“My grades are B0” Nineteen-year-old Kim Dongheon takes the first step toward succession at Hangzhou University

“Maybe a B0? An A+ would get me a Golden Glove.”

For Kiwoom Heroes rookie Kim Dong-heon (19), 2023 was a challenging year. Unusually for a rookie catcher out of high school, he played full-time first base. He filled the gap left by the elusive senior Lee Ji-young and earned his first senior national team call-up.

Nevertheless, she was stingy with her praise. When we met at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on April 24, he humbly admitted that he still has a long way to go in both offense and defense. He’s already looking beyond the ‘rookie’ label.

Before the season, not many expected the second-round catcher, fresh out of high school, to be a fixture in the first team. “Initially, my goal was to be promoted to the first team in the expanded roster,” he said. “Thankfully, I was given the opportunity and opened the season with the team. I also realized my goal of playing in an away game for my former club sooner than I thought.”

When his early batting didn’t go his way, he continued to receive the ball and gain experience. Through 29 days, he had played in 88 of the team’s 119 games and worn a mask for 450⅓ innings. He ranks 10th in the league in defensive innings played.

As his playing time has increased and his nerves have relaxed, his bat has gotten lighter. His batting average, which was .214 in April, has steadily increased since then. The heat wave hasn’t stopped him from hitting well this month, as he’s gone 18-for-53 (.340) for the month.

The presence of his older brothers also helped. “(Lee) Jung-hoo advised me to manage my physical fitness in the heat before I got injured,” said Kim Dong-heon, adding, “By adjusting the amount and content of my training, I was able to focus more on my game.” Lee Ji-young and Kim Xiang are also seniors who are not only competing for positions, but also rely on their presence.

There were highs and lows. The pressure to do better became poison. After making a mistake, I would think about it more and more, which only hardened my body. A typical example was the match against SSG Landers early last month. After a series of blocking mistakes, we suffered an upset loss and were sent to the Futures League (Second Division).

The crisis was an opportunity for self-reflection. He had doubts about his blocking skills and confided in his second team battery coach Kim Dong-woo. Park Do-hyun, the first team battery coach, also sent him training videos and asked for advice. “It’s not the blocking position, it’s the judgment,” he replied. He also encouraged her not to think too much and to be confident.스포츠토토

In September, as the season draws to a close, Kim’s growth is just beginning. The Hangzhou Asian Games are just around the corner. He was dumbfounded when he found out he had made the roster, but he was happy to see his dream adult stage tae kwon do mark. When asked which pitcher he would like to receive the ball from, Hanwha Eagles’ Moon Dong-joo’s name popped up first. “It was the best ball I’ve ever seen in person,” he smiled, “and I’m looking forward to it because it has so much movement and speed.”

For now, Kim’s role is that of a backup. For his team, and for the Korean flag. But his ambitions are much bigger. “My dream is to be consistently selected for every international tournament like Yang Ji and Kang Min-ho,” he says, “and I’m going to make a good start.”

No Comments

Add Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *