I didn’t even realize my knees were bleeding, because I was desperate to end my five-game losing streak. It was a bloody effort by Samsung’s short infielder Kim Ji-chan (22).

Starting at first base in the ninth game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League against KT at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on April 18, Kim went 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs, one walk and one run scored to help the team snap a five-game losing streak.

After a walk in the first inning and a fielder’s choice in the third, Kim came up to bat in the bottom of the fifth inning, trailing 1-2, and hit a single to left off KT’s Uhm Sang-baek to put runners on first and third. He then stole second base and advanced to third on Jose Pirela’s single up the middle with the game tied at 2-2, scoring the game-winning run.

The icing on the cake came in the fourth inning. With the score tied at 5-5 in the sixth, Lee Jae-hyun led off with a double and pinch-hitter Kim Dong-yeop flied out to center field. Kim Ji-chan stepped up to the plate and lined a single up the middle to give Son Dong-hyun a 6-5 lead. It was the final hit of the game.

Samsung’s Kim Ji-chan / OSEN DB

Kim didn’t stop there. In the eighth inning, with the score still 6-5, Kim came to the plate and hit an infield single to drive in the winning run. Under pressure from the entire infield, he calmly sent a grounder to the shortstop, where shortstop Hwang Jae-gyun chose first base instead of home, allowing Kim to score from third.안전놀이터

“We didn’t have a win this week, and today was our last game, so I really wanted to win. I think we won because everyone played well, not just me,” said Kim Ji-chan after the game. “This week felt a little long, and (Oh) Jae-il and (Kang) Min-ho, who briefly took over for his brother, tried to make the atmosphere better, and the younger players saw that and fought harder. It was easy on the mind,” he said after the win.

With a five-game losing streak, the team’s mindset was different than usual. “There’s always pressure when you play a game like this, but we were on a losing streak, so I was eager to win,” Kim said. “I apologized to the team for my mistakes during the losing streak. I felt sorry for the team because I made mistakes during the losing streak, and I was sorry that we didn’t win despite having a lot of fans coming to watch us play.”

Samsung’s Kim Ji-chan / OSEN DB

Coach Park Jin-man and his grandson stabilized the young Kim’s mentality. “If I make a defensive mistake, my grandfather tells me it’s okay,” Kim said. “Today (Aug. 18), the coach told me and (Lee) Jae-hyun a good story before the game. He told me that it’s okay to make mistakes on the baseball field, so I shouldn’t let it bother me, and I was able to play with a little more confidence because he said that.”

Born in 2001, Kim Ji-chan is Samsung’s youngest player, but as soon as he puts on an infield glove, he becomes the leader of the infield, leading rookies like Lee Jae-hyun and Kim Young-woong. What are the challenges of leading players younger than him at such a young age?

“When the juniors make mistakes, I tell them that it’s okay because anyone can make mistakes. Even players who are good at defense make mistakes, so I tell them to forget about it quickly.” “But it depends on their ability. It’s a matter of acceptance. Until a few years ago, (Kim) Sang-soo and (Lee) Won-seok took care of me. Now it’s time for me to take care of them, but they’re so good that I don’t worry about it,” he smiles.

Samsung’s Kim Ji-chan / OSEN DB

Kim Ji-chan injured his left knee during the match, and the knee of his pants was soaked with blood. When we asked him about it, he shrugged it off, saying, “I think it’s because I stole a base and bled, but in fact, my flesh was weakened because I kept getting cut in that area.”

It was a bloody battle, and he didn’t seem to feel any pain. In the end, the abrasion on his knee didn’t stop him from sprinting to victory, as Samsung snapped a five-game losing streak.

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