The KT Wiz outfielder’s nickname is “Finisher” because he hits a lot of walk-off hits. In fact, he has seven career game-winning hits.
In the Avon Fall League, he is KT’s last line of defense. Although it wasn’t a game-winning hit, it saved the team from a game that could have ended with a valuable game-winning home run.
In the third game of the 2023 vPro Baseball KBO Playoffs (best-of-five series) against the NC Dinos at Changwon NC Park on April 2, the outfielder hit a two-run homer to lead KT to a 3-0 victory.
Batting eighth and batting in center field on the day, Bae Jeong-dae took a 122-kilometer slider from NC starter Tanner Tully over the left field fence for a two-run home run in the top of the first inning with the score tied at 0-0.
The home run was KT’s first leadoff hit in the PO in three games. It was a moment that fulfilled KT manager Lee Kang-cheol’s wish, who said before the game, “I hope we can score early today.”
Even though the team lost in the first game of the PO, Choi boosted their pride by hitting a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. With this home run, he became the first player in KT’s history to hit multiple home runs in a single postseason.
He has been the lone bright spot in a batting lineup that has sunk overall. After going 2-for-4 with a home run, a walk, two RBIs and a run scored, he is now 9-for-4 with two home runs, a .444 batting average, six RBIs and three runs scored this postseason.
The platoon hasn’t been smooth sailing this season. He fractured the back of his left hand in an exhibition game in March and joined the active roster on June 1, about two months after opening day. He has since appeared in all 97 games, batting .277 (86-for-311) with 38 RBI and 48 runs scored.
Coincidentally, KT was in last place at the beginning of the season without a roster. However, after the allocation came back, they were a completely different team, finishing second in the regular season and making it to the playoffs. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that KT’s “magical journey” from last place to second place was the main reason for their success.
It will be interesting to see if KT will complete the “magical journey” again this time with Bae Byeong-dae at the helm after a cliffhanger comeback from two losses.
“The batting feeling itself was not bad from the first game,” said Choi, “The first hit of the playoffs came from (Eric) Pedi, so I was able to approach the 사설토토 plate with a relaxed mind and it led to a good result.” “I think it was a good win for us to go for the reverse sweep,” he said, reaffirming his team’s determination to advance to the Korean Series.