After fruitless at-bats, All-Star hitter comes through with winning RBI in postseason
By Yoo Jee-ho
INCHEON, Oct. 14 (Yonhap) -- After squandering one opportunity after another, Kim Ha-seong delivered a key hit Monday night when his Kiwoom Heroes needed him the most.
The All-Star shortstop for the Kiwoom Heroes smacked an RBI double in the top of the 11th inning against the SK Wyverns, helping his club come away with a 3-0 win in Game 1 of the second round Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) playoff series.
Kim Ha-seong of the Kiwoom Heroes celebrates his RBI double against the SK Wyverns in the top of the 11th inning of Game 1 of the second round Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) playoff series at SK Happy Dream Park in Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul, on Oct. 14, 2019. (Yonhap)
It was Kim's first hit of the game in his sixth at-bat. He struck out in the first inning with a man at first base. Then in the seventh and ninth, with the game still scoreless, Kim came up with a man in scoring position.
And each time, Kim swung on the first pitch and popped out to shortstop.
The listless game dragged on to extra innings, and Kim, who batted in the No.-2 spot, came up in a big spot again in the top 11th. Leadoff man Seo Geon-chang reached with a one-out double -- his fourth hit of the night -- and Kim brought him home with a ringing double off the wall in left center.
With that one swing of the bat, Kim, who ranked second with 104 RBIs in the regular season, quickly made his previous, fruitless at-bats a distant memory.
The Heroes tacked on two more runs in the inning to round out the scoring.
Kim said he was disappointed with himself after not cashing in on earlier chances, and he focused extra hard in the 11th inning.
"I was hoping I could get another chance, and fortunately, Geon-chang reached in front of me," Kim said. "I told myself this would be my last opportunity to drive in a run."
Players of the Kiwoom Heroes celebrate their 3-0 victory over the SK Wyverns in Game 1 of the second round Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) playoff series at SK Happy Dream Park in Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul, on Oct. 14, 2019. (Yonhap)
On his two earlier pop outs, Kim said he was a bit late on inside pitches. He said he made some adjustments to better handle inside pitches, knowing opposing pitchers would keep coming at him.
"I choked up on the bat and just tried to make solid contact," Kim said. "I was able to swing with more conviction in that last at-bat."