After four straight failed attempts, it finally happened. Expectations are rising for Austin Dean to make history as the LG Twins’ first foreign-born hitter.
Austin went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs, including an inside-the-park home run, in a 15-3 victory over the Doosan Bears in Jamsil on April 18. After hitting a single to left-center off Doosan starter Jang Won-jun in the first inning, Austin hit a line drive to center field against the reliever Lee Hyung-beom in the second inning, but center fielder Jung Soo-bin, who made a diving catch, couldn’t hold on to the ball and pulled it back for a two-run ground home run. 안전놀이터
Sprinting. From the moment the ball fell behind him, he ran with home in mind. After his first hit, he didn’t sprint to first base because he didn’t know if the ball would be caught, but once he realized it was out of play, he gave it his all. As he rounded second base, he took off his helmet. The result of losing the weight of his helmet was a ground home run that crossed home plate as the ball was coming toward the catcher, Yang Ji. If Austin had stopped at third base, no one would have said anything, and the score was still 7-1 in favor of LG, but the grounder turned the atmosphere in the stadium completely in favor of LG, effectively ending the game.I can’t help but wonder if there has ever been a foreign hitter in LG’s history who worked so hard. The three most memorable foreign batters to play for LG are Roberto Pettagini (2008-2009), Luis Jimenez (2015-2017), and Roberto Ramos (2020-2021).
In 2009, Pettagini played 115 games, batting .333 with 129 hits, 26 home runs, and 100 RBIs. He became the first LG foreign player to reach 100 RBIs. He was also the first and only titleholder. Led the league in stolen bases with a 4-for-6 slugging percentage.
Jimenez was a decisive hitter at third base. In 135 games in 2016, he batted 3-for-8 with 161 hits, 26 home runs and 102 RBIs. He also holds the record for most RBIs and most hits by a foreign player in LG’s history. Ramos has been blowing away LG fans with his home runs. In 2020, he played 117 games and batted just 2.778, but his 38 home runs set a new LG single-season record. He did not reach 100 RBIs with 86. He re-signed with the team, but injuries eventually derailed him.
After Ramos’ departure, each of the hitters LG signed, including Justin Bogaerts, Rio Ruiz, and Lobel Garcia, struggled, and Abraham Almonte, whom hitting coach Lee Ho-joon flew to the Dominican Republic to see in person after last season, had his contract canceled after a medical test revealed an abnormality. Austin, who signed for $700,000, the smallest total of any foreign hitter this season, has been a bargain so far.