“Hyung-woo and Sung-beom together…” KIA Anbangma’s Will, Fall Baseball Must Go
You’ve lost your teammates and your moral support. He’s new to the team, but now he has to step up to the plate. Kim Tae-gun, 34, of the KIA Tigers, is trying to be the team’s girder.
In the regular season game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League against the NC Dinos at NC Park in Changwon on June 26, Kim started in the No. 8 spot and went 2-for-4 with a double, one RBI and one run scored. With Kim’s performance, KIA won 6-4 and secured a five-game winning streak with a record of 62 wins, 61 losses and two ties, and a .504 winning percentage. They closed the gap on fifth-place SSG to 0.5 games.
On this day, Kim Tae-gun was busy after pregame training. After entering the locker room after his own training, Kim reappeared in the dugout. In his hands were the jerseys of Choi Hyung-woo and Na Sung-beom. Kim Tae-gun wore the jerseys of both players. He pledged to stay together until the end of the season.
Na Sung-bum was out for the season with a hamstring injury and Choi Hyung-woo with a broken collarbone. The loss of the two players, who were the heart and soul of the KIA batting lineup, was a major setback for the team, which needed to accelerate its push for the top five. The team was at a loss as to how to fill their batting gap. Coach Kim Jong-guk said he would fill the gap with the hard work of the existing players and the addition of batting and tactical baseball, but it was easier said than done.
However, KIA was playing its first game without Choi Hyung-woo and Na Sung-beom. On top of that, the opposing team had ace Eric Peddie on the mound looking for his 20th win, but the team was united and Kim Tae-gun was at the center.
With two outs in the fifth inning, Tae-gun hit a single off Pedi. He had only thrown eight pitches against the previous two batters. It was crucial for KIA to get one more run and pitch as many pitches as possible to get Pedi out of the game as quickly as possible, and Kim was up to the task.
He worked a one-ball, two-strike count to extend his pitch count, and when Park Chan-ho came up next, he struck out, but it was a full count. By the fifth inning, Pedi had thrown 82 pitches, so he had to go down for the sixth inning.
In the seventh inning, Kia rallied to turn the game around. With the score tied 1-1 in the seventh, Socrates and Kim Sun-bin singled to put runners on first and third with no outs, and Lee Woo-sung singled up the middle to take a 2-1 lead. A sacrifice bunt by pinch-hitter Park Jung-woo put runners on second and third and brought Kim Tae-gun back to the plate.
Kim came up big. He lined a single to center field through the opposing infield to make it 3-1. Park Chan-ho followed with a single to right, capitalizing on an error to score three more runs and seal the victory.캡틴토토
After the game, Kim Tae-gun said, “Our opponent’s starting pitcher was pitching well, so I approached every at-bat with the intention of getting a hit, and as a result, I’m doubly happy that I was fortunate enough to get a multi-hit game and a team win,” adding, “I’m not thinking about individual goals, just the team advancing to fall baseball. Today, seniors (Choi) Hyung-woo and (Na) Sung-beom played with their jerseys hanging in the dugout, and we will play with the mindset of being together until the end of the season.”