Lee Dae-ho (41) returned to the Softbank Hawks after 8 years and pitched the first pitch.

Lee Dae-ho was in charge of the ceremonial pitch in the game against the Chiba Lotte Marines held at Fukuoka PayPay Dome on the 28th. Softbank fans greeted Lee Dae-ho with enthusiastic applause.

Lee Dae-ho,안전놀이터 who played for Softbank in 2014 and 2015, played 285 games for two years with a batting average of .292 (314 hits in 1076 bats), 50 homers, 166 RBIs, and an OPS of .858, leading Softbank to its second consecutive victory in the Japan Series. Softbank, which celebrated its 85th anniversary this year and the 35th anniversary of the opening of the PayPay Dome, invited Lee Dae-ho, who led the club’s heyday.

At the PayPay Dome, where Lee Dae-ho visited for the first time in 8 years, cheers of “Dae-ho~” from Sajik Stadium in Busan and Lee Dae-ho’s song “Orinalda” resonated. Lee Dae-ho said to the fans who greeted him, “Nice to meet you. He came back after 8 years and thank you for welcoming me like this.”

Lee Dae-ho throwing the first pitch. / Courtesy of Softbank Hawks

In general, the ceremonial pitch does not proceed with a sita or a sipo. However, for Softbank on this day, Yuki Yanagita, who played together eight years ago, took the pitcher and Akira Nakamura took the shippo, to honor Lee Dae-ho. In particular, Yanagita did not disclose the fact that he was doing tryouts until this day, but announced the news of Lee Dae-ho’s surprise appearance right before he threw the first pitch. Lee Dae-ho, who heard that Yanagita was doing tryouts, laughed and said, “Can I strike out?” Nakamura, who decided to receive the ball from Lee Dae-ho, said, “It is an honor to be able to do Shippo. In fact, he has never played catcher, so I think he would be lucky if he could catch the ball well.”

Lee Dae-ho, who also played as a pitcher during his time at Gyeongnam High School, showed off his rust-free skills with his first pitch that day. He successfully completed his first pitch, driving the ball into the catcher’s mitt with clean pitching form. After the first pitch, he took a commemorative photo with Yana Kita and Nakamura to conclude the meeting.

Lee Dae-ho, who had a news conference with Japanese reporters after the first pitch, said, “Thank you for inviting me to such a good event. I was happy to be able to pitch. It was so nice to see the players from the side after a long time.”

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