Professional baseball’s KT Wiz is going for its second Korean Series title in two years.
KT beat the NC Dinos 3-2 in the fifth and final game of the KBO Playoffs (PO) at Katie Wiz Park in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, on Friday to punch their ticket to Jamsil with a 3-2 series victory.
KT, which was in a precarious position after losing Games 1 and 2 of the PO, showed its prowess by winning three straight games to advance to the Korean Series.
KT is only the third team in history to advance to the Korean Series with three straight wins after losing two games in the best-of-five PO, following the Hyundai Unicorns in 1996 and the SK Wyverns (now SSG Landers) in 2009.
KT will face the LG Twins, who finished first in the regular season and reached the Korean Series for the first time in 29 years, in the best-of-seven best-of-five series starting on Sunday.
After winning the combined regular season-Korean Series title in 2021, KT will be looking to return to the top for the first time in two years, while LG will be looking for its third title in 29 years and first since 1994.
Game 1 between the two teams will take place on 7 July at 6.30pm at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul.
NC, which entered the postseason in fourth place in the regular season, breezed through the wild-card decider (Doosan), semi-finals (SSG) and then the PO with two straight wins to clinch the Korean Series before losing three straight games to end its quest for the title.
NC (9th) and KT (10th), the youngest teams in the KBO to meet in the postseason for the first time, started the PO with two wins apiece and then played a nail-biter in the final game.
NC took the lead first thanks to back-to-back errors by KT shortstop Kim Sang-soo.
With the bases loaded in the top of the third inning, Kim Sang-soo rushed forward to catch Kim Hyung-joon’s grounder, but couldn’t get it in his glove and let it fly out to the outfield.
In the bottom of the inning, he failed to get a good read on Kim Joo-won’s slow grounder and sent another ball behind the plate.
NC scored the first run of the inning on Seo Ho-cheol’s sacrifice fly to centre field after Son Ah-seop’s single to left.
NC took a 2-0 lead in the top of the fifth when Kim Hyung-jun hit a double to the right field fence and Kim Joo-won drew a walk to load the bases.
KT, which had sent 13 batters to the plate from the start of the game until the top of the fifth inning without getting a hit or a walk off NC’s Shin Min-hyuk, turned the tide with a single by Jang Jang-woo in the fifth inning.
Jang Jang-woo broke Shin Min-hyuk’s perfect streak with a double that landed in the top of the first inning, causing cheers to erupt from the KT dugout at first base.
Moon Sang-chul followed with a single to left to put runners on first and third.
KT manager Lee Kang-cheol brought in left-hander Kim Min-hyuk, who was out of the starting lineup with a sore thigh, to bat seventh in place of Oh Yoon-seok.
On a three-ball, two-strike at-bat, Kim Min-hyuk took a blunt pitch that landed just inside the first-base line for a two-run double to tie the game.
Shin Min-hyuk, who had a 16⅓-inning scoreless streak that included the semi-finals (5⅔ innings), the second round of the playoffs (6⅓ innings) and a one-out walk in the fifth inning, gave up the tying run and handed the baton to left-hander Kim Young-gyu.
After regaining the lead, KT scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the sixth.
Kim Sang-soo led off with a single to right and Hwang Jae-gyun followed with a single to right off NC’s third pitcher, Ryu Jin-wook.
Anthony Alford followed with a walk, and with the bases loaded, Park Byung-ho singled to shortstop to bring home Kim Sang-soo.
KT used its strong bullpen to consolidate the one-run lead.
With the bases loaded in the sixth inning, Son Dong-hyun, who had pitched twice after starter Wes Benjamin, pitched two strong innings of scoreless relief, while Park Young-hyun took the mound in the eighth and retired NC’s No. 3-5 hitters Park Min-woo, Park Gun-woo, and Kwon Hee-dong with a grounder to second base, a fly ball to right field, and a strikeout, respectively.
Closer Kim Jae-yoon pitched the ninth inning and retired the next three batters to end the playoffs.
KT’s Son Dong-hyun, who appeared in all five PO games and pitched seven innings with an outstanding performance of 1 win, 1 no-hitter and 0 ERA, was voted the PO Most Valuable Player (MVP) by the Baseball Writers’ Association, receiving 39 out of 71 votes (55 per cent of the vote) and a cash prize of 3 million won. 바카라사이트