The Lotte Giants suffered a defeat in the opening match after an extended bloody battle that lasted for 4 hours and 43 minutes. The silence of Han Dong-hee (24), who declared that he would become Lotte’s number 4 hitter, was painful. This day was different. Han Dong-hee was the main character who gave the team a valuable victory.
Han Dong-hee started as the 6th hitter and 3rd baseman in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League visiting game with the Doosan Bears held at Jamsil Stadium in Songpa-gu, Seoul on the 2nd, and the final 2 at the top of the 7th inning with both teams facing 0-0 with one out and 1st and 3rd base. An RBI double gave the team a 2-0 victory.
Despite high expectations, it was a shot that was able to completely shake off the sluggish performance of 7 at-bats and 2 strikeouts the previous day.
Han Dong-hee, who wore a Lotte uniform as the first nomination in 2018, was evaluated as a ‘Geopo prospect’. He hit double-digit homers in his last three seasons in a row, and when Lotte’s symbol Lee Dae-ho retired at the end of last season, he was considered as a lumber to continue his position.
He himself did not hide his greed for ‘Post Lee Dae-ho’. Lotte manager Larry Sutton, whom we met ahead of the opening game on the 1st, said, “During camp, Han Dong-hee said he wanted to be the number 4 hitter on our team. I asked if he knew the weight and responsibility of number 4.” “Are you ready to bear the weight?”
Was it because I felt too much responsibility? In the opening game against Doosan, Han Dong-hee, who was in charge of batting 4 times, missed the bat many times. He entered the plate 7 times, and even though he had 4 chances to score, Han Dong-hee always drew a sigh from Lotte fans.
In particular, it was painful to strike out twice against Raul Alcantara, who faltered with 1 out and bases loaded in the 4th inning, and Choi Ji-gang, a Doosan rookie, who swung 3 times and withdrew in the 11th inning with 1 out, 1st and 2nd bases. On this day, Han Dong-hee left a whopping 10 bases.
On this day, coach Sutton placed Han Dong-hee in the back with number 6. He said that he put Jeon Jun-woo in No. 4 considering the opponent starter Choi Won-joon and compatibility, but it was also read as the commander’s consideration to relieve Han Dong-hee’s burden.
Unlike the previous day, this day was a pitcher’s battle. Lotte starter Na Kyun-an threw 100 pitches in 6⅔innings, giving up no runs with 5 hits, 2 walks and 4 exhaustions. Doosan Choi Won-joon also continued a good pitching without conceding until the 6th inning.
Han Dong-hee, who went hitless for 9 consecutive games after the opening with shortstop ground ball and second baseman fly ball in the previous two at-bats, faced Choi Won-joon again in the 7th inning. 1 company, 1st and 3rd base tables were laid, and a high slider of 125 km per hour was hit, and both runners were called home by splitting the middle left.
Coach Sutton said,메이저놀이터 “I have told you several times the day before, but I say that you have to be the best version of Han Dong-hee, not someone else.” “Lee Dae-ho is Lee Dae-ho and Han Dong-hee is Han Dong-hee. He is a player who can become a player. If he has the ability and manages well, it is possible.”
Although the start was not good, it perfectly lived up to the expectations of the command tower that day, signaling a pleasant start toward ‘another Han Dong-hee’ rather than ‘post Lee Dae-ho’.
Newcomer Lee Tae-yeon, who took over the ball in the 7th inning after Han Dong-hee’s 2 RBI double, took over the ball from 2 outs, followed by the previous day, a scoreless (⅓ inning) good pitch, and Koo Seung-min neatly blocked 1 inning and took a hold side by side. Lee Tae-yeon’s first hold since her debut. Finisher Kim Won-joong also got on the mound again following the previous day and kept a 2-point lead for one inning and harvested a save.
Na Kyun-an threw a fast ball in the second half of 140 km/h, a splitter, and a curveball, and tied the Doosan batting line, which burned hot the day before, for 6⅔innings. He became the winning pitcher by recording a quality start (pitching 6 or more innings, 3 runs or less) in 206 days since the match against the Samsung Lions on September 8 last year (7 innings, 1 run).
With foreign pitcher Dylan Pyle leaving due to injury, Doosan Choi Won-joon started the second game and pitched 7 innings, 5 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts and 2 runs.