‘Super Rookie’s First Pitch to a Super Rookie’ Isn’t Good, Could Shake Up Doosan’s Outfield

There is a player who got his first hit on the first day of his call-up. It’s outfielder Hong Seong-ho (26, Dusan).

Hong went 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI in a home game against the Hanwha Eagles of the 2023 SOL KBO League at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Aug. 8, starting in the No. 7 spot in left field.

With the score tied at 0-0 in the bottom of the second inning, he hit an RBI single off Hanwha starter Kim Min-woo to score Doosan’s first and final run of the day. It was also Hong’s first career RBI.

In his second at-bat, he also reached base. With one out in the bottom of the fourth inning, he took advantage of Kim Min-woo’s fastball and sent it up the middle, where Hanwha center fielder Moon Hyun-bin lost track of it. Moon ran all the way to the fence, but the ball dropped well short. Hong Seong-ho took advantage of the error and stole second base for his first career double.

Prior to his call-up, Hong was batting .358 (137-for-49) with eight home runs, 36 RBI, 29 doubles, and a 1.024 OPS in 36 games for the second team.

Because he was hitting so well in the Futures League, the first-team coaching staff couldn’t ignore him. Before the game, coach Lee Seung-yeop 스포츠토토 said, “We were thinking about bringing up a pitcher because we don’t have Kwak-bin, but Hong Seong-ho is so good right now that we decided to bring up a hitter. He’s going to start right away,” he explained, adding, “I want him to go into the batter’s box and do it comfortably, rather than expecting a home run or a hit.” “We didn’t do it together in spring training. Comparing the way I practiced in the final camp to today, I’ve improved a lot,” he said.

He was right. With a multi-hit game and his first career RBI, Hong sealed the win for his team.

“As soon as I came to the first team today, coach Lee Seung-yeop and the coaches told me, ‘Think of this as the second team and play comfortably,’ so I think I relaxed,” Hong said. “The juniors were teasing me, saying, ‘Don’t cut,’ so I thought, ‘Let’s try to relax. I thought, ‘Let’s take it easy.’ I never imagined a debut like this. I just wanted it to go smoothly, but I’m glad it went well.” He laughed.

Hong also drew attention in the Futures League when he hit the first home run for Hanwha Super Rookie Kim Seo-hyun. He hit a solo shot against Kim in the top of the sixth inning of the Futures League game between Hanwha and Seohyun in Seosan on April 9.

“I didn’t know if it was my first home run,” Hong recalled, “but I thought I’d just throw a fastball because the ball was fast, and I hit it right away.

“I thought, ‘If I do well, the first team will call me up,’ and I just focused on the second team games. I was trying to do well, and I wanted to make a good performance,” he emphasized.

He also expressed his gratitude to the second team coaching staff. “Second team coach Lee Jung-hoon and the batting coaches looked at me intensively. Whether I did well in the game or not, we kept training together, and I think the results came out today. I would like to express my gratitude to the manager and coaches.”

Hong Seo-ho said, “I only had a short at-bat today, but next time I hope to hit a big one to please the fans.” “For the time being, I’ll take it easy with the mindset of ‘I’m in the second team,’ but if it works out, I hope to stay in the first team. I’ll try my best to earn a spot.”

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