“It felt good to play well against Doosan” Ahn Kwon-soo’s story behind the opening ceremony
Lotte Giants’ new leadoff Ahn Kwon-soo showed off his presence in the opening series against his parent team and raised expectations for his performance in the 2023 season.
Ahn Kwon-soo started as the first hitter and center fielder in the opening two games against the Doosan Bears held on the 1st and 2nd at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. He swung a hard hit with 2 hits in 6 at-bats, 3 RBIs, 1 run and 1 walk in the opening game on the 1st, and continued a good hitting feeling with 1 hit in 4 at-bats on the 2nd. 안전놀이터
Lotte hoped for the light with a come-from-behind defeat, but the play they showed in the opening match was dazzling. In the beginning of the 4th inning, where the team fell behind 1-3, 2 RBIs were timely hit with 1 out and bases loaded, and 1 RBI and 3 bases were left in the top of the 9th inning when the loss was dark at 8-9.
The center field defense was also stable. Based on his unique fast feet, he reassured the Lotte outfield with accurate batting judgment and a wide range of defense. Lotte confirmed the effect of Ahn Kwon-soo in two games and was able to maximize its power in offense and defense.
Ahn Kwon-soo prepared this opening series with more excitement than anyone else. During the demonstration game, he maintained a peak sense of hitting with a batting average of 0.571 (16 hits in 28 at-bats), and although there were some openings, he wanted to do well against his home team Doosan.
Ahn Kwon-soo, a third-generation Korean-Japanese, drew attention by leading his team to the semifinals of the High School Baseball National Tournament (Koshien) when he was in the second year of high school at Waseda Technical School in Japan. However, he fell short of joining Japan Professional Baseball, and after going through the Japanese Independent League, he was nominated by Doosan in the 2020 KBO Rookie Draft with the 99th overall ranking in the 2nd 10th round, fulfilling his dream of becoming a professional player in Korea.
Ahn Kwon-soo made a new nest with Lotte after the contract renewal with Doosan failed after the end of last season. Although he had the skills to work well in the first team, he had to go to the army in accordance with the Korean-Japanese Military Service Act in order to play in Korea next year, so his company with Doosan stopped.
First of all, Lotte, which lacks outfield resources, reached out to Ahn Kwon-soo while he could play in the KBO League regardless of military service until this year, and Ahn Kwon-soo is repaying the team that gave him a chance.
Ahn Kwon-soo laughed, “It was my first start for the opening game, so I was very nervous. In the first at-bat, I kept thinking about losing my strength, but it wasn’t easy. Still, I’m glad I got two hits.”
There was also a reason why he did not hide his joy unlike usual after hitting a triple against Hong Gun-hee in the opening game in the top of the ninth. He explained, “He doesn’t normally hold a ceremony, but he felt good because he played against Doosan.”
In the game on the 2nd, it was also satisfactory that he scored a hit against pitcher Choi Won-joon, whom he had been close to during his Doosan days. Ahead of the opening, he expressed his aspirations to play a good match with Choi Won-joon, and he started the 2023 season with good energy against his own team.