He scored runs with his feet, drove in runs with his bat, and prevented runs with his glove.
KIA Tigers shortstop Park Chan-ho was flying. The Tigers came from behind to win 7-3 against the KT Wiz at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on April 24. Trailing 2-3 in the top of the eighth inning, Choi Hyung-woo’s RBI single tied the game at 3-3, and in the top of the ninth, Park Chan-ho’s RBI double and Na Sung-beom’s two-run triple set the stage for the comeback.
Chan-ho Park’s performance stood out. On the day, Park went 4-for-4 with two doubles, two RBIs, three runs scored, one walk and one stolen base.
It didn’t start out well for Park. In the top of the first inning, Chan-ho grounded out to shortstop, and in the top of the third inning, with runners on first and second, Chan-ho grounded out to second base. In the bottom of the fifth inning, after Oh Yoon-seok’s two-run double made it 1-2, he made a mistake in defense when he failed to catch Kim Jun-tae’s bat.
In the sixth inning, Park Chan-ho’s “one-man show” began. First, he tied the game.
In the top of the sixth inning, trailing 1-2, Park Chan-ho hit an infield single and advanced to second on a throwing error by the second baseman. Na Sung-beom followed with a single to right, tying the game at 2-2.
Trailing 2-3 in the top of the eighth, Park Young-hyun drew a walk against KT’s No. 1 hitter, stole second, and came home on Choi Hyung-woo’s single to tie the game at 3-3.
In the bottom of the eighth, the defense prevented a crucial run. With two outs, Jang Sung-woo’s grounder to third base hit third baseman Kim Do-young’s glove and bounced sideways, but Park Chan-ho, who was right next to him, caught it and threw to first base for the out.
In the top of the ninth inning, Park delivered the game-winning hit. With the bases loaded and two outs, Chan-ho Park picked up a pitch on an unfavorable 1B2S count that was fouled off the first base line. At 2B2S, he saw a six-pitch, 130-kilometer forkball up the middle and lined it over the fence in front of right field for a two-run double. He came around to score on Na Sung-beom’s triple to center.
Park, who spoke for a long time with hitting coach Lee Bum-ho before stepping up to the plate in the top of the ninth, said, “Coach Lee told me, ‘If you don’t make it this far, you’re dead.’ I think he was telling me to relax,” he laughed.
When asked about the situation in the top of the ninth inning, he said, “The coach told me what pattern to use against the opposing pitcher. I was confident,” he said, adding, “Kim Jae-yoon had a very good fastball, so I was hoping he would throw me a changeup, but the changeup came and I was lucky to get a hit.” He laughed.
His season batting average is 2 for 9, but he is 3 for 4 with runners in scoring position. “I’m honestly more confident in scoring position,” Park said. “Whether I’m batting ninth or first or second, the guy behind me is better than me, so the opposing pitcher is trying to match me rather than batting behind me,” Park explained. “I think that’s why I’m more comfortable with the pitch mix.” He’s able to hit well because he’s going head-to-head with himself.
On Kim Do-young’s missed pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning, Park said, “I think it was a play where we tried our best. Anyone can make a mistake, and it’s even better when someone makes up for it. In a lot of ways, I think that’s what happened for us to win.”안전놀이터
Park, who had a 2-for-9 batting average through August last year, has seen his batting average drop to 2-for-6 since September. “Last year, I was good until August, but I didn’t do well in September and October,” Park said. “This year, it’s important to see how I hold up in September and October. That’s where I think I’ve grown or not. I’ve always worked hard and tried to improve, so I can only hope for good results. I just want to do well until September,” he said.