Last season’s champion SSG Landers is leaving the fall baseball stage without being able to use its strength properly. It’s an unexpected ending.
SSG, led by coach Won-hyung Kim, lost 6-7 in the third game of the semi-playoff against the NC Dinos in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League postseason held at Changwon NC Park on the 25th. SSG, who had suffered two consecutive losses by losing 3-4 in the first game and 3-7 in the second game, ended the postseason without being able to continue the game until the fourth game.
This was an unexpected result when looking at the game between the two teams at the end of the regular season. The games between NC and SSG, which had a particularly high number of cancellations, were scheduled after October and were closely contested. Coincidentally, NC and SSG faced each other 5 times, with 3 games in Munhak and 2 games in Changwon while they were in the midst of ranking competition.
Considering only these five games, it was a landslide victory for SSG. SSG, who swept all three games against NC in Munhak, also recorded 1 win and 1 loss in Changwon, taking the lead with 4 wins and 1 loss. In addition, NC, which had an advantage in 3rd place in early October, continued to falter, and on the contrary, SSG, which had a nightmare month by recording the lowest performance in September, started to rise in October and eventually reached the final game of the regular season, finishing 3rd place for SSG. Above, NC’s 4th place was decided.
SSG went straight to the semi-playoffs, and NC, which was expected to have a difficult time winning the wild card game due to poor performance at the end of the regular season and an injury to ace Eric Peddy, met SSG again after defeating the Doosan Bears in a single game. This time too, SSG was expected to have a greater chance of advancing to the playoffs.
However, SSG was offbeat from the start. Roenis Elias, who started as a starting pitcher, pitched well, allowing 2 runs in 8 innings, but the batting line did not fire. Facing NC Shin Min-hyuk, SSG had a chance in the bottom of the third inning with consecutive hits by Ji-hoon Choi and Seong-hyun Kim and a sacrifice bunt by Min-sik Kim with one out and runners on second and third base, but failed to score. In the bottom of the 4th inning, consecutive hits by Choi Jeong and Guillermo Heredia resulted in runners on first and second base with no outs, but all three batters were then retired by fly balls.
In the end, the tight game was suddenly tilted by pinch hitter Kim Seong-wook’s two-run shot, and the bullpen gave up two runs, further disrupting the game. SSG only made a one-point difference late, but eventually failed to turn the tables and lost the first game to NC. After completing the semi-playoffs, coach Kim Won-hyung said, “There were many opportunities to score first in the first game, but I think that was the most disappointing part.”
The second game wasn’t the same either. Kim Gwang-hyun, the trusted starting pitcher, was shaken as he gave up 3 runs in the top of the first inning, and after giving up 1 run in the top of the 2nd inning, he retired early after allowing 4 runs in 3 innings. There was even an issue with the callus on his left thumb opening. SSG caught up with Hanyu Seom’s consecutive home runs, but it wasn’t enough on his own. Moon Seung-won, who took over the mound from Kim Gwang-hyun and fought back, pitched 4 good innings and gave up 3 runs in the last minute, giving the team another chance to win.
There was a dark cloud in Game 3 as starter Oh Won-seok gave up 3 runs to start the game, but Choi Jeong’s grand slam in the top of the 2nd inning turned the score around, and it seemed to be different from the previous two games. It was the first time that SSG took the lead in this semi-playoff.
But that lead didn’t last long. The SSG bench removed Oh Won-seok in the bottom of the second inning and threw Noh Kyung-eun, a sure-to-be winner, into the game, but Noh Kyung-eun, who took the mound in a critical situation, gave Park Geon-woo a timely hit and allowed Jason Martin to hit a come-from-behind three-run, putting NC ahead again. SSG added one more run in the top of the 4th inning through Choi Jeong’s walk and Hanyu Seom’s double, but that was all. We didn’t give up more points, but we also didn’t give up more points.
Just like Hanyu Seom’s multiple home run in Game 2, Choi Jeong’s grand slam was not enough. SSG’s RBIs in the three semi-playoff games were limited to 5 RBIs by Choi Jeong, 4 RBIs by Han Yu-seom, and 2 RBIs and 1 RBI by Ha Jae-hoon and Heredia, respectively.
After the game, manager Kim Won-hyung reflected, “Choi Jeong set the tone with a grand slam, but he hit a home run right away in the next inning. Still, the pitchers managed to block it and bring it to the end, but I think they lacked the power.” SSG finished last year with a championship, but this year, they ended the fall baseball season lonely as a supporting player.스포츠토토
Coach Kim said, “I only remembered the good things we did when we entered the Korean Series for the first time last fall, but I also experienced the bitter taste of defeat for the first time as a coach. Now, we have to prepare for the finishing camp. Next year, we will show this disappointment in a good way.” “I will prepare well for the next season,” he promised.