The hitter must have the intention to avoid the sand dune. If you run into a ball entering the strike zone and get hit, it is judged a strike, not a 4-ball.
Kiwoom’s newcomer Kim Dong-heon came out again with an ambiguous decision enough for the opposing team’s coach to come out to the ground and protest to the referee. It’s already the second.
Kim Dong-heon stood at the center of the 4-ball controversy in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League match against the Samsung Lions held at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on the 19th.
The situation was this. After one out in the 9th inning when Kiwoom was trailing 4-5, Kim Dong-heon came to bat. Kim Dong-heon moved his arm when Samsung Lee Seung-hyun’s 145km fastball on the third pitch came toward him, and was hit by an elbow protector. He can be seen as reacting to hit, but if you watch it in slow motion, you can see his elbow going down towards the ball. 안전놀이터
When the ball was judged to be a sand ball, head coach Park Jin-man and head coach Lee Byeong-gyu came out to the ground and protested to referee Choi Young-joo at the Samsung Dugout. In particular, catcher Kang Min-ho, who saw this right in front of him, protested strongly, saying that the batter had not avoided his elbow. However, the appeal was not accepted and the trial court was upheld.
However, the problem is that this is not the first time that Kim Dong-heon’s dune issue has occurred. There was a similar situation in the match against the KIA Tigers held at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on the 15th. After one out in the bottom of the 3rd inning, Kim Dong-heon was hit by an elbow protector from KIA Yoon Young-chul’s 137km body fastball. The moment he was hit by his elbow, Yoon Young-chul was taken aback by making a gesture that he had pushed his elbow in.
When the situation was ambiguous, referee Ham Ji-woong approached first base and discussed the decision with Na Kwang-nam, first base referee, and finally declared a four ball. Then, KIA coach Kim Jong-guk and head coach Jin Gap-yong came out to the ground and protested vehemently to referee Ham Ji-woong. Coach Kim Jong-kook protested for a long time, taking a batting stance and gestured that Kim Dong-heon had become a sand dune with an elbow. But the verdict was not overturned.
Both Samsung and KIA were in a similar situation. The opposing team’s coaches protested that Kim Dong-hun put his elbow on the ball on his side. At the time, coach Kim Jong-guk emphasized intentionality, saying, “Looking at the dugout, it seemed that the arm was deliberately inserted. The first day, the arm was inserted as well, and it was the same this time. It seemed intentional, so I protested to the referee.”
However, in both situations, it was a dune caused by a ball out of the strike zone. If you put your elbow on a ball going into the strike zone, it is highly likely that it would have been a strike, not a four ball.
Kim Dong-heon is a rookie who is expected by Kiwoom manager Hong Won-ki as a prospect from a youth representative catcher who was nominated by Kiwoom in the 12th overall in the second round last year. However, controversy arose again about the ball to the body.
It may be his own way to deal with the ball on the body, considering that he had a similar experience in the 18-year-old Baseball World Cup during his time at Chungam High School. A 4-ball is the same value as a hit if it is hit by a pitch without getting hurt.
Now, pitchers facing Kim Dong-heon will have to be careful with their bodies. Judging from his appearance so far, Kim Dong-hun is a player with a strong will to get on base even if he is hit by a ball rather than avoiding a ball to his body. Similar situations may arise in the future.