“RYUHYUNJIN 17 billion won.” The president is also dabong!”80% winning rate.” Why is Hanwha crazy? “An irreplaceable senior.”

The Hanwha Eagles’ early season sensation is unusual. Hanwha won a thrilling 3-2 walk-off victory in the 9th inning against the KT Wiz in the “2024 Shinhan SOL Bank KBO League” held at Hanwha Life Eagles Park in Daejeon on the 29th. It has won five consecutive games since losing 2-8 to the LG Twins in Jamsil on the 23rd.여우알바

Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung-yeon visited the stadium in person for the first time in a long time and threw a “thumbs up” to the players who gave him a thrilling victory. Chairman Kim visited the stadium for the first time in six years after the first round of the semi-playoff against the Nexen Heroes (currently Kiwoom Heroes) on October 19, 2018.

Chairman Kim has come a long way to see the fruits of his big investment. Hanwha quickly emerged as a dark horse this season after capturing “Monster” Ryu Hyun-jin for a total of 17 billion won (17 million U.S. dollars) over eight years in mid-April. Last year, the Korean team had a lot of worries due to weak starting pitchers in addition to Rookie of the Year Moon Dong-joo, but when Ryu joined, the team instantly upgraded to the top-notch starting pitchers in the league. Chairman Kim was behind the decision to become the best pitcher in the KBO history, and Ryu was determined to secure his first starting win in 12 years since the game against the Doosan Bears in Jamsil on Sept. 25, 2012. It was also a chance to challenge for his 99th career win in the KBO.

With his outstanding pitching, Ryu drew a tight race between pitchers and KT ace William Cuevas. He pitched six innings, 89 pitches, eight hits, no four hits, nine strikeouts, and two runs, before leaving the mound without losing or losing a game. He continued his pitching by holding out 65 pitches until the fifth inning, but he lost the opportunity to start the game as he allowed two runs in the aftermath of throwing a mistake to Kang Baek-ho after two outs.

The content of the pitch itself made people have high expectations for the next game. Ryu himself did not like the ball in the match against LG, but he was able to garner 66 strikes out of 89 pitches. His maximum fastball speed was 147 kilometers, slightly lower than the 150 kilometers he recorded in the match against LG, but he was able to garner nine strikeouts as his ball control, which penetrated every corner of his body and outside, revived. He mixed four fastballs (43), cutters (17), changeups (19), and curves (10) into the right place to cook up KT’s batters.

“The catcher (Lee) Jae-won threw a lot mainly for autographs. (He worked well with Lee Jae-won). I think I pitched six innings in an easy way. Overall, the ball seemed to have worked well, including curveball, change-up and cutter. Except for the single mistake that Kang made (in the sixth inning), I think it worked out as well as I thought. I wanted to throw (the mistake) with the ball, but I regret the most about the flow as Kang connected it with an RBI single without missing it,” Ryu said.

If it were the Hanwha Eagles in the past, Ryu would have played a game in which he was taken away by KT after going down the mound, but now the Hanwha Eagles had no intention of doing so. For now, the bullpen held on solidly. Starting in the seventh inning, two pitchers – Han Seung-hyuk (one ⅓ inning) and Joo Hyun-sang (one ⅔ inning) – held three scoreless innings, laying the groundwork for their walk-off victory.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Lim Jong-chan, a reserve player who was surprisingly selected as the starting center fielder for this year, took the batter’s box. He had a chance to hit first and second bases with one out, with leadoff batter Jonathan Peraza’s double on the left and Roh’s intentional fourth pitch. An Chi-hong, who had two hits and one RBI in the previous batter’s box, lost a swing and struck out in vain, which led to the 10th inning, but Lim ended the game immediately. He hit a timely double that completely cut the left-center gap by targeting the first pitch of KT Lee Sang-dong to end the game 3-2.

Lim said, “I feel like it’s the first time I’ve hit a finishing ball while playing baseball. It felt good and thrilling. I knew that the opposing pitcher kept using fork balls as his main weapon. I think my confident intention from the first pitch led to a good result. The moment I hit the ball, I felt that it was a good match, and I thought, ‘Oh, it’s over’ while playing,” he said with a smile.

Hanwha ranks second with five wins and one loss in this season’s record. Its winning percentage amounts to 0.833. The Kia Tigers are atop in the league, which has swept all four games. Hanwha’s rise does not seem to have caught on because of its perfect combination of pitching and hitting. The rotation of starters joined by ace pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin has become more solid than any other year, with Felix Peña, Kim Min-woo, Ricardo Sanchez, and Moon Dong-ju. When it comes to bullpen sessions during the exhibition games, Hanwha manager Choi Won-ho tilted his head by saying, “It is difficult to determine who will win except for Park Sang-won and Joo Hyun-sang,” but players such as Lee Tae-yang and Han Seung-hyuk, who had been considered swing men, are supporting him solidly.

The team’s batting lineup still has individual differences, but the main batters have a good sense of hitting. Peraza, who was evaluated as the key to Hanwha’s firepower this year, is playing as the strongest second batter in the league, batting .500 (11 hits in 22 times at bat), two homers and four RBIs. Choi Jae-hoon (0.375), Ha Joo-seok (0.304), Chae Eun-sung (0.286), and An Chi-hong (0.240) are producing hits in the right place. Moon Hyun-bin’s batting average is not high at 0.235, but he is drawing expectations as a new first hitter with a 0.458 on-base percentage. Last year’s home run king, Noh Si-hwan, had a low batting average of 0.150, but he still showed his ability to hit with two homers and five RBIs.

Choi cited Ryu Hyun-jin and other veteran blood transfusions as the secret of Hanwha’s complete change. In the past two years, including Ryu Hyun-jin, Kim Kang-min, Lee Jae-won, and Ahn Chi-hong, Hanwha General Manager Son Hyuk has been eager to recruit veterans by position by various methods, including FA, non-FA multi-year contracts, second drafts, and recruitment of released players. Although he succeeded in collecting promising pitching and hitting players while staying at the bottom until last year, he judged that there were not enough veterans to lead them.

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