The Kiwoom Heroes broke through with a big inning in the ninth, ending a tiresome scoreless streak that spanned 26 innings over three days. Ironically, it wasn’t Lee Jung-hoo, 25, the KBO’s top hitter, who ended the streak, nor was it a hard-hit single to the outfield. It was a hard-hit ball off a powerful swing from the 19-year-old.
Kiwoom lost 5-6 to the Lotte Giants in their regular-season home game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League on Sunday at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul. The loss was their fourth straight and dropped them out of eighth place with 19 wins and 28 losses.
The batting slump has been severe, with Kiwoom scoring just eight runs in their last seven games, and they haven’t scored a run in two consecutive games (18 innings) since the ninth inning against the Suwon KT Wiz on April 24. The team tried everything to get out of the batting slump, including bringing up a player with a good batting average from the Futures League and moving up the batting order of a hitter with a good feel for the game. However, the balls were not falling in the right places, and when they did, they were often retired by the first pitch.
“It’s true that the batsmen have been struggling psychologically,” said one of the players, sweating profusely as he packed up his equipment after warm-up batting. It’s nice to get a hit, even if it’s a Texas hit or a missed pitch, but it’s not happening. The distance to the next base felt like a long way for them, and (in scoring position) they were only one base away from home from third base.”
The players were getting tired of the seemingly impossible outcome. But the Kiwoom batters kept their heads up and took the field. The batting cages were set up early on the Gocheok Sky Dome field, although the team usually goes into self-discipline when a day game is scheduled the next day after an evening game. Behind the field, the fans quietly chanted for the team. Choi Yong-kyu never forgot to give advice in the group chat room during his injury, and the players on the bench bowed their heads and patted incoming batters on the butt to encourage them. The pitchers, the ones the batters felt the most sorry for, encouraged them by saying, “Sometimes it happens.
It was another tough game for Kiwoom. The inning ended quickly for Lotte starter Charlie Barnes, whose well-hit pitch went right into the glove of left fielder Ahn Kwon-soo. Lee Won-seok in the second inning and Lee Jung-hoo in the sixth inning had heavy expressions and steps as they turned to the dugout when the umpire called them out.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, with the score 0-6, Kiwoom made another push against second-year pro Jin Seung-hyun. Lee Jung-hoo and Kim Hye-sung followed with back-to-back singles, and Song Sung-moon drew a walk to load the bases. There were 27.4 meters left to erase the 26-inning scoreless streak. Veteran Lee Won-seok retired the side with a three-pitch strikeout, and the final batter was Kim Dong-heon.
Kim Dong-heon was selected in the second round of the 2023 rookie draft. Drafted with the 12th overall pick in the second round of the 2023 rookie draft after graduating from Chungamjung-Chungam High School, he has been called the belly of the beast this season. This is because he was selected with a pick that came from last year’s trade of star catcher Park Dong-won (33-LG Twins) to the KIA Tigers. Due to the nature of the position, 스포츠토토 it’s rare for a high school rookie to break into the big leagues right away, but Park has adjusted well to the big leagues this season with a .230 batting average, .333 on-base percentage, .311 slugging percentage, and a .644 OPS in 29 games, and his .711 OPS when starting and wearing a mask is the fifth-highest OPS among catchers with 10 or more games.
Two strikes and two balls without a hit. Yoon swung at a five-pitch fastball, but it was a foul ball. He swung hard at the falling fork again and managed to get a close hit. The hard-hit grounder hit into the Gocheok-dome infield was a two-run double off the side of the shortstop, who was leaning more toward second base. A long 26-inning scoreless streak came to an end.