The real winner is Moon Kim-dae, the 23-year-old Hanwha fixer who ‘booked’ the No. 4 spot at the Asian Games.

The focus was on Moon-Kim vs. Moon, but there was a real winner.

On the 6th, KIA Champions Field in Gwangju. Hanwha’s Moon Dong-ju and Kia’s Kim Do-young faced off in the first-ever “Moon-Kim War”. Moon won the game, holding Kim to two hits and one walk. However, it didn’t matter much as the two teams tied 4-4. Moon Dong-joo was unable to pick up the win despite pitching 5⅓ innings and one earned run, while Kim Do-young contributed after Moon went down, going 1-for-2 with a walk and two stolen bases.

Meanwhile, the real winner was Hanwha’s No. 4 hitter, Noh Si-hwan. After drawing a walk in the first inning, Noh hit a game-tying solo shot off KIA’s Mario Sanchez in the fourth inning. It was a little too far up the middle, but Noh made good contact. The bat head didn’t break until the very end, making it a powerful hit.

Coach Choi Won-ho explained that his batting was a little off, but this season, Noh has definitely shown an upgrade in class. His changes and efforts to move his hitting point forward to focus on the long ball have paid off. Gone are the desperate, sloppy swings to avoid striking out.

This was his 23rd home run of the season. It widened the gap between him and second-place Choi (SSG, 20) to three and boosted his chances of winning his first home run title. The streak is quite significant as there hasn’t been a home run king in his early 20s recently.

Noh struck again in the fifth inning with a 2-1 lead. With one out, Sanchez was hit by a pitch and Kim Tae-yeon walked to load the bases. Sanchez’s changeup was well-timed, and Noh hit a run-scoring single to center field. The single knocked Sanchez out of the game.

After that, KIA pitchers virtually avoided going toe-to-toe with Noh. A walk in the seventh and a single to left off a slider by Jeon Sang-hyun in the ninth were followed by a walk in the 11th inning. His fastball, changeup, and command of his pitches all looked different from previous years. Noh’s six walks were his most in a single game. Previously, he had four five-hit games. On April 24, 2021 against LG Electronics in Daejeon, July 22, 2022 against KT in Daejeon, and April 14 against KT in Suwon.먹튀검증

Noh will also play in the Hangzhou Asian Games in late September. With Lee Jeong-hoo out and Kang Baek-ho also missing, he’s likely to be the go-to guy. Noh is not the only player who can bat fourth for the national team.

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