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With postseason award, hitting machine following in footsteps of legendary father

Sports 22:50 October 17, 2019

SEOUL, Oct. 17 (Yonhap) -- All Lee Jung-hoo does is hit. And the Kiwoom Heroes outfielder has swung his way into South Korean baseball record books during the ongoing postseason.

The Heroes swept the SK Wyverns in the second round Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) playoff series, following their 10-1 victory at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Thursday. And Lee, a 21-year-old outfielder, was voted the series MVP after batting 8-for-15 with three RBIs and four runs scored.

Lee Jung-hoo of the Kiwoom Heroes hits a two-run double against the SK Wyverns in the bottom of the third inning of Game 3 of the second round Korea Baseball Organization playoff series at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Oct. 17, 2019. (Yonhap)

Three of those hits came in the clinching Game 3 on Thursday. Lee broke the scoreless tie with a two-run double in the third inning -- his second double of the game -- and added a single and a key steal in the five-run fifth inning that put the Heroes up 9-1.

Lee has a famous father in Lee Jong-beom, an all-time KBO great who won the Korean Series MVP awards with the Haitai Tigers in 1993 and 1997. The Lees are the first father-son duo to receive MVP honors in KBO postseason.

"It means a lot to be a part of the first father-son tandem to win a postseason MVP award," the junior Lee said. "I am pleased that my father's name gets mentioned more because of this accomplishment."

The senior Lee was a shortstop with blazing speed and some pop, not to mention an almost unparalleled ability to put the ball in play.

Lee Jung-hoo of the Kiwoom Heroes holds up the trophy and the oversize check after winning the MVP award for the second round Korea Baseball Organization playoff series, following the Heroes' 10-1 win over the SK Wyverns at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Oct. 17, 2019. (Yonhap)

His son is an outfielder who doesn't have quite the power of his father but whose bat-to-ball skill is second to none.

Lee Jung-hoo already owns the single season rookie record with 179 hits and the third-year pro has more hits in the first three seasons of his career than his father's first three seasons, 535 to 407.

The son had a career-high 193 hits in 140 games this year, nearly matching his father's 196 hits in 124 games from 1994.

This is Jung-hoo's first extended postseason. The Heroes missed out in 2017, and when they did make it in 2018, Lee injured his shoulder while trying to make a diving grab in Game 2 of the first round and missed the rest of the postseason.

And now he's four wins away from joining his father as the Korean Series champion. If the Heroes are to beat the Doosan Bears, Lee will have to continue to wield his hot bat.

"It'd mean even more if I win the Korean Series MVP, but I believe my teammates will step up," he said. "I'll just try to do my job."

In this file photo from June 20, 2001, South Korean infielder Lee Jong-beom (2nd from R), holds his son Lee Jung-hoo (R) after returning home from a stint in Japan. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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