Ha Joo-seok’s crucial catching mistake… Hanwha misses out on a crucial win

The Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) were on the verge of a 2-1 victory against the Samsung Lions at their home stadium, Daejeon Hanwha Life Eagles Park, on April 22. With one out in the top of the ninth inning, they gave up four runs and hung their heads in shame. Shortstop Ha Joo-seok made a throwing error that could have ended the game.

Hanwha fell behind early in the game. In the top of the first inning, starter Lee Tae-yang hit a triple to right-center off Kim Sung-yoon, but a wild pitch by opposing starter David Buchanan with the bases loaded in the seventh inning scored a run. With runners on second and third, Buchanan committed a balk to put two runners on base and make it 2-1.

After taking the lead on back-to-back errors, Hanwha pitched a scoreless eighth inning before bringing up Park Sang-won to close out the ninth. Park gave up a leadoff single to Koo Ja-rook, but induced both Kang Min-ho and Jose Pirela to ground out to put runners on second and third.

Next up was pinch-hitter Ryu Ji-hyuk. Ryu Ji-hyuk, who replaced Oh Jae-il, hit a grounder toward second base. Ha Joo-seok tried to catch it, but he couldn’t get a good grip on the ball. The ball bounced a few times, so it shouldn’t have been hard to catch, but the ball sailed past Ha’s glove.

This mistake changed the course of the game for an instant. The next batter, Kim Dong-yeop, hit an infield single next to the pitcher, allowing Koo Ja-rook to score from third base. Lee Jae-hyun followed with a single to right, and when Hanwha right fielder Nick Williams threw the ball the wrong way, second baseman Ryu Ji-hyuk came home to make it 4-2. Kim Ji-chan followed with an RBI single to right to extend the lead to three. The Hanwha bench froze for a few minutes, while the Samsung bench turned festive.

In the bottom of the ninth, leadoff hitter Lee Do-yoon hit a solo home run over the right field fence, but Hanwha couldn’t get any closer, falling 3-5.

Hanwha used its mound strength to keep the pressure on Samseong. Lee Tae-yang pitched five innings of three-hit ball with four strikeouts and one run, and Joo Hyun-hyun, Kim Bum-soo, and Jang Si-hwan each pitched a scoreless inning, but Ha Joo-seok made a crucial error in the ninth inning that cost them the win and handed them their third straight loss.

Ha received a 10-game suspension in June of last year for arguing with the umpire over a strike call during a game, and in November of last year, he 토토 received an additional 70-game suspension for driving while intoxicated. After serving all of his punishments, he made his comeback last month with his head down, but has struggled so far with a batting average in the low teens. Conversely, Lee Do-yoon, who emerged as the starting shortstop in Ha’s absence, had a solid day at the plate, going 2-for-2 with a double and a home run.

Meanwhile, the in-form KT Wiz defeated the KIA Tigers 8-4 in Suwon. They only need to take one of the remaining two games to complete their 11th consecutive winning season, the most in KBO history. In Gocheok, the Doosan Bears defeated the Kiwoom Heroes 6-1. Catcher Yang Yang-ji, who returned to the first team, hit a solo shot to left-center field in the eighth inning, marking his 10th straight double-digit home run game.

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