“Return to injury → First home run since debut → First end of debut” A special rookie who saved SSG, “It’s like a dream.”

Professional baseball SSG Landers rookie infielder Park Ji-hwan (19) saved his team from crisis with his amazing performance.유흥알바

Park Ji-hwan started the game against the KIA Tigers of the “2024 Shinhan Bank SOL Bank KBO League” at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on the 11th and played three hits and three RBIs in five times at bat.

Park Ji-hwan, who remained silent at the previous two at-bats, began to warm up his bat by hitting a double with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning when the two teams were tying 4-4. With two outs and runners on the first and second bases in the eighth inning when the team was losing 4-5, Park hit a come-from-behind two-run triple against KIA closer Jung Hae-young to give his team the lead.

SSG allowed its closing pitcher Moon Seung-won to tie the game 6-6 in the ninth inning as he failed to keep the lead. In the bottom of the ninth inning, with two outs and runners on the first and second bases, Lee Ji-young hit a valuable hit that could become a finishing hit, but second baseman Guillermo Heredia was tagged out at home, which blew the chance to end the game. It was all the more regrettable as the referee made a mistake about not being able to tag the home plate, although it appeared that Heredia touched the home plate in the broadcast screen.

It was Park Ji-hwan who saved SSG from crisis. Park Ji-hwan hit a finishing RBI timely hit against relief pitcher Kim Do-hyun in the 10th inning with one out and second base, ending the long game. In an interview after the game, Park Ji-hwan said, “I had difficulties in the early part of the game when there was a wide gap in scores, but I played with confidence because the captain, Choo Shin-soo, reminded me of the importance of today’s game on the bench and encouraged me to fight, so I think I was able to win the game. I think the timing was late for the first two at-bats, so I think the part I tried to play a little bit more in front of me came out well, and especially at the end of the 10th inning, I felt like a dream because the opportunity came and my team was able to win the game that I had dreamed of since I was a high school player.”

Park Ji-hwan, who joined SSG with the first round (10th pick) of the 2024 Rookie Draft, has been showing good performance this season, hitting .368 (14 hits in 38 times at bat) with one home run, seven RBIs, eight runs and one steal. In particular, he hit his first home run in his debut against Lotte on the 9th after returning from injury, and made a strong impression on fans with his first walk-off hit in the game.

“After the injury, I focused on rehabilitation. The first homerun was a slider at the right timing. I was aiming for it. However, the timing was late as the fastball came into the first pitch. Still, I was aiming for the slider but it came back in. My body reacted and hit the ball, but I was late for the first fastball, and I think the next ball hit the ball well. It hit well, but honestly, I didn’t expect it to cross the fence. Looking at the fence, I thought if the ball hit the right, I should run to third base no matter what, but the ball flew over. I was a little surprised and went around the ground as well,” Park said.

“I thought I would hit my first homerun on the left side,” a smiling Park said. “If I hit it on the left side, I would have been happy to know that it hit well, but I felt a bit dazed to move on to the right. Still, I felt good. I had a good batting performance since I was in middle school, but I didn’t expect that I would push through Sajik Stadium.”

When Park hit his first home run, SSG seniors welcomed him with indifference ceremony. Park showed a thumbs up ceremony looking at the camera. “I didn’t expect this ceremony to be done in advance,” Park said. “I didn’t expect this. But everyone did. I didn’t know how to react, but I made eye contact with the camera director and gave him a thumbs up. That video was going around a lot. I just did it because I didn’t know what to do, but I hope you like it.”

Fans are increasingly expecting what Park Ji-hwan, who is showing amazing performance as soon as he returns from injury, will do for the rest of the season.

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