This year, the KBO League is facing a ‘speed revolution’. Hanwha’s young gun Moon Dong-ju threw a fast ball at 160 km/h, and Kiwoom An Woo-jin also sprinkled 158 km. Each team is lined with pitchers who throw fast balls in the 150km range.
In that respect, KIA’s left-handed rookie Yoon Young-cheol is not a pitcher who follows the trend of the times. However, it was 19-year-old Yoon Young-cheol’s slow ball that broke the leader Lotte, who recently went on a 9-game winning streak and became a team that was unlikely to ever lose.
Yoon Young-cheol started in the home game against Lotte held at Kia Champions Field in Gwangju on the 3rd and pitched well with 5 hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts and 1 run in 5 innings. As the team won 10-2 that day, Yoon Young-cheol became the first winning pitcher in his debut after 4 games.
On this day, Yoon Young-cheol threw 77 balls, but not a single ball exceeded 140 km. His 34 fastballs ranged from a low of 132 km to a high of 139 km, and his average fastball velocity stayed at 135 km.
However, Yoon Young-cheol overpowered the Lotte hitters with his outstanding control and leisurely game management uncharacteristic of a rookie. He mixed 32 sliders and 11 changeups to break the timing of opposing hitters. In the second 크크크벳inning when the bases were loaded with two outs, Lee Hak-joo struck out, and in the third inning with two outs and second base, Rex was caught with a foul fly by the third baseman. In the 5th inning, he allowed Kim Min-seok a timely hit, but through checks, he succeeded in stealing the pitcher-1st baseman-2nd baseman.
The senior batters also responded enthusiastically to the youngest’s good pitch. At the end of the 3rd inning, when the score was tied 0-0, Kim Seon-bin got the bases loaded with two outs, and Kim Seon-bin got a walk to get the first run. Socrates, the 5th hitter, also hit the right hand at the right time and scored 4 runs in the 3rd inning alone. KIA ran one more point in the 6th inning and added 4 points in the 7th inning.
Lotte, who tried to win 10 consecutive wins, had to end the streak at ‘9’ as Yoon Young-chul blocked it. Na Kyun-an, who emerged as Lotte’s ace by recording 4 wins and undefeated until the previous day, also suffered the first loss of the season with 5 runs in 4 innings.
In Daegu, Kiwoom defeated Samsung 4-1. However, rather than the result of the game, the start of Oh Seung-hwan, the starting pitcher, was by far the most talked about.
Oh Seung-hwan, who started for the first time in the 621st game of the Korea-US-Japan KBO League after 19 years of his debut, pitched 5 innings, allowing 5 hits (1 home run), 6 strikeouts and 3 runs.
Oh Seung-hwan, who took the mound as a starter at the age of 40 years, 9 months and 18 days, set a new record for the number of games played by the oldest player ever. Park Chan-ho (then Hanwha) was 38 years, 9 months and 13 days old, and Jeon Yu-soo (then KT) started in 336 games. Oh Seung-hwan, who was unable to find his pace this year as the finisher and switched to a surprise starter, received a passing grade as a starting pitcher by throwing various breaking balls at a speed of 149km per hour. He gave up another run with a superior two-run homer to Kim Hye-seong in the first inning and a double to Lee Jung-hoo in the second inning, but from the third to the fifth inning, he showed a near-perfect pitch. After the game, Oh Seung-hwan said, “It’s important for the team to win, but I’m sorry that I lost a run from the first inning. He felt that starting the ninth inning was a burden, but going out from the first inning was also a burden. He has to keep the game in the ninth, but the starters have to make it. It would have been better if he had won, but that part is a pity. He will try to show a better image than he is now,” he said.In the Changwon game, LG defeated NC 2-1 thanks to starter Plutko’s 7 innings and 1 run and Park Dong-won’s final solo shot in the 5th inning. Plutko became the single leader with 5 wins. Hanwha, who suffered 6 consecutive losses until the previous day, showed concentration and scored 8 points in the top of the 7th inning, trailing 0-1 in the Jamsil game, and came from behind to win 8-3. In the bottom of the 7th inning, where SSG trailed by 1-3 in the match against KT, Heredia’s 3-point comeback led to a come-from-behind victory 5-3.