“Yong Jin-hyung’s roar led the Landers’ next-generation big guns to a dramatic 8th inning sweep…”I was more focused thanks to the roar of the full house.”
SSG Landers infielder Jeon Eui-san became the protagonist of the eighth inning comeback. It was an exhilarating single that led to a roar from Yong Jin-hyung.
On June 17, SSG won 8-5 against the Lotte Giants in Munhak. With the victory, SSG won its second straight game and moved into first place in the league with 38 wins, one loss and 23 draws, half a game ahead of the LG Twins (38 wins, two losses and 23 draws), who lost on the same day.
On the day, SSG was in a rut as starting pitcher Kim Kwang-hyun struggled with his pitches early in the game. After narrowly escaping a bases-loaded jam in the top of the first inning, Kim gave up a two-run homer to Yoo Kang-nam with the bases loaded in the top of the second.안전놀이터
SSG Landers owner Jung Yong-jin reacts to the game-winning run in the eighth inning against the Literature Lotte on June 17. Photo (Munhak)=SSG Landers
With runners on first and third, SSG got a pitcher’s interference on a stolen base attempt. However, the first baseman’s throw to second led to a throwing error, allowing the third baseman to cross the plate and score another run.
With Kim Kwang-hyun having pitched five innings of three-run ball through five innings, SSG suffered a setback in the top of the sixth when Jeon Jun-woo doubled with the bases loaded.
After scoring a run in the bottom of the sixth, SSG pulled off a stunning comeback in the top of the eighth. With the bases loaded and no outs, SSG capitalized on a wild pitch by Choi and a groundout by Heredia to make it a 3-5 game.
With two outs, pinch-hitter Choi Joo-hwan drew a walk against the new pitcher, Kim Won-joong, to cut the deficit to one run, and Jeon Eui-san hit a three-run triple to left-center field to turn the game around. The dramatic turnaround was captured on the public address system, which also showed a loud roar from Jung Yong-jin, who was in attendance at the stadium. The next batter, Ahn Sang-hyun, added another RBI to give SSG an 8-5 lead.
SSG closed out the game in the bottom of the ninth inning with Seo Jin-yong. After the game, coach Kim Won-hyung said, “We had a big chance when (Kang) Jin-seong and (Ahn) Sang-hyun singled in the bottom of the order and (Choo) Shin-soo came through again. After that, (Choi) Jung-i, Eredia, and (Choi) Joo-hwan showed a lot of concentration. This was the driving force behind (Jeon’s) winning goal.”
Kim continued, “(Jeon) Ui-san-yi had a multi-hit game and hit a valuable game-winning hit for the team. I hope he can use today as an opportunity to show more confidence at the plate. Today was a victory of cohesion and concentration in the eighth inning. The fans were in full force today and I think the players gave them a gift with a great performance. It was a game that showed that you can’t give up until the end. The players worked hard,” he said.
SSG infielder Jeon Eui-san delivered a dramatic final hit in the eighth inning. Photo by Kim Geun-han
Speaking to the media after the game, Jeon said, “When Choi Joo-hwan’s count went to three balls, I felt that I had a chance. The hitting coach told me to enjoy it because pitchers are more nervous than batters in scoring position. I thought about timing my fastballs and hitting them lightly, so I went into the eighth inning relaxed,” he said.
After enduring Kim Won-joong’s first-pitch curveball, Jeon drove the second fastball into the gap for a three-run double.
“Rather than aiming for a specific pitch, I set the line of the ball I wanted to hit. My coach advised me to keep the zone narrow because the previous batter struck out. I told myself not to hit it if it was out of the zone, and that’s how I was able to handle the changeup. I’ve been having a hard time mentally lately, but when I realized that I helped the team when they were in trouble, I got excited at that moment and had a big ceremonial hit,” he smiled.
Coincidentally, with Choo’s return, SSG’s batting lineup exploded and the team went on a two-game winning streak. “I really feel that the weight of our batting lineup has changed since Choo Shin-soo came back,” said Jeon. The batters behind him seem to have gained a lot of strength because he is batting in the top of the order. He also said a lot of good things to me as soon as he came back.”
The cheering crowd at Munhwa also had a positive impact on Jeon. “The seniors in front of me showed me how to concentrate properly while enduring all the difficult balls. I thought, “I’m the youngest and I need to focus more. It was a full house, so the cheering was really loud. In fact, the cheers were so loud that I was able to focus more on my at-bats.”