“They said I was going to throw 100 pitches…”.
Kia Tigers substitute outfielder Thomas Pannoni pitched a complete game to earn his first win. Pannoni started the game against the Lotte Giants at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field on Tuesday and pitched 6⅔ innings, allowing one run on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts. He earned his first win in three games, leading the team to a 6-3 victory.
Pitched effectively, not allowing a leadoff batter to reach base until the sixth inning. Twice he was in trouble. In the second inning, he faced back-to-back singles but did not allow a runner to score. In the sixth inning, he gave up a run on a throwing error by the shortstop and walked Jeon Jun-woo with runners on second and third. He got Noh Jin-hyuk to fly out to shortstop to end the threat. He was backed up by Park Chan-ho.
He took the mound again in the seventh and gave up a double to Kim Min-seok, the first batter, over the third baseman’s head. It was a precarious situation with three runs. One out later, he walked Gudrum and struck out Park Seung-wook on a wild pitch. Im Ki-young, who followed Batong, got Yoon Dong-hee to fly out to right field to complete the no-hitter.
Panoni pitched five scoreless innings against the Changwon NC on May 25. He came back from a 3-0 deficit to earn his first win after the bullpen gave up a late run. He came back on four days’ rest and threw 98 pitches to squeak out the win. He used a 145-mph fastball, curveball, and changeup, led by a 142-mph cutter (47 pitches), for the no-hitter.
When asked after the game about his first win, he said, “It feels good to stick to the game plan. I’m even happier that the team got the sweep. It was a long first inning, but after that, it was about taking it pitch by pitch. With fewer pitches, I was able to get into a rhythm and get through it easily, which is encouraging. The first pitch went in well and the batsmen kept me in check,” he said.
He also shared a story about how he was confident of completing 100 pitches on his fourth day of pitching, but failed. “When I came to Korea, I had to rebuild my body. I pitched the first game and managed my pitch count from the second game. I can definitely throw 100 pitches. I told coach Seo Jae-ng today that I would finish nine innings with 100 pitches, but I couldn’t,” he laughed.
He also expressed his commitment to fall baseball, referring back to last year’s Bulldogs. “I fight like a bulldog on the mound,” he said when he joined the team as a substitute last year. 안전놀이터 “It’s important for the team to win. I want to be a bulldog on the mound, shutting down opponents and giving us more chances to win. If we win as many games as possible, we will slowly move up the standings. Hopefully, I’ll have the opportunity to play until the fall like I did last year.”