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Four years ago, Lotte returned as the spearhead of Kiwoom, a red pepper powder unit, Lee Ju-hyung, a “five-tool prospect at Gyeongnam High School” who passed by

Lotte lost 3-6 against Kiwoom at Sajik on the 19th. Lotte took a 3-2 lead until the sixth inning with starter Wilkerson’s two runs (non-earned) pitching in six innings. However, Choi Joon-yong, who was trusted in the top of the seventh inning, allowed a tie-breaking solo shot to Lee Ju-hyung, the “Kangnam High School Dongki.” Lotte scored Kim Won-joong in a 3-3 tie in the top of the ninth inning, but collapsed with three runs in the first inning. Lee Ju-hyung was also the main character who hit a two-run triple in the upset final.

Lotte lost its last game of the season with Kiwoom, which remained at the bottom, and tied the opponent team with 8 wins and 8 losses. Considering the winning rate of 50%, it may not be that disappointing, but the story will change if the scope is narrowed to the second half.

Lotte faced Kiwoom in the second half of the year, recording four wins and seven losses. Kiwoom, which actually gave up Winnow, was very sluggish in the second half with 14 wins, 32 losses and 1 draw, with seven wins, half of 14 wins against Lotte. 파친코

In particular, Kiwoom sprayed red pepper powder more fiercely in the match-up where Lotte was stepping up to advance to the fall baseball league. Lotte was on the verge of recovering a 50% winning rate by winning four consecutive games before meeting Kiwoom on August 18 (50-51 losses, 0.495 winning rate). However, he met Kiwoom and suffered a shock three-game sweep loss and fell into a deep quagmire until his seventh consecutive loss.

Lee Ju-hyung was also the hero of the game on August 18, which was a watershed moment at the time. Lotte had a 4-2 lead until the seventh inning, but Han Hyun-hee allowed a three-run shot through Lee Joo-hyung in the bottom of the eighth inning. Lotte, which missed all of its games, also came from behind to lose all of its remaining two games, falling sharply in the fifth place competition.

The game on the 19th was also an important match for Lotte. While fifth-ranked KIA Tigers and sixth-ranked SSG Landers slipped to five consecutive losses, Lotte won three consecutive games and narrowed the distance to 4.5 games. Lotte, which continued its hopes for autumn baseball as the season neared its end, was once again hampered by Lee Joo-hyung’s three-run one-man show against Kiwoom.

At an important juncture, Lotte’s rookie draft, which was held four years ago, is being re-examined as it was fatally hit by Kiwoom, especially Lee Ju-hyung. Ahead of the 2020 KBO Rookie Draft, Lotte noted Kyungnam High School pitcher Choi Joon-yong and infielder Lee Ju-hyung as the first candidates. Lotte chose Choi Jun-yong in the first round of picks because it was suffering from a pitching shortage in 2019 and had selected many infielders in previous drafts.

Lotte, which had the fourth pick in the second rookie draft held on August 26, 2019, chose Daejeon High School left-hander Hong Min-ki instead of Lee Joo-hyung, a “five-tool prospect” who was considered the biggest high school fielder. Lee Ju-hyung, who was not nominated by his hometown team, was nominated by the LG Twins in the second round with the 13th overall ranking.

For now, the choice of four years ago is returning to Lotte as a boomerang. Lee Ju-hyung, who solved the military problem after joining LG, is demonstrating his potential after moving to Kiwoom through a trade on July 29. Lee Joo-hyung has a batting average of 0.333 6 home runs, 32 RBIs and 3 steals in 58 games this season, filling in the gap of Lee Jung-hoo, who was injured.

On the other hand, Hong Min-ki, nominated by Lotte in the first round four years ago, scored two walks and one run in ⅓ innings in one game in 2021. Hong Min-ki also has an ERA of 21.60 (two hits, nine walks, two strikeouts and eight runs in three ⅓ innings) in four games in the Futures League this season. The draft is ultimately a result, but for Lotte, it is regrettable that Lee Joo-hyung not only exploded the potential of five-tool players, but also has established himself as the spearhead of Kiwoom, which has always given Lotte red pepper powder.

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