KT beat the LG Twins 3-2 in Game 1 of the Korean Series at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on the 7th. The winner of the final hit was Moon Sang-chul. In the top of the ninth inning, he won with a timely double that hit the fence that knocked down LG closer Ko Woo-suk.
The daily MVP was also Moon Sang-chul’s job, but in fact, the hidden MVP was KT’s iron wall bullpen. After starting pitcher Ko Young-pyo defended well in six innings with two runs (one earned run), the bullpen was activated from the seventh inning.
The second pitcher was Son Dong-hyun, the playoff series MVP. KT manager Lee Kang-chul pushed two innings to Son Dong-hyun. LG’s attack in the bottom of the seventh inning led to the center lineup from the second batter Park Hae-min. Son Dong-hyun threw a total of 11 pitches against batters ranging from Park Hae-min, Kim Hyun-soo, and Austin Dean. All 10 of them were strikes, except for a slight drop in the third pitch thrown to Austin.
Park Hae-min hit a fly ball to center field, and Kim Hyun-soo struck out swinging and then turned Austin into a standing strikeout. When dealing with Austin, he seemed confident himself. Stuck in the middle of the strike zone without hesitation. The only ball that became a ball was also a disappointing one that was missing a little. Son Dong-hyun, who hit a 145-kilometer strike on the last four pitches, entered the bench without looking back. He was convinced of his ball.
Son Dong-hyun, who continued to pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning, handled Oh Ji-hwan, Moon Bo-kyung, and Park Dong-won all with fly balls. It was an impeccable pitch. He pitched two innings, but his pitch count was not unreasonable with 22 pitches.
LG’s offense cooled down as Son Dong-hyun overwhelmed the LG lineup with his best pitching power. LG had several good defense on the day, and KT certainly had a chance to win as it exploded with each important chance, but it failed to completely turn the game around.
And after Moon Sang-chul’s come-from-behind hit in the top of the ninth inning, KT took a 3-2 lead again. At the top of the ninth inning, setup man Park Young-hyun and closer Kim Jae-yoon were warming up in KT’s bullpen. Rising Star, which emerged as the core of KT’s bullpen this year, and veteran finisher, who recorded 32 saves in the regular season, prepared to take the mound at the same time.
Unfortunately, KT’s attack ended with only one point in the bottom of the ninth inning. Coach Lee Kang-chul chose Park Young-hyun rather than Kim Jae-yoon in a save situation. It was a cold-headed choice. Usually, it would be right to raise closer Kim Jae-yoon to take a save opportunity, but the Korean Series should be more clear. At this point, it was judged that it was more appropriate for Park Young-hyun, whose ball power is overwhelming, to finish.
Park Young-hyun lived up to the coach’s expectations. LG’s last three batters, Moon Sung-joo, Shin Min-jae, and Hong Chang-ki, could not even hit the ball properly and the game ended. Park Young-hyun threw straightforward balls without any sign of nervousness even when he took the mound for the first time in the series.
It was the first game as if watching “Little Oh Seung-hwan” in a row. Even if KT does not win, the discovery of Son Dong-hyun and Park Young-hyun is the best harvest of the year. Regarding the reason for choosing Park Young-hyun first, director Lee Kang-chul said, “I tried to go without a fixed finish. “I couldn’t help but think about overtime today,” he said, but the cool judgment of the pitching expert brought a clean victory in Game 1.