‘Jamsil Rivalry’ thrilling pinch-hit final hit “I think pinch-hitting fits my aptitude

LG Twins’ Koo Bon-hyuk is at it again.

LG came from behind to win 2-1 against Doosan in the 2024 KBO League on Wednesday at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul.

Trailing 0-1 in the top of the seventh inning, the Twins turned the game around with a single run. After a scoreless sixth inning against Doosan starter Kwak Bin, Moon Bo-kyung singled to right and Oh Ji-hwan walked to put runners on first and second. Park Dong-won swung wildly at Kwak’s fastball and struck out swinging on a juicy curveball.

With Moon Sung-joo at bat, the Doosan bench removed Kwak-Bin and brought in left-hander Lee Byung-heon to pitch in relief. Moon Sung-joo hit a single to left to tie the game at 1-1. With Shin Min-jae at bat, LG brought in right-hander Koo Bon-hyuk to pinch-hit.

Koo Bon-hyuk hit an RBI single to right to make it a 2-1 game. The LG bullpen shut down the eighth and ninth innings to secure the thrilling 2-1 victory. Starting pitcher Kelly earned the win, allowing just two hits and two walks over seven innings while striking out eight and walking one (unearned).

“I really worked hard behind the scenes to repay them for giving me a good opportunity today,” said Koo Bon-hyuk, who came in as a pinch-hitter and hit the winning run. “I was told to prepare for the pinch-hitter from Gwangju, so I was proud of that, but I didn’t want to go out and die in vain, so I prepared even more,” he said.

Because of his good defense, he was mostly used as a pinch-hitter in the second half of the game, but now his name is being called when it’s time to pinch-hit. Koo has had a game-tying hit in each of his last two games. On April 4 against NC, he hit a game-tying single with runners on first and third in the 11th inning, and on April 6 against KT, he hit a game-tying home run with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning.

“I have a feeling that I can hit well even after a long time, so I think pinch-hitting is a good fit for me,” Koo said with a laugh. “I have to hit well even if I go out there (as a starter) every day,” he added.

“It’s just one at-bat, so if you sit and then go out, the timing is a little late, so I think I aimed for a fastball in front of me and hit it like that,” said Koo. “I hit a slider, but if you hit it at the right time, the slider will be a good hit.”

Before he stepped to the plate, he got some advice from hitting coach Mo Chang-min. In the next at-bat, Moon Sung-joo hit a slider for the tying run. “Coach Mo told me to look at both fastballs and sliders,” said Koo.

He already has two game-winning hits this season, including a 스포츠토토 pinch-hit single. “First of all, I’m very grateful for the opportunities that come my way, and I’m determined to satisfy the coaches every time I get a chance,” Koo said.

LG won its first Jamsil rivalry game of the season against Doosan earlier in the day. When asked if the players had any preparation before the game, Koo said, “There’s no such thing, it’s just a rivalry game, so let’s enjoy it, let’s just laugh, let’s have fun, and that was the mindset. That’s always the mindset of our team, let’s have fun,” he said.

“But before today’s game, I was thinking about the semifinals against Doosan, when I made an error and went 0-for-8, so I wanted to do better against them,” he said with a laugh. In the semi-playoffs against Doosan in 2021, Koo went 0-for-8 with an error.


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