Before the game, I got a call from my maternal grandmother. But the game came first. The responsibility of a professional athlete and the weight of a captain rested on the grandson’s shoulders.
On the 17th, at Samsung Lions Park in Daegu. Lotte Giants’ Ahn Chi-hong pounded out three hits and five RBIs, including a back-to-back home run, to lead his team to a 7-4 victory.
He batted third and played first base. In his first at-bat, he singled to start the offense. Placed runners on first and third with an RBI single to center field.
He blasted a two-run homer (his seventh of the season) in the top of the third off Samsung starter Taylor Widener and then added a three-run homer (his eighth) in the top of the fourth off the second pitcher, Choi Ji-kwang.
Both pitches were sliders. The veteran’s changeup was sharp. Ahn’s back-to-back homers, two in one game, were his first in 387 days and sixth in his career since Aug. 25 last year against the Busan Samsung Electronics.
Samsung started the rally with a two-run homer by Jose Pirela (No. 13) in the bottom of the fourth inning. Lee Jae-hyun (No. 12) followed in the seventh and Lee Sung-kyu hit his first home run in 1076 days in the bottom of the ninth, but it wasn’t enough to turn the game around.안전놀이터
“Today, I tried to be focused at the plate, especially with my maternal grandmother cheering me on,” Ahn Chi-hong said after the game.
“I’m more happy that I helped the team win the streak than I am personally, and I’ll always be grateful to my maternal grandmother for her support as an only grandchild and as a player,” she said before rushing off to pay her respects.
LOTTE acting head coach Lee Jong-woon said, “We were able to win thanks to the excellent pitching of Park Se-woong. He is a steady pitcher, so we can count on him, and today we were able to win because Choi Jun-yong saved us from a potentially dangerous situation.”
“In the batting department, Ahn Chi-hong’s five-hit performance turned the tide of the game in our favor,” he added, “and we are grateful to the Lotte fans for their passionate support for the win, even when we were away from home.”
On the day, Lotte completed a three-game sweep with a victory that was led by Park Se-woong and Ahn Chi-hong, who represented Team Tuta.
They literally seized their last, slim chance at fall baseball for the first time in six years. Like the nine-game winning streak in April, if we don’t pull off a miracle here, we’ll be left with nothing but frustration. In that sense, Ahn Chi-hong’s focus and mental strength to lead the team to victory after suffering a maternal death shines through.