Kim Sun-bin’s joke became a reality…Han Jun-soo “had really good results”
KIA Tigers’ Han Jun-soo, who played center field in place of the starting catcher, contributed to the team’s seventh straight win.
KIA won its 12th game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League season against SSG Landers 12-4 at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on Tuesday, extending its winning streak to seven games in 753 days, the longest since July 1, 2021, against the Gwangju NC Dinos and August 10, 2021, against the Gwangju Hanwha Eagles. With the win, KIA’s season record improved to 55 wins, 2 losses and 50 ties.
Han Jun-soo, who started in the No. 8 spot as a catcher, made a strong impression, going 2-for-4 with a home run, two doubles, two RBIs and one walk. It was his third multi-hit game since the start of the season.
Prior to the game, KIA manager Kim Jong-kook expressed his excitement about Han’s performance, saying, “Han Jun-su has been working well with Yoon Young-chul, and there is also the dimension of managing Kim Tae-gun’s physical condition,” adding, “Overall, Han Jun-su needs to play more and more games.”
In the top of the second inning, with his team up 2-0, Han Jun-soo pulled a four-pitch fastball from SSG starter Moon Seung-won over the right field fence for his second home run of the season. Coincidentally, it was also at Incheon SSG Landers Field (July 5).
Han Jun-soo’s bat continued to heat up after that. He completed his multi-hit game with a two-run double in the top of the fourth inning and a walk in the top of the sixth. Neither of the doubles nor the walk led to runs, but it was important to put pressure on the opposition. Coach Kim Jong-kook also praised Han Jun-soo, saying, “He did a good job on offense and defense.”
After the game, Han Jun-soo said, “I thought it was over after the first hit,” and smiled as he said, “(Kim) Sun-bin jokingly told me that my brother said, ‘It’s your land again, so do well,’ but it was a really good result.”
Han Jun-soo, who formed a battery with Yoon Young-cheol, said, “(Yoon) hadn’t won before, and I was studying and thinking before I went out. I went into the game thinking that even if I gave up a run in the fifth inning, I would only give up three runs, and I think it turned out well.” “I had a bad result after the second strike because I was too greedy with my fastball, but after the second strike, I thought about my changeup rather than my fastball, which led to a good result,” he said.
As Incheon SSG Landers Field is a hitter-friendly ballpark, there was a risk of long balls, but Han Jun-soo wasn’t too worried about that. “Rather than thinking about long balls, I didn’t think about that too much because if the ball is slow, the batters can get tired,” he said, “and if I adjusted the pitch as the day went on or up and down, I got good results, so I kept doing that.
Despite his three-hit performance, including a home run, Han was disappointed with his final at-bat. “I think contact should come first, and I was able to do that for the first two at-bats, but in my last at-bat, I got into a bad habit and touched a bad ball. I think hitting with confidence is an advantage, and I should be more aggressive with my pitches,” he reflected.스포츠토토
It might not be easy to survive in a KIA team with an established catcher, but Han Jun-soo is trying to make the most of his opportunities. “It’s a secondary issue,” he said. “I’m always preparing in the dugout,” he said. “I’m happy (to be in the first team), but I think I have to work harder, so I think I always have to work hard whether I’m in the first or second team.
“The coach of the second team (Son Seung-rak) told me not to make mistakes and to do what I did in the second team,” Han recalls, “and not to try to be too good, but to do my own thing as much as possible because the game is the same.”
Finally, Han Jun-soo said, “The KIA fans always come and support us, which I am very grateful for, and I think it gives strength to the players.” “When I play, I don’t feel like I’m going to lose, so even if I’m losing, I feel like I’m going to win. The seniors are doing a great job in front of me, so I can’t take a break from hitting. I feel comfortable in the back, and it’s good to have the seniors on the side. I want to go as high as the team can go (and win),” she said.