‘Runaway locomotive’ Hwang Sung-bin (27, Lotte Giants) rocked the LG Twins.

Hwang Sung-bin started at second base and went 2-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored against the LG Twins in the 2024 Shinhan Thall Bank KBO League at Jamsil Stadium on Monday.

Led by Hwang’s constant presence at the plate and in the field, Lotte defeated LG 9-2 to snap an eight-game losing streak.

“We always played a game where we scored first and then it was over, so I think it was a good thing that I focused more on getting on base early on,” Hwang laughed after the game.

Hwang was on fire from his first at-bat.

In the top of the first inning, Hwang took advantage of a changeup from starter Casey Kelly for a single to right and stole second base on Victor Reyes’ next at-bat.

He then didn’t hesitate to run on Reyes’ infield hit to the second baseman. Shin Min-jae, the second baseman who caught the ball, opted to throw to third, but Hwang was quicker than him, rounding third and sprinting home.

With his unexpected “runaway”, Hwang was safe at home and scored the go-ahead run.

“I ran when I saw the sign of (first base coach) Ko Young-min,” Hwang said, “Honestly, I didn’t even know if the opposing second baseman caught the ball. I just ran when I saw the sign. It was a goal that Coach Ko made for me.”

With two outs in the top of the third inning, he lined a single to right field.

Kelly threw a hard throw to first base to catch Hwang Sung-bin at the plate with a big lead. The throw was supposed to be an out, but the throw slipped and allowed Hwang to advance to second base.

After being hit by a pitch with runners on first and third in the fifth inning with the score tied at 2-2, Hwang Sung-bin reached base on an error in the seventh inning with the bases loaded and the score tied at 3-2. LG reliever Kim Yoo-young hit a grounder to shortstop Oh Ji-hwan, who rushed to make the catch as if he was aware of the speedy Hwang Sung-bin.

Lotte continued to capitalize on its chances. With runners on first and third, Victor Reyes hit a ground ball.

Shin Min-jae, who caught the ball, stepped on second base and tried to throw to first base, but was unable to throw the ball as he collided with first baseman Hwang Sung-bin, who was sliding to second base. In the end, both the runner and the first baseman survived, and Yoon Dong-hee, the third baseman, came home to score another run.

Lotte took advantage of the next two bases-loaded chances and scored five more runs in the seventh inning to put the game out of reach.

Hwang Sung-bin’s unselfish and motivated play has also landed 스포츠토토 him in the center of controversy.

After singling up the middle in the fifth inning of a game against the KIA Tigers on March 26, Hwang made several motions to go to second base while looking at KIA pitcher Yang Hyun-jong. Yang Hyeon-jong was uncomfortable, and it was pointed out that Hwang Sung-bin was overstimulating the pitcher.

Hwang also got into a nervous battle with Kelly, the opposing starter.

In the second at-bat of the third inning, Hwang hit a foul ball and ran to first base before slowly returning to the batter’s box. Kelly, who looked disgruntled at this point, angrily shouted a few words at Hwang at the end of the inning.

This sparked a bench-clearing incident as players from both teams spilled onto the field. Fortunately, the clash between the two teams didn’t escalate.

Hwang Sung-bin is not unaware of his “lowly” image. “I don’t think there’s a single person who looks at me and thinks I don’t work hard. I think the other team is uncomfortable with the image of hard work,” he said.

Being a player who makes his opponents “uncomfortable” means that he’s doing a good job of harassing them. Hwang is cautious about the stories surrounding him, saying, “I try not to think about it because if I do, I won’t be able to do what I’ve prepared for. The seniors on the team are also very supportive, saying that it’s good to play the kind of baseball you want to play.”

With the team in the midst of a long losing streak, Hwang was given the opportunity to start unexpectedly, and he became one of the main contributors to the team’s comeback by playing his own baseball.

“Honestly, no one wants to be a backup in baseball. This year, I started as a backup, and hitting coaches Kim Joo-chan and Lim Hoon gave me a lot of advice, saying, ‘You can go out at any time, so don’t give up hope.’ They helped me a lot, so I was able to get on base today,” he said.

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