With five championship rings to his name,메이저사이트 the fifth title was too perfect to pass up, even for Kim Kwang-hyun (35-SSG Landers). Kwang-hyun had been struggling until September, but heroes come when teams are struggling.
On Sunday, Kim started the final game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League season against the Doosan Bears at SSG Landers Field in Incheon and threw 81 pitches over six innings, giving up three hits, two walks and four strikeouts in a 5-0 victory.
A direct trip to the semi-playoffs was not guaranteed. Desperate for a third place finish, Kim Kwang-hyun took the mound. The veteran got the result the team wanted most: a complete game, behind-the-scenes performance.
The legend has amassed 158 wins in his career, excluding his two seasons in the United States since his debut in 2007. That’s why this season’s results have been somewhat disappointing. Even with the win, the team is one win shy of 10, with nine wins (eight losses) in 30 games. It’s even more disappointing because it was the eighth consecutive year of double-digit wins.
Last year, he had a perfect season with a 13-3 record and a 2.13 ERA, so this season’s performance is even more contrasting. However, the team started to decline in the middle and end of the season. Kwang-hyun Kim’s struggles coincided with this.
After a stellar July with a 6.10 ERA, Kim struggled in August and September, going 1-6 in 11 games.
His season was coming to a close, and he was no longer guaranteed a spot in fall baseball. Autumn legend Kim Kwang-hyun snapped a four-game losing streak to start October, and he pitched when the team needed him most.
Before the game, Kim Won-hyung said, “Kwang-hyun is not in the best shape because it’s the end of the season,” but he also expressed faith in Kwang-hyun, saying, “I think he has a lot of experience and will play his role anyway.”
Kwang-hyun fully repaid his manager’s faith. He completely shut down the Doosan bats and gave his team a valuable win.
The team’s bats scored four runs in the third inning and one in the fourth inning to take the pressure off their shoulders, but there was also a crisis. In the top of the fifth, Kang Seung-ho gave up a hit and then got Park Jun-young to fly out to shortstop, but Park Ji-hoon singled to right and Ahn Seung-han walked. The bases were loaded.
But Kwan Rok-tu shined. He lined a single to left field and went head-to-head with Kim Tae-geun. He stabbed a fastball in the middle of the plate and Kim froze in place. He struck out looking to end the inning. Kim Kwang-hyun, who also took the mound in the sixth inning, finished his job with a triple play.
Choi Min-jun pitched the seventh and eighth innings and Lee I-roon pitched a scoreless ninth to secure SSG’s spot in the semi-postseason in front of a packed stadium.
After the game, Kim Kwang-hyun said, “As the race for the top spot was fierce until the end of the season, all the players were eager to win, and it feels good to have secured third place with today’s victory.”
It hasn’t been an easy season. “There was a lot of pressure after winning the overall title last season, but I think we were able to reach the Semi-Po because all the players didn’t give up until the end of the season,” said Kim Kwang-hyun. “The regular season is over, but there is still the postseason, so we will prepare well for the rest of the season so that we can go even higher.”
The day also marked the retirement of longtime pitcher Kim Tae-hoon. This gave the team an extra push to win. “Above all, I want to tell Tae-hoon that he has been struggling for a long time. As the first left-handed junior, we have built a lot of memories in the team for a long time, and he has many advantages, but it is a pity that he retired like this.” “I sincerely hope that there will be only good things in his second life,” he said, and asked for blessings.
There were 21,077 fans in attendance at SSG Landers Field today, hoping for a happy ending. SSG has accumulated a total of 1,068,211 fans this season, making it the second highest attendance in the history of the Incheon-based club after 2012 (1,069,929).
“It was a season where we felt that many fans came to the ballpark for every game this season,” said Kim Kwang-hyun. “Thanks to their support, we were able to play fierce baseball until the end, and we will do our best to repay their support in the postseason,” he said.
He went 4-3 with a 3.35 ERA and three saves in 22 games and 91⅓ innings in the fall league, collecting five championship rings. SSG fans will be encouraged by the presence of Kim Kwang-hyun, who is sure to boost the momentum.