(MHN Sports Reporter Lee Kyu-won) The Korea Baseball Organization’s 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League, which was initially ranked as one of the “three strongest and four weakest,” is showing signs of cracks as it enters June with a number of winning and losing teams.
As of June 8, the midseason standings showed the SSG Landers (35 wins, 1 tie, 18 losses, 0.660 winning percentage) in first place with a three-game winning streak and a 2.5-game lead over the second-place LG Twins (33 wins, 2 ties, 21 losses, 0.611). The Lotte Giants (29 wins, 22 losses, 0.569) have lost four in a row and are five games behind first-place SSG and 2.5 games behind second-place LG.
The fourth-place NC Dinos (28-24, 0.538) have won two in a row and the fifth-place Doosan Bears (27-1, 0.529) have won three in a row.
The sixth-place KIA Tigers (23-27, 0.460) dropped their third straight one-run loss to first-place SSG to fall 3.5 games behind fifth-place Doosan, while the seventh-place Samsung Lions (23-30, 0.434) have lost two straight.
The bottom of the standings is also in flux. KT WIZ (21 W, 2 T, 30 L), once a winless eighth through tenth place, is on a season-high five-game winning streak to move into the mid-table, while the ninth-place Kiwoom Heroes (23 W, 1 T, 33 L, 0.411) are within striking distance of the familiar last-place Hanwha Eagles (19 W, 3 T, 32 L, 0.373).
In baseball on Aug. 8, the KT Wiz defeated the Lotte Giants in a 12-inning thriller to extend their winning streak to a team-high five games this season.
KT defeated Lotte 7-6 in the visiting Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Sajik Stadium in Busan on Aug. 8.
KT, which finished the previous week in last place (10th), moved up to sole possession of eighth place with its winning streak. Lotte, on the other hand, has lost four straight games.
Tied 6-6 in the top of the 12th inning, KT loaded the bases on a double to right-center by Choi Ji-dae, a walk to Kim Sang-soo and a hit by pitch to Ahn Chi-young.
Lee Sang-ho, who had walked in the top of the ninth, stepped up to the plate. Lee tried to squeeze bunt a three-pitch fastball from LOTTE right-handed reliever Yoon Myung-jun.
LOTTE first baseman Jeong Hoon rushed out and caught the ball on one-bound, but was unable to throw home and only tagged the batter, Lee Sang-ho.
It was the final run of the game.
Lee, who joined KT after being released by the LG Twins after the 2022 season, capped off his first hit in 53 days with a thrilling RBI single against the Hanwha Eagles on April 16.
Lee, who began his professional career in 2019, came on in the bottom of the 11th inning and pitched a scoreless inning to earn his first win in the first team.
Park Young-hyun pitched one hitless inning in the bottom of the 12th to earn his first save.
SSG’s Kim Min-sik hits a tiebreaking solo shot over the right field wall off KIA’s Choi Ji-min.
The SSG Landers continued their dominance in their three-game series against Gwangju with a one-run victory.
SSG defeated the KIA Tigers 5-4 on the first day.
Following a 2-1 win on the 6th and a 9-8 victory on the 7th, they held on for a one-run win on the 8th.
After taking a 3-0 lead, SSG fell behind 3-4 in the bottom of the second inning when starter Park Jong-hoon committed a self-inflicted walk.
However, the bullpen of Song Young-jin (2 innings) and Choi Min-jun (2 innings), who were activated from the fifth inning, held on without giving up any additional runs.
The game changed in the top of the seventh inning.
SSG leadoff hitter Kim Min-sik took a fastball from KIA’s Choi Ji-min and hit a tying solo arch over the right field wall.
One inning later, Choi Ji-hoon continued his momentum by reaching on a throwing error by the KIA shortstop and stealing second base.
A wild pitch by Choi Ji-min advanced him to third, and Choi Jung-jeong’s sacrifice fly to left field put SSG back on top.
In the bottom of the ninth inning with a 4-3 lead, SSG brought in Moon Seung-won in place of Seo Jin-yong, who had been given the day off.
Moon put runners on first and second, but he got Choi Jung-yong to ground out to shortstop and Park Chan-ho to fly out to right field to end the game.
Doosan’s Alcantara strikes out 10 in 8 innings to extend winning streak to seven games against Hanwha
The Doosan Bears defeated the Hanwha Eagles, 2-1, to sweep a three-game midweek series behind Raul Alcantara.
Alcantara pitched a complete-game, eight-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts to extend Doosan’s winning streak to seven games against Hanwha.
Hanwha had the bases loaded in the 안전놀이터 top of the ninth off Doosan reliever Hong Gun-hee as Kim Tae-yeon, Moon Hyun-bin, and Jung Eun-won hit consecutive singles.
Doosan manager Lee Seung-yeop quickly sent Park Chi-guk to the mound.
Park got the first batter, Noh Si-hwan, to pop out to shortstop. It was the best possible outcome for Doosan, trading one run for two outs.
With two outs and a runner on third, Park struck out Chae Eun-sung on a fly ball to left field to preserve the win.
20-hit Kiwoom sweeps LG…Lee Jung-hoo becomes 3rd youngest player to reach 500 career hits
The Kiwoom Heroes pounded out 20 hits in their hometown of Gochuk and swept the LG Twins 13-0.
Lee Jung-hoo (Kiwoom), who is reclaiming his title as last year’s regular-season Most Valuable Player after an early-season slump, became the 110th player in the KBO to reach 500 career hits.
Lee is the third-youngest player (24 years, 8 months, 14 days) to reach 500 hits after Lee Seung-yeop (23 years, 8 months, 1 day) and Kim Ha-seong (24 years, 8 months, 14 days).
NC’s Choi Sung-young defeats Samsung’s Hwang Dong-jae in an alternate starting match.
In Daegu, the NC Dinos defeated the Samsung Lions 7-1 in a matchup of alternate starters.
Choi Sung-young (NC), who entered the starting rotation in place of Koo Chang-mo, who was sidelined with a flexor muscle injury between his elbow and wrist, pitched five innings, allowing one run on seven hits.
Meanwhile, Hwang Dong-jae, who started in place of David Buchanan, who was rested due to a sore back of his right hand, gave up five runs (four earned) on six hits, including two home runs, in 5⅔ innings.
Trailing 1-0 in the second inning with runners on first and second after two walks, NC Ahn Jung-yeol hit an RBI double to left field.
Samsung’s left fielder Kim Dong-yeop fumbled the ball, allowing another run to come home and give NC a 2-1 lead.
NC answered with a run in the top of the fourth on Jason Martin’s bases-loaded double.
With the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the sixth, Ahn Jung-yeol took advantage of a slider from Hwang Dong-jae and smashed a wedge solo shot over the left field wall.