“It’s my last race…”
The ‘Fireballer Senior’ was sincere. Hanwha won 5-3 against LG in the ‘2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League’ at Jamsil Stadium on March 3. With their second straight win over LG, Hanwha wrapped up the three-game weekend series in style.
Of course, it wasn’t easy. Moon Dong-ju struggled on the mound, throwing 105 pitches in 4⅓ innings and giving up 11 hits. Still, he was able to minimize the damage. He left the mound in the bottom of the fifth with runners on first and second, but Kim Bum-soo, who took over for Batong, got Park Hae-min and Hong Chang-gi to ground out to second base to end the inning.
The game also marked Moon’s final appearance of the season. Hanwha had limited him to 120 innings prior to the season in order to manage him effectively. Moon ended up finishing the season with 118⅔ innings pitched. He went 8-8 with a 3.72 ERA, a remarkable improvement in his second year as a professional. Even though his last start ended in disappointment, he still had a fastball that reached 157 mph.
He knew it was his last outing, so he chose to pitch hard instead of soft. “I pitched every inning as if it was my last,” he recalled, “so I think I did my best with each pitch, one by one, rather than trying to control it.
The crisis Moon left behind. Kim wanted to prevent Moon from scoring the two runners he left on base. As the league’s leading left-handed fireballer, Bum-soo Kim went toe-to-toe with the LG batters with a fastball that reached up to 151 kilometers per hour.
“I’ve been pitching in tough situations since the beginning of the season, so I didn’t think today (March 3) was particularly difficult,” Kim said, “but I pitched harder because it was (Moon) Dong-ju’s last game and I didn’t want to give him any more runs.” Kim showed his heart for his junior.안전놀이터
Kim Bum-soo also had a kind word for Moon Dong-ju, who finished the 2023 season prematurely.
“It was Dong-ju’s last game of the season, but Yujong’s Mi is the national team, so I hope he can go to the national team and do well and build on that to become a better pitcher next year and a long-lasting pitcher in the future.”
Moon will continue to work on his conditioning at Hanwha’s secondary training center in Seosan before joining the national team for the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games. The team will convene later this month for a joint training session before traveling to Hangzhou, China.
Hanwha will now have to play the rest of the season without Moon Dong-ju. With the team still in last place, it will be interesting to see if a sweep of the weekend’s three-game series against LG can spark a rebound. After winning two games in a row against LG, Kim Bum-soo said, “It feels good to win two games in a row, but I think it was the whole team that created the winning situation. I will continue to take the mound with the idea that team victory comes first,” he said.