“Lim Ji-yeol’s decisive home run gave us a valuable win.”
So said Kiwoom Heroes manager Hong Won-ki after the team snapped a four-game losing streak.
Kiwoom, led by Hong, pulled off a thrilling come-from-behind 7-5 victory over the Lotte Giants of the 2023 KBO Baseball League at the Gocheok SkyDome in Guro-gu, Seoul, on April 28. With the win, Kiwoom snapped out of a four-game losing streak and reached the 20-win (28-loss) plateau.
Lim Ji-yeol, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Kim Jun-wan in the bottom of the seventh inning, stood out. With Kiwoom trailing 3-5 in 안전놀이터 the bottom of the eighth, he took a four-pitch 138-kilometer fastball from right-handed reliever Yoon Myung-jun and smashed it over the center field fence for the game-winning run. It was a decisive hit that instantly set the tone for the game.
After the game, KIUM head coach Hong Won-ki gave a thumbs-up to the batsmen’s concentration in the eighth inning, especially Lim Ji-yeol’s decisive home run, which secured a valuable victory.
The pitching staff didn’t fare too badly either. Although starter Jeong Chan-heon (4.2 innings, 6 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, 5 runs) was unable to go the distance in his first start in four days, Yang Hyun (1.1 innings, no runs), Ha Young-min (0.1 innings, no runs), Lee Myeong-jong (W, 1.2 innings, no runs), and Lim Chang-min (S, 1 inning, no runs) shut down the Lotte bats, setting the stage for the team’s victory.
“Chung Chan-heon, who pitched on four days’ rest, fulfilled his role as a starter by going nearly five innings, and the pitchers behind him also pitched innings without giving up a run, giving us the strength to chase the game without losing the momentum,” Hong said.
On the 27th and 28th, the Gocheok Skydome was sold out for the second consecutive day. It was the first time in 2093 days since the KIA Tigers-KIUM game on September 02-03, 2017 that the Gocheok Skydome was sold out for two consecutive days.
This result is partly due to Lotte’s recent surge in popularity, as they have a large number of fans across the country, but equally, many Kiwoom fans filled the first base bleachers to show their support.
“I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to the Kiwoom fans for their support over the weekend,” said Hong Won-ki.