Hanwha has reinstated nighttime specials. The team won the game, but some players didn’t go home and stayed on the field for the extra innings.
Hanwha snapped a three-game losing streak with a 9-5 win over KIA in Daejeon on April 23. It was a day when the bats came alive. In the first inning, they capitalized on four hits, three walks, and an error to score six runs in the top of the order, then added one in the fourth and two in the fifth to take an early lead.
After the game, however, the scene was far from normal. As soon as the game was over, the stadium staff set up a batting cage for batting practice. Several young players, including catcher Park Sang-un, infielder Park Jung-hyun, and outfielders Lee Won-seok and Kwon Kwang-min, took the field with bats in their uniforms.
The sound of players hitting echoed through the stadium as foreign pitcher Ricardo Sanchez met with fans on the dais. Hitting coaches Jung Hyun-seok and Kim Nam-hyung also came out to help the players with their nightly specialties. Head coach Choi Won-ho also showed up to watch the training. The game ended at 9:40 p.m., but the stadium lights didn’t turn off until after 10 p.m. The special inning ended around 10:30 p.m.
Hanwha’s bats exploded for nine runs on the day, but last week they were blanked for a total of nine runs in six games. For the season as a whole, the team ranks 10th in the league in both batting average (.224) and OPS (.620). While foreign hitter Brian O’Grady has struggled mightily, domestic hitters have also fallen into a collective slump.
Outside of center fielders Chae Eun-sung and Roh Si-hwan, there is no one who can threaten the opposition. Even Noh Si-hwan, who was hitting at his peak until the middle of the month, has recently fallen silent, going hitless in 40 consecutive at-bats, deepening the batting slump.
Before the 23rd game, Choi Won-ho said, “The pitchers are doing a great job, so if the bats can hit a little bit, I think it’s worth it. I think it’s a matter of the batting cycle. Right now, the center fielders are not without pressure,” Choi said, adding, “We are trying to improve the players’ hitting in the batting part. If we get some triggers, we can be scary.”
안전놀이터 That’s exactly what happened in this game. A six-run first inning opened the floodgates for the bats. However, there are no guarantees that this will continue. It’s a cold hard reality that the current lineup won’t be able to produce all season long. Even some batting order adjustments are a pain in the ass. With nothing to boost their power other than the foreign batsmen, they are looking for a breakthrough in training.
Before the game, the team held batting practice earlier than usual. The coaching staff has been discussing nighttime batting since last week. However, after going to extra innings in the first two midweek games against Lotte and leaving for Jamsil immediately afterward, they postponed the nightly special session and started it after today’s game. This is the first time since former coach Kim Sung-geun, who was known for his hellish training regimen from 2015 to 2017, that nightly special teams have been revived.
Choi Won-ho, who took over as acting coach in 2020, also utilized night specials for veteran players. Under his predecessor, Carlos Subero, some players voluntarily took extra batting practice at the indoor practice facility after the game, but this time, the coaching staff was present on the field. There was a consensus that “something had to be done” to overcome the batting slump. Even before the victory was realized, the players were desperate and swung like they had never swung before.