“There were a lot of people standing in front of home plate.”
Park Sung-ho (SSG Landers) started at shortstop in the sixth spot in the lineup against the LG Twins of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at SSG Landers Field in Incheon, South Korea, on Thursday and went 1-for-4 with a home run, four RBI and one run scored.
Park’s chances came in the first inning. After Choi Ji-hoon singled with one out, Choi and Heredia reached on errors by Moon Bo-kyung and Austin Dean, respectively. Choi then flied out to left field, but Park Sung-yi, who came to bat next, took a 144km/h fastball from Lee Ji-gang over the right field fence.스포츠토토
SSG gave up a two-run homer to Lee Jae-won in the top of the second and an RBI single to Kim Min-sung in the top of the fourth, but responded with a single by Choi Ju-hwan in the bottom of the fourth. He then pitched a scoreless inning to avenge the previous day’s loss.
Park told reporters after the game, “I wasn’t trying to hit a home run. I was just trying to be aggressive and swing hard in a favorable count, and I think it worked out well,” he said, adding, “I think it gave us a good lead early on.”
“I think Sung-han’s grand slam had an impact on the game as a whole,” said SSG coach Kim Won-hyung.
Park said it was the first time he hit a grand slam since he started playing baseball. He said, “I’ve never had one before. I’ve hit one-, two-, and three-run homers, but a grand slam was the first time in my life,” he said. “I felt great running around the bases. I felt like, ‘I hit a grand slam?’ It was even better that it came in an important game. It was even better that it was in a big game. I came home and there were so many people standing there. There were a lot of high fives. I think it was even better,” he said.
Park didn’t hit well in April. He batted .194 with two home runs, six RBIs, and a .671 OPS in 14 at-bats. But in May, his bat started to come alive. He has 23 hits, one home run, 12 RBIs, and a .329 OPS of 0.834.
On May 9, hitting coach Lee Jin-young said, “I told him, ‘When it’s bad, think about getting back to good hitting as quickly as possible, and when it’s good, think about how long you can keep it going.’ I only told him that his timing was off, and it seems to be getting better as he corrects it.” Park still has a lot to work on.
“It’s definitely better than April,” he said, “but there are still a lot of things I don’t like about it. It doesn’t seem to be going as well as I wanted, so I’m trying to keep preparing well.”
Park is in his third season as the starting shortstop this season. “Of course, I have to be good,” he said, “because I’m a shortstop, so I have to play offense and defense. Since I’m a shortstop, I think I have to be good at both offense and defense,” he said, “and I’ll have to work hard to meet those expectations.”