The second coming of Park Dong-won. LG catcher Park Dong-won blasted a three-run homer to lead his team to a commanding lead in the standings.
LG earned an 8-3 victory over SSG in the ‘2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League’ at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on May 25. The team avenged the previous day’s loss with a sweep of the three-game series.
With a record of 28 wins, 15 losses, and one tie, LG moved from tied for first place to sole possession of first place in one day. SSG, who moved into second place with one game in hand, fell to 27 wins, 16 losses and one tie, trailing third-place Lotte (24 wins, 15 losses) by one game, who swept NC 11-1 on the day.
Park Won-dong’s bat was a force to be reckoned with. With runners on first and second in the top of the first inning, Park Dong-won blasted SSG right-hander Song Young-jin with his 11th home run of the season, a three-run shot to left-center field. LG scored five runs in the top of the first on an RBI single by Oh Ji-hwan and a sacrifice fly by Moon Bo-kyung. LG extended its lead to 6-0 in the second inning with a Moon Sung-joo RBI single.
SSG, the team with the most home runs, fought back. In the bottom of the second inning, Han Yoo-seom hit a curveball from starter Casey Kelly for a two-run home run with a distance of 130 meters. SSG scored another run on a throwing error by LG’s second baseman Shin Min-jae when Choi Ji-hoon grounded out with runners on first and second.
However, LG drove in a run as Park Dong-won’s bat came alive again. In the top of the eighth inning with a 6-3 lead, Park came to the plate and pulled a one-run arch over the left field fence from Moon Seung-won. It was his 12th home run of the season and gave the team the lead for good. Hong Chang-ki followed with a single to center field to end the game.
Park went 3-for-4 with a home run, four RBIs and two runs scored in the seventh spot in the lineup. He was perfect at the plate in support of starter Kelly’s six innings of three-run (two earned) ball. Kelly picked up his fifth win of the season (2-2). 먹튀검증
Park’s 12th home run gave him a commanding lead in the category. He is three behind Jose Rojas (Doosan) and Noh Si-hwan (Hanwha), who are tied for second (nine).
Park, who made his first-team debut with Kiwoom’s predecessor Nexen in 2010, has hit double-digit home runs eight times so far this season, including 22 in 2021 and 18 last year. He has never tripled in 2019 with a career-high 2.9 ppg, but has garnered attention as a catcher with a one-hit wonder.
Park Dong-won, who signed a four-year, 6.5 billion won deal with LG, has been flying under current LG manager Yeom Kyung-yeop, a former Nexen player. In 43 games, Park is batting 2-for-8 with 12 home runs (1st), 33 RBIs (2nd), and an OPS of .980 (1st). For a catcher with a heavy defensive load, he’s a top offensive player.
Among all-time home run leaders, only Lee Man-su (1983-1984-1985) and Park Kyung-wan (2000-2004) are catchers. That’s a lot of physical demands on the defense.
Coincidentally, Park is currently the battery coach for LG’s first team. Park won the title with 40 home runs in 2000 and 34 in 2004, and hit 314 home runs in 23 seasons. It will be interesting to see if Dong-won Park can follow in his footsteps and become the third all-time catcher home run leader.