9th inning hero Ahn Ik-hoon “I wasn’t nervous…RBIs are coming in”

LG Twins’ Ahn Ik-hoon has revealed the secret to his Altoran-like performance in limited playing time.

LG won 5-3 at home against the Lotte Giants in the 2024 Shinhan SOL Bank KBO League on Sunday at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul.

Ahn Ik-hoon hit a game-winning sacrifice fly to center field. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Moon Sung-joo pinch-hit for Ahn Ik-hoon, who hit the game-winning sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning. It was his second sacrifice fly of the season and 75th of his KBO career.

After the game, Ahn explained the situation, saying, “I wasn’t too nervous, because (Park) Hae-min and (Shin) Min-jae are so fast, so I thought I could score if I hit an in-play ball,” adding, “There was also (Kim) Hyun-soo behind me, so even if I didn’t hit it, I thought it was a game.”

In reality, Ahn’s hit didn’t travel that far, and not many people thought that Park Hae-min, the runner on third base, would come right in. “I saw (Park) getting ready and thought he was going to run,” Ahn said, adding, “The outfielder (Kim Min-seok) caught it from below, not from above. When we analyzed the power, he said his shoulder wasn’t 100 percent, so I thought he would (score).”

When asked if he was disappointed that he couldn’t finish the game with a clean hit, he said, “I don’t have any regrets. I was just focused on winning,” he emphasized.

Ahn Ik-hoon was left out of the first team spring training roster due to injury. “I went into off-season rehabilitation and trained a lot, and the second team, coaching staff, and manager took great care of me. I’ve been moving in the direction I want and training in the direction I want, so my body is in better shape.”

LG has a world-class outfield with Park Hae-min, Hong Chang-ki, and Moon Sung-joo. It’s a situation that makes it difficult for Ahn to get many opportunities. “In the past, I would have thought it was frustrating,” Ahn said, “but I’ve been with LG for 10 years, and I’ve been preparing 스포츠토토 under the seniors as a backup since I was young. I thought, ‘If I prepare well down there, if something happens upstairs, I can come up and play 100% right away,'” he said.

He explained that playing a lot of games in the second team gave him confidence in his batting. “After 200 to 300 at-bats in the second team, (my batting) is becoming more organized,” Ahn said.

“It was my first game with ABS (automatic pitch judgment system). The second team doesn’t have ABS, so the zones are not set yet. I don’t know the ABS zones, so I think I’ll be able to make my swing little by little as I continue to go in,” he said. Ahn said that the Futures League Northern League has not yet implemented ABS.


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