Park Young-hyun and Kim Jae-yoon aren’t the only ones in the KT Wiz bullpen.
While Park Young-hyun and Kim Jae-yoon were responsible for the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, Son Dong-hyun (22), who appeared in 64 regular-season games and collected eight wins, 15 holds and one save, was the man who came in before them to clean up the mess.
Son Dong-hyun, who did a lot of hard work as a “bullpen supporting cast member” in the regular season, stood out as a protagonist in his first autumn baseball appearance.
Son entered the game with the bases loaded in the top of the sixth inning of a 2-2 tie in the best-of-five playoff series against the NC Dinos at Katie Weeds Park in Suwon on the 5th.
Starter Wes Benjamin walked Kwon Hee-dong after throwing just one pitch, and Son Dong-hyun laid down a sacrifice bunt to put runners on first and second.
With just one hit away from a run, Son pumped his fist in the air as he struck out Jason Martin in the outfield and Young-soo Oh in the infield.
Even though KT scored a run in the bottom of the sixth to make it 3-2, it was Son’s turn on the mound in the top of the seventh.
Son gave up a double to Son Ah-seob two batters later, but he got Seo Ho-cheol to fly out for the sixth out of Game 5 of the PO.
In the end, KT came back to win 3-2 to punch their ticket to the Korean Series with a reverse sweep, meaning three straight wins after two losses, and Son Dong-hyun was the winning pitcher in Game 5.
In the PO, Son appeared in all five games without missing a beat.
He pitched a total of seven innings, allowing four hits, no walks and no runs.
Combined with his Game 4 hold and the win, he finished with a 5-1 record and a 0.00 ERA in five games.
After the series, Son was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the series, receiving 39 of the 71 votes cast by the journalists, ahead of Choi Jae-dae (17), William Cuevas, Park Young-hyun (5+), Kim Min-hyuk (3), and Jang Jang-woo (2).
The prize is worth 3 million won.
Son has earned the nickname “Strong Hearted Player” for his performance in the autumn baseball season, which is more physically and mentally demanding than the regular season.
This PO is his first autumn baseball.
In 2019, his rookie year, the team failed to qualify for the postseason, and 2020 was unimpressive.
In 2021, when KT won its first integrated championship, and last year, he served in the Armed Forces Athletic Corps (Commerce).
After the game, Son Dong-hyun said, “I’m happy that the team turned it around with a reverse sweep in a crunch situation. Even though I pitched the entire game, I didn’t feel tired. I feel like I helped the team win a little bit,” he smiled.
“When I lost the first two games, my arm was sore the next day, but when we won, there was no such thing and I just wanted to keep going,” he said of the adrenaline rush.
“In the season, I had some bad pitches if I threw more than one inning. When I came to autumn baseball, I didn’t care about anything and didn’t feel any pain,” he added.
After the series, KT manager Lee Kang-cheol said, “I didn’t think Son Dong-hyun would be this good, but I think the vacancy of Park Young-hyun at the end of the season helped him. I could see his pitching from the first game. He did a great job.”
Son Dong-hyun took over as the team’s set-up man after Park Young-hyun was called up for the Hangzhou Asian Games at the end of the season.
“I felt that I was well prepared for the postseason,” he said, adding that his experience filling in for Park helped him to achieve good results thanks to his confidence.
Just as left-handed bullpen pitcher Kim Young-kyu, who pitched every game for NC in the semi-finals, won the series MVP award, the bullpen was the star of the show in the PO.
When he said, “I wasn’t thinking about the series MVP at all,” his teammate Kim Min-hyuk booed him, but Son Dong-hyun stood firm and said, “I just wanted to win. Yesterday, the day before the match, I was so nervous that I couldn’t sleep.”
After dominating the PO, Son will now head to Jamsil Stadium in Seoul, where the LG Twins are waiting.
“It feels like a dream to win the PO now. I don’t know what the Korean Series will be like until I get there, but I’m looking forward to it because we have a great team atmosphere,” he laughed. 토토사이트