Samsung Lions outfielder Oh Jae-il (37) broke his long silence to drive in the winning run. Oh Jae-il showed his fixer-upper instincts in the eighth inning of the Samsung Lions’ fourth game of the season against Doosan at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Thursday, hitting a two-run double to lead the Lions to a 6-1 victory.
The 5 billion won ‘Hye-ja’ free agent, who was recently pushed down to the seventh spot in the batting order due to a severe hitting slump, was silent in her first three at-bats, including two strikeouts.
She wasn’t in bad shape. Her swing was strong. Commentator Jung Min-cheol also said, “Her swing was the best in recent games.” “In my first three at-bats, there were no balls on the course that I could hit. I thought there was nothing I could do about it and tried to take advantage of my swing.”
The score remained 0-0 until the seventh inning.
In the top of the eighth inning, Samsung capitalized on Doosan reliever Jung Chul-won.
After back-to-back singles and a fielder’s choice, a wild pitch and a passed ball put runners on the corners with no outs.
With the bases loaded, Oh Jae-il, the No. 7 hitter, came to the plate for the fourth time. Given that Doosan still had two more at-bats to go, they were in desperate need of a run.
Lee Hyung-beom took the mound.
He pulled a 126-kilometer changeup on a 2B2S and hit a double down the right-field line. He technically slowed his swing on the fastball and dropped it inside the right-field line. It was a two-run double that sealed the win. Kim Tae-gun’s RBI double brought home the team’s sixth run.
“I wasn’t looking for a specific pitch, I just thought if it was in the zone, I’d hit it, but the changeup came up high and it caught my bat.”
It’s been a tough season, but he’s still been able to come through in the clutch.
“When I’m in a bad situation and there’s runners on base, I try not to think about my swing as much as I can, but just try to make some contact and get the runners in, and one by one, I think I’m coming up with good at-bats.”
An unexpectedly long slump. Captain Oh and the team were both worried.
He was batting 1-for-9 in the month of April, which is usually a bad month for him. They didn’t think much of it. They were confident that he would bounce back in May.
But there was a long, embarrassing silence. Until this day, he was 5-for-43 (.116) in May. His season batting average had dropped to 1.167.
The sleepless nights have begun. The hard times are here. But the fans who applaud her encouragement are what keeps her going.
“It’s really hard, I don’t think anyone sleeps well in times like this. I’m not trying to stress out, I’m just trying to go to bed early, but I can’t sleep…. I just want to go to bed early to feel good, like I had a good at-bat today, so hopefully tomorrow will be good too. I think coming out to the ballpark early on purpose and seeing the fans makes me feel a little bit better than being alone in the dugout. I’m not a machine, so I can’t say I’m going to come up (when it gets hot), but I’m just trying to practice as hard as I can.” 안전놀이터
Words that carry the weight of hard work. The weight of the captain’s armband adds to the burden.
“When I was younger, I would have struggled alone, but I’m the captain and I can’t do it, so I feel sorry for my teammates. I can’t help it that I’m struggling alone…”
I also lost a close friend, Wonseok Lee, with whom I shared my troubles. He, too, has been having a hard time since May. The side of a friend I didn’t realize was always there. He is realizing the importance of them.
“Won-seok calls me almost every day, and he’s very lonely.”
Baseball can cause sleepless nights for even the biggest stars. Won-seok’s worries are ongoing until the moment he takes off his uniform. Baseball is hard.