“It was an amazing game”
It was a debut like a dream. Even the head coach couldn’t help but be impressed. He had a tough time in the rookie draft, but he seized the opportunity to make his professional debut as a foster player.
Infielder Bae Young-bin (23), who joined Lotte as a developmental player this year after playing for Seoul High and Hongik University, finally realized his dream of making his first-team debut and had an unforgettable debut.
Bae Young-bin started at shortstop in the ninth inning against Kiwoom in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on April 20. It was his first first-team appearance since his professional debut.
His first at-bat went badly. In the top of the second inning, with runners on first and second, Bae Young-bin set up for a bunt and switched to a hard hit to right field. It gave the team a chance to score the winning run. Oh Sang-won’s 138-kilometer fastball was thrown high and wide. Lotte was able to score two runs on Lee Jung-hoon’s double to right-center field.
In the top of the fourth inning, Bae Young-bin, who batted leadoff and worked a full count, hit a 148-kilometer fastball from Ha Young-min for a one-out double to the left field fence. It was impressive to see him catch a pitch that was pitched toward his body, which also led to a run. Ahn Kwon-soo’s pitcher’s sacrifice bunt moved him to third base, and Kim Min-seok’s sacrifice fly to center field brought him home.
Bae Young-bin, who grounded out to the second baseman with runners on first and second in the top of the fifth, came back to the plate with two outs in the top of the eighth and faced left-hander Kim Jae-woong. He tried to bunt the first pitch, but it was fouled off. With runners on 2B and 2S, Bae took advantage of Kim’s 131-kilometer changeup for a single to left. This time, the ball was just outside the zone. With runners on first and third and nobody out, LOTTE was able to tie the game at 6-6 when Jeon Jun-woo hit a grounder to shortstop that scored Ko Seung-min from third.
Although Lotte lost the game 6-7, it was a meaningful game for the team as they discovered a new resource in Bae Young-bin.
Lotte manager Larry Sutton was pleased with Bae’s performance in his professional debut. “I’ve spent a lot of time on the baseball field as a player, coach, and now manager. I always see young players making their debut. Every time I see a player like that, I’m really proud and happy for them,” Sutton said. “Obviously, he’s worked hard since he was a kid to get to the first team and he’s worked hard, so it’s a dream come true. But it’s not the last step. There are a lot of games to come.” 스포츠토토
Usually, players making their professional debut are nervous and lose their pace, but this was not the case for Bae. “He was playing his first game in a new and unfamiliar environment, in a dome stadium, with a lot of fans cheering him on,” Sutton said. “He went above and beyond his role as the game got closer and closer. It was a very proud moment for me as a coach,” he said.
Lotte fans were also unfamiliar with Bae Young-bin’s name at first.