The independent baseball team Yeoncheon Miracle has produced its first professional player this year. Catcher Bae Hyun-ho signed a developmental player contract with the KIA Tigers and entered the KBO.

Bae served as the team’s center fielder in the 2023 Independent Baseball Team Gyeonggi League, going 3-for-6 with two home runs and an OPS of 0.910.

A member of the Yeoncheon Miracle’s 스포츠토토 cleanup trio, Bae Hyun-ho graduated from Kyungpook National University as a right-handed catcher and joined the Nexen Heroes with the 38th overall pick in the second round of the 2018 KBO Draft.

He was highly regarded as a catching prospect, being sent to Geelong Korea in 2019 and called up to the first team in 2022 for his steady defense and hitting ability, but had to be released.

Bae Hyeon-ho did not give up and rebuilt his body, joining Yeoncheon Miracle to prepare for a second chance. “His defense is stable, including accurate second base throwing and blocking, and his power has increased through weight training, improving his ability to produce long balls,” the team said. He also showed his dedication to the team by playing both catcher and first base defense due to team circumstances.

Kim Deok-hyun, the governor of Yeoncheon County, said, “I sincerely congratulate Bae Hyun-ho on his entry into the professional league. We will watch and support him as he plays professionally with the people of the county, and we will see him on the first team of the KBO League.” In response, Bae Hyun-ho said, “I will definitely go up to the first team and show good things. Thank you to Yeoncheon County for creating a place of opportunity.”

Bae Hyun-ho’s entry into the KIA is more meaningful as he is the first player from the ‘2023 KBO Dream Cup Independent Baseball Competition Hwaseong’ to enter the KBO League, and the seventh player from the ‘2023 Independent Baseball League Gyeonggi-do’ to enter the professional league this season, proving that the Independent Baseball League Gyeonggi-do is fully fulfilling its role as the only independent baseball league in Korea.

The Yeoncheon Miracle, based in Yeoncheon, Gyeonggi-do, won the ‘2022 Independent Baseball Team Gyeonggi-do League’ and was runner-up in the ‘2023 KBO Dream Cup Independent Baseball Competition’ with the full support of Yeoncheon-gun, and is considered an example of win-win cooperation between local governments and independent baseball teams.

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