“It’s nice to start in a winning game,” LOTTE’s Lee Hak-joo roared as he rounded the bases after hitting his first KBO League grand slam.
Sajik Stadium in Busan, South Korea, hosted the game between the ‘momentum’ Lotte Giants and the ‘tiger spirit’ KIA Tigers on March 3. Lotte batters came out swinging in the first inning and kept Kia starter Yang Hyun-jong busy.
Leadoff hitter Hwang Sung-bin opened the scoring with an RBI single on a wild pitch. The next four batters, Yoon Dong-hee, Jeon Jun-woo, and Ahn Chi-hong, 먹튀검증 hit consecutive singles to take the lead. The momentum was not lost on the Lotte bats. After a successful bunt by Jeong Hoon to put runners on first and second, Han Dong-hee drew a walk to load the bases again, and the youngest player in the lineup, Kim Min-seok, hit an RBI single to score the go-ahead run.
Lotte’s batting order, which scored three runs in the first inning against ace pitcher Yang Hyun-jong, was scary. With the bases loaded and one out, Lee Hak-joo, the No. 8 hitter, confidently swung at Yang’s four-pitch 118-kilometer curveball on a 1B 2S unfavorable count.
Lee swung hard. The ball hit right in the center of the bat and flew over the right field fence, bringing home all the runners on the bases. The score went from 3-0 to 7-0 in the first inning, and Lee Hak-joo pumped his fist in the air as he circled the bases. After crossing the first base line, he exchanged high-fives with coach Kim Pyeong-ho and pumped his right fist. Coach Jeon Jun-ho, who was waiting for the home run hitter at third base, jumped up and down and clapped for Lee Hak-joo.
Ahn Chi-hong, Han Dong-hee, and Kim Min-seok, who were waiting for Lee Hak-joo to hit his first home run of the season, cheered wildly for the home run hitter. Ahn Chi-hong, a friend and captain of the team, was as excited as if he had hit a home run himself.
Led by Lee Hak-joo’s grand slam, Lotte pounded out 19 hits and 14 RBIs in a 14-2 victory over KIA at Sajik Stadium.
After the game, Lee Hak-joo met with fans and took off his hat to thank them for their enthusiastic support. Grabbing the microphone, Lee Hak-joo said, “It’s nice to start a winning game. I think I got my chance because the batters were focused when I was ahead of the plate. I was lucky to hit a grand slam. The coaches help me a lot behind the scenes,” he said, expressing his gratitude to the coaching staff for their hard work behind the scenes.