“I had to somehow roll the ball to the ground whether I hit a bunt or not.”
The Pittsburgh local media, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, expressed regret over the play of Bae Ji-hwan (24, Pittsburgh Pirates). On the 21st (Korean time), Bae Ji-hwan started as a 7th hitter and second baseman in a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2023 Meyer League held at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, and recorded 1 hit in 4 at-bats. It was good until he continued his streak of hits in three consecutive games, but he left regrets in detailed play. Pittsburgh ended their two-game winning streak with a 3-4 come-from-behind loss.
Bae Ji-hwan scored a heavy hit in the second at-bat as the lead batter at the end of the 4th inning with a 3-1 lead. A situation that opened the way for an additional goal. Bae Ji-hwan dared to steal second base, but was blocked by opposing catcher Gabriel Moreno’s strong shoulder. He was the 5th stealer all season.
Bae Ji-hwan is tied for third overall in the majors with 14 stolen bases this season. Until April, he recorded only one stolen base while successfully stealing 11 times, and was acclaimed as a leading player in Pittsburgh’s track and field team.
Since May, however, his stealing percentage has plummeted. He recorded four stolen bases while stealing three times. It’s because his opponent’s check has become that much worse. Bae Ji-hwan naturally found it difficult to run boldly, and since his successful stealing of the 14th base of the season against the Toronto Blue Jays on the 6th, he has not been able to add a base steal for the 15th day.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said, ‘Pittsburgh missed another chance as Bae Ji-hwan went on base in the 4th inning with a hit by the lead batter, but failed to steal 4 times in a row (once as a checker). On the contrary, Pittsburgh allowed Arizona to steal three times, including one double steal, and provided an excuse for a come-from-behind loss in the 6th inning.”스포츠토토
The scene that was criticized more strongly than the failure to steal came from the last attack opportunity in the bottom of the 9th inning, when the score was 3-4. Leading hitter and pinch hitter Rodolfo Castro went on base with a walk, while Bae Ji-hwan stood at bat. It was important for Bae Ji-hwan to send Castro to second base somehow, but he struck out looking for a well-controlled sinker with a ball count of 2-2.
It wasn’t just Bae Ji-hwan’s problem. Afterwards, even Connor Joe and Jason Delay struck out on a swing and the game ended as it was. Castro was tied to first base until the end and couldn’t move forward. The media still voiced the most regret for Bae Ji-hwan, who was the first to grab the bat at first base safely.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said, “Bae Ji-hwan’s bunting or rolling the ball to the ground should have been automatic, at least to get Castro into scoring position.” Pittsburgh failed to call Jack Swinsky to base after a run in the bottom of the 8th inning with a double. Pittsburgh left the most disappointing scene in the last two innings of offense, and at least the scenario to create a tie was destroyed.