8 percent winning percentage in the second half (20-5). KT Baseball’s rebound from 10th to second place in 75 days shouldn’t have gone so well.
In the top of the 10th inning of a 4-4 tie, KT’s leadoff hitter Choi Jae-dae hit a double to left field and then stole third base when Kim Sang-soo came up to bat. He was almost caught at second base, but a split-second decision turned a mistake into a run.
KT’s Kim laid down a bunt, and the Hanwha duo of Park Sang-won and Choi Jae-hoon got the ball out with an outside slider on the first pitch. Hanwha shortstop Ha Ju-seok threw to second base. The play was to pick off the runner at second base, and the assignment was spot on. Catcher Choi Jae-hoon was waiting and quickly threw to second base.
If it was a normal runner, he would have been thrown out. However, the baseball changed the situation. Instead of running back to second base, he jumped to third base as soon as Choi threw. He made a head-first slide to third base and stole second.
With runners on second and third, Hanwha pitcher Park Sang-won was under pressure. He is a forkball pitcher, but with a runner on third base, the pressure to throw strikes increased. It became even more difficult when the next two pitches were foul balls. The next three pitches were all fastballs, and Kim Sang-soo drove one to center field for a three-run triple. The game-winning hit.
When KT manager Lee Kang-cheol met with the team before the game against Hanwha on the 20th, he said, “Jung-dae said, ‘Coach, you almost got in trouble.’ He was caught by the opposing defense, but Jung was one step above him. It was a situation where he was caught unconditionally, but he made a good judgment. That’s what happens when you play baseball,” he laughed.
Earlier, the two pinch-hitting efforts in the seventh inning were also exquisitely timed. Trailing 2-4 in the seventh, Kim Min-hyuk came to the plate and led off with a single to left, followed by Oh Yoon-seok’s double down the left-field line, and pinch-hitter Park Byung-ho’s RBI single to center tied the game at 4-4 with runners on second and third.안전놀이터
Manager Lee Kang-cheol said, “I saw that the seventh inning was the time for a pinch-hitter, so I prepared everything. At first, I wanted to use Park Byung-ho as a pinch hitter, but the hitting coach said to use Kim Min-hyuk first, so I did, and the result was good,” he said, giving credit to hitting coaches Kim Kang and Yoo Yu-joon.