Hanwha suffered a 5-7 come-from-behind defeat against the NC Dinos of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Hanwha Life Eagles Park in Daejeon at 6 p.m. on the 22nd. Hanwha and NC faced each other fiercely from the beginning of the game. NC took the lead in the top of the second inning thanks to Jason Martin, who was the leadoff hitter, pulling Hanwha starter Felix Peña’s fastball and hitting a superior solo home run.
Hanwha then launched a counterattack. In the bottom of the third inning, Lee Jin-young’s one-run double and Kim In-hwan’s one-run timely hit made it 2-1 turnaround. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Jung Eun-won’s superior solo shot made it 3-1 away. NC did not back down easily. Park Kun-woo’s two-run timely hit in the top of the sixth inning balanced the game. In the top of the seventh inning, Son Ah-seop made a comeback with an RBI double.
Hanwha scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh and eighth innings, turning the game around 5-4. However, in the top of the ninth inning, right-hander Park Sang-won hit a three-run home run with a wedge superiority by NC Martin and eventually lost 5-7.
Hanwha had 10 hits and seven walks on the day, but scored only five points. In particular, the silence of No. 5 hitter Moon Hyun-bin was decisive. NC skipped Chae Eun-sung, who played as the fourth batter, twice (a walk in the bottom of the third inning and an automatic four-ball in the bottom of the seventh inning) and chose to play against Moon Hyun-bin, who played as the fifth batter. Moon Hyun-bin faced a total of three scoring opportunities (two outs and runners on first and second base in the bottom of the third inning, two outs and runners on first and third base in the bottom of the fifth inning, and two outs and runners on first and third base in the bottom of the seventh inning), but he stepped down with a hit in all three at-bats. Hanwha, which missed several chances to run away, eventually suffered a come-.
Hanwha has experienced a lot of attacks cut off in the fifth batting order this season. At the beginning of the season, No. 3 Noh Si-hwan and No. 4 Chae Eun-sung swung hard hits in the mid-30s, but they repeatedly failed to score due to the silence of Brian O’Gredi, who mainly played as No. 5 hitter. Hanwha manager Choi Won-ho said he would use the lineup as No. 3 Noh Si-hwan, No. 4 Williams, and No. 5 Chae Eun-sung when Williams was recruited to shake off the nightmare.
However, coach Choi Won-ho’s plans were all in vain as Williams was sluggish with a batting average of 0.200 in four times until the 8th. Williams has been playing seven times since the 9th after a slump. At the same time, Chae Eun-sung moved back to No. 4. Moon Hyun-bin and Choi Jae-hoon take turns in the fifth batting order, which has become vacant. However, both batters are less heavy to be called typical center hitters. That is why Williams’ resurrection is all the more pressing. Williams had one hit in each of the two second-half games. It was not a strong hit, but it was encouraging to produce a hit.
Chae Eun-sung’s performance (0.291 batting average of 11 home runs and 47 RBIs) in a six-year, 9 billion won FA contract ahead of this season and wearing a Hanwha uniform is remarkable. Noh Si-hwan also exploded his potential with a batting average of 0.308 with 19 home runs and 57 RBIs thanks to the effect of recruiting Chae Eun-sung. All that remains is the resurrection of Williams. If Williams survives, Hanwha’s centerline is expected to gain more strength.