“You have to go to the major leagues.”
NC outfielder Kim Seong-wook (30) shook off the sluggishness of the regular season and emerged as the solution to fall baseball.
Seongwook Kim came out as a pinch hitter in the top of the 8th inning in the first game of the semi-playoffs against SSG of the ‘2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO Postseason’ held at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on the 22nd and hit the final two-run gun.도메인
The two teams continued their tight game at 0-0 until the 7th inning. NC starting pitcher Shin Min-hyuk pitched 5⅔ innings without allowing any runs, and Kim Young-gyu, who came in as relief, also neutralized the SSG batting line by allowing 1⅓ innings without allowing any runs. For SSG, starting pitcher Roenis Elias showed perfect pitching until the 7th inning.
Elias was on the mound in the 8th inning as well. NC succeeded in reaching base as the lead hitter as Seo Ho-cheol’s strong bat led to an infield hit toward the shortstop. The NC bench ordered Kim Hyeong-jun to send out a bunt, but Elias, who caught Kim Hyeong-jun’s bunt, did not hesitate and threw it to second base, causing the leading runner, Seo Ho-cheol, to get a force out, turning the no-out first base situation into a one out, first base situation.
Then, NC made a game-winning move by sending right-handed hitter Kim Seong-wook to the plate instead of left-handed hitter Oh Young-soo. Kim Seong-wook swung the bat coolly from the first pitch. Kim Seong-wook’s batted ball, which hit Elias’ 139km changeup on the first pitch, went over the left-center wall and resulted in a two-run home run.
NC, which scored two valuable points, allowed only one run and made a save in the bottom of the 8th inning with one out and 2nd and 3rd base on base, and was able to secure the victory by adding 2 more runs in the top of the 9th inning, including Jason Martin’s timely hit to the right. In the bottom of the 9th inning, closing pitcher Lee Yong-chan hit a 2-run home run to the left of Ha Jae-hoon, and NC was trailed by 4-3 by 1 run, but eventually held on to a 1-run lead and ended the game.
Kim Seong-wook, who was selected as the Daily MVP of the first game of the semi-playoffs even after only one at-bat that day, received a prize of 1 million won. Kim Seong-wook, who appeared in 93 games in the regular season with a batting average of .223, 6 home runs, 16 RBI, and 6 stolen bases, was able to shake off his poor performance in the regular season by hitting a decisive blow on this day.
After the game, Kim Seong-wook said about the situation in which he went out as a pinch hitter and hit a home run, “There was no specific order from the bench. All they said was, ‘Always be prepared to go out as a pinch hitter in the back.’ When the sign came to go out to the plate, I went in with confidence. These days. “I paid a lot of attention to my mentality, and I thought, ‘I can hit no matter what,’ and that led to good results,” he said.
Did you know it was a home run from the moment it hit? Kim Seong-wook, who said, “At first I didn’t think it was a home run,” said, “I ran with the thought, ‘Please let it go,’ but as I entered the dugout, I remembered the home run I hit in the past postseason.”
Kim Seong-wook shows a particularly strong side against foreign pitchers. On this day, he also hit a home run against Elias in the game, and in 2016, he hit a home run in succession against Josh Lindblom, who played for Lotte. In the playoffs against LG held that year, he even hit a home run against David Huff.
Kim Seong-wook, who laughed and said, “My brothers jokingly said, ‘You are not suited for Korea. You should go to the major leagues,'” said of the pressure of competing in a big game called the postseason, “I don’t think there is any pressure. I am doing it with a feeling of excitement.” He said.
Kim Seong-wook said, “The regular season is already over and now it is the post-season, so it is my job to prepare well so that I can perform like today no matter when I go out.” Kim Seong-wook said, “I feel good because I advanced to the post-season as soon as I returned to the team after serving in the military.” “It’s good and I feel like I’m a symbol of good luck. I will continue to be of great help to the team,” he said with a smile.
Coincidentally, NC will face SSG starting pitcher Gwang-Hyun Kim in the second game of the semi-playoffs on the 23rd. Attention is being paid to whether Kim Seong-wook, who hit a home run against left-hander Elias, will get a chance to play as a starter. Kim Seong-wook is showing a strong performance against Kim Gwang-hyun with a career batting average of .385 (10 hits in 26 at-bats). This year, his batting average against Gwang-Hyun Kim reached .500 (3 hits in 6 at-bats). Regarding this, Kim Seong-wook said, “When I first faced him as a child, he was a big pitcher that I only saw on TV, so I thought, ‘It’s going to be fun,’ but as I played, I got hits and I think my confidence built up.”