The game between Hanwha and KIA at the Gwangju-Kia Champions Field on April 25 was a starting battle between the Sanchezes, who share the 스포츠토토 same last name. KIA’s Mario pitched a complete game no-hitter and Hanwha’s Ricardo gave up a run in the first inning, but there was no more danger. With the score at 1-0, the tide turned sharply in KIA’s favor when Park Chan-ho singled home a run.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Park Chan-ho, the leadoff hitter, gently pushed Ricardo’s pitch in the third at-bat and singled to right field. At the plate, he hit the opposing pitcher’s ball well and got another hit. With last year’s stolen base king on base, Ricardo and catcher Choi Jae-hoon were nervous. He kept throwing strikes and almost got caught with a Hamatrum reverse motion.
SPOTV commentator Lee Dae-hyung, who was an expert at stealing bases, predicted the steal by saying, “Park Chan-ho has the best stealing timing against left-handed pitchers.” Indeed, he succeeded in stealing despite the frequent interference. Na Sung-bum came to bat, and Park Chan-ho still had a big lead. He expressed his intention to go home with a single.
At the end of the game, Ricardo’s one-bound changeup was hit hard by Na’s bat, but the catcher couldn’t catch it and it went behind him. Park Chan-ho quickly rounded third base and rushed home. Na didn’t run to first base even though it was a snag. He thought the catcher had made the catch.
This caught Hanwha catcher Choi Jae-hoon off guard as he ran to catch the bounced ball. He looked at Park Chan-ho, who was running back to third base, and threw to first base for the out. However, there was a long gap between the catcher and first baseman. The throw was long. Park Chan-ho realized this and rushed home. The first baseman immediately threw the ball back, but Park’s hand touched home first.
It was a momentary gap that most runners would overlook, but Park’s five senses didn’t miss it. His eyes saw it, his brain made a quick decision, and his body went into action. It took less than a second. Only a baseball genius like Lee Jong-beom could have taken advantage of such an opening in the Tigers’ game.
Park Chan-ho summoned the patent of a baseball genius with a genius bunt. It was enough to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead. Despite being down by one run, they won the game in the bottom of the seventh inning with Choi Hyung-woo’s wedge double. Coach Kim Jong-guk also applauded Park Chan-ho, saying, “Chan-ho scored a valuable extra run in the bottom of the fifth inning with a brilliant base running play.”
Park Chan-ho said, “I didn’t plan the home run. I saw the position of the opponent’s defense and thought the timing would be right, so I took a chance. There was a little distance between the catcher and the first baseman, so I made a split-second decision and it led to an extra run. It came at a crucial time, so I think it’s even more valuable. If I have a similar opportunity in the future, I won’t hesitate to try it.”