‘Korean express nephew’ shows distribution…3 straight hits, 2K to escape crisis

Kiwoom Heroes rookie pitcher Kim Yoon-ha (18) pitched impressively in his second appearance in an exhibition game.

Kim Yoon-ha took the mound in the bottom of the sixth inning with Kiwoom Heroes leading 5-3 in the 2024 KBO League exhibition game against SSG Landers at SSG Landers Field in Incheon, South Korea, on Thursday and struggled through two innings of four-hit ball (one home run), but managed to preserve the lead with one run. The story was better than the record.

In the bottom of the sixth, Kim Yoon-ha got a fielder’s choice strikeout of Jeon Eui-san, and Ahn Sang-hyun, who attempted a surprise bunt, was caught well by the fielders. Cho Hyung-woo induced a grounder to shortstop.

The seventh inning was a struggle against SSG’s top hitters. Trailing 5-4 and one run after a leadoff home run by Choi Ji-hoon, Guillermo Heredia and Choi Jung gave up back-to-back singles to tie the game.

In this situation, he faced the big gun Han Yu-seom. With a full count, he threw a forkball in the strike zone for a strikeout. Han Yoo-seom was disappointed after swinging wildly.

Kim Yoon-ha struck out the next batter, SSG first baseman candidate Ko Myung-joon, on the same pitch. The batter couldn’t get the bat out.

Two batters later, Park Sung-ae allowed an infield hit. It was headed straight for the second baseman, but he didn’t catch the drop and fumbled. However, Oh Tae-gon, who was at second base, made an overthrow to third base, and the outfielders made a great play to end the inning.

Kim Yoon-ha is a prospect who was selected in the first round (9th overall) of the 2024 rookie draft, and he is also the nephew of “Korean Express” Park Chan-ho.

He made his official professional debut against the Doosan Bears on April 10, and showed good form with two innings of one-hit ball. Against SSG, he struggled against a “minefield” batting lineup that included 안전놀이터 some of the league’s top hitters, but he was able to fulfill his mission of protecting the lead.

Kiwoom will next face the Los Angeles Dodgers of the Major League Baseball (MLB) on April 17th. It is an exhibition game (special match) for the Dodgers, who will play the opening game of the Seoul Series against the San Diego Padres on April 20-21.

Kim Yoon-ha could be pitching against the team that his uncle Park Chan-ho played for when he was the first Korean to become a big leaguer, and the team that he played for in his prime. It will be interesting to see if he pitches as confidently as he did in the KBO League exhibition games.


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