‘I’m laughing because it hurts to be hit in the leg again by a coach’ When the team’s beloved left-handed starter was hit not once, but twice in the same game by hard-hit balls, the pitching coach rushed to the mound.
What are the chances of a starting pitcher being hit by a hard-hit ball twice in one game? Lee Yi-ri of the Kia Tigers wiped the surprise from his face after being hit by two hard-hit balls in the first and fifth innings.
The Kia Tigers have been on a roll lately with back-to-back wins. On June 8, the Tigers sent Lee to the mound for the second game of a three-game weekend series at KT Wiz Park in Suwon to try to win their fourth straight game.
Lee hadn’t won a start since June 10 against Doosan. In the top of the first inning, center fielder Choi Hyung-woo and Socrates hit RBI singles against KT starter Ko Young-pyo to score two runs for KIA. Lee took the mound in the bottom of the inning and walked KT leadoff hitter Kim Min-hyuk, but retired the next two batters, Choi Jae-dae and Hwang Jae-gyun, on strikes. The problem was the pitch count. Lee threw 19 pitches while facing three batters. There was a dizzying scene in the second inning.
KT’s Jang Jang-woo hit a ball straight at the mound that hit Lee hard on his left foot. After being hit, Lee tried to make a bare-handed catch and throw to first base to beat the final count. The ball, which he threw in pain, hit Jang Jang-woo’s body and went behind him.
Coach Seo Jae-heng rushed over with a trainer to Lee Yi-ri, the starting pitcher who was hit by a pitch in the first inning. Luckily, it wasn’t a serious injury. As Lee stretched his leg through the pain, he reassured Coach Seo with a smile.
Unintentionally, KT’s Jang Jang-woo, who was on first base when he was hit by the pitch, asked if he was okay. Lee felt his senior’s concern and signaled that he had no problem throwing.
Despite being hit by a pitch in the first inning, Lee struck out the final batter, Moon Sang-chul, with an eight-pitch strikeout. Lee threw 32 pitches in the first inning alone. With his injured leg and high pitch count, it was unclear if Lee would be able to pitch until the fifth inning.안전놀이터
But after giving up back-to-back singles in the second and third innings, Lee didn’t allow a hit, ending the fourth inning with a triple play.
The fifth inning was the problem. Lee got Jang Jun-won and Lee Sang-ho to fly out to center field for two quick outs. Two batters later, the same dizzying scene occurred as in the first inning. Kim Min-hyuk hit a well-hit ball right at the pitcher. Lee lowered his glove to block the pitch, but the ball was too fast. It was hit to his left shin and headed toward first baseman Choi Won-jun, but the pinch runner, Kim Min-hyuk, got on base first.
Lee, who was hit by a hard hit twice in the same game on the same leg, smiled through the pain in a way that even he couldn’t believe. Coach Seo Jae-ng rushed out in surprise. When Lee made eye contact with Seo, who approached to inquire about his condition, he smiled and gestured that he was fine.
Luckily, Lee escaped injury, and after striking out the final batter, Hwang Jae-gyun, Lee had the winning pitch. Lee pitched five innings of three-hit, two-run ball, striking out eight and walking none, led by his fastball, which reached 151 kilometers per hour, to record his seventh win of the season, his first in 28 days.
After being hit twice by hard-hit balls in the same game, Lee turned the immense pain into laughter Lee turned the pain into laughter and led his team to its fourth straight win.