1 inning) against Daegu Samsung Electronics on September 16, 2022. His season ERA jumped from 2.31 to 4.18.
Everyone makes mistakes. All Chung had to do was to use his illness as an opportunity to become more mature. Of course, it came at a cost.