After finishing ninth last year, the Doosan Bears are back in the Korean Baseball Organization postseason for the first time in two years.
Doosan secured at least a fifth-place finish in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League with a 3-2 win over the visiting LG Twins at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Thursday, marking the final day of autumn baseball.
Chasing Doosan were the KIA Tigers (71 wins, two ties and 69 losses), who were eliminated from postseason contention at sixth place regardless of their remaining games.
Lee “The People’s Hitter” Seung-yeop took over the reins of Doosan and immediately gave the team a postseason berth.
With this, all five teams that will compete in autumn baseball in 2023 are set.
For the first time in 29 years, since 1994, LG has qualified directly for the Korean Series by finishing first in the regular season, while KT WIZ heads into the playoffs in second place.
The position of the three teams in third place – SSG Landers, NC Dinos and Doosan – will depend on their remaining games.
After pounding out 10 hits and struggling to convert them into runs, Doosan’s persistence paid off in the ninth inning.
Doosan opened the scoring in the top of the second when Kang Seung-ho hit an infield single to shortstop that set up back-to-back singles by Yang Ji and Yang Seok-hwan.
LG tied the game briefly after a pitching change with Austin Dean’s 23rd solo home run of the season to left-centre field.
The 1-1 lull was broken in the top of the seventh inning when Doosan’s leadoff batter, Kim Jae-hwan, reached second base on an error by the first baseman.
Following Kang Seung-ho’s send-off bunt, Kim Jae-ho rolled a bunt toward first base to send pinch-hitter Kim Tae-geun home.
After being held in check by Doosan starter Brandon Waddell, LG tied the game at 2-2 in the eighth against reliever Chung Chul-won.
Lee Jae-won, the ‘big boy in the sleeper’, pulled a high slider from Jeong Chul-won for a home run that landed in the left-field bleachers.
Doosan’s efforts to erase the magic number one were desperate.
In the top of the ninth inning, after Yang Seok-hwan drew a one-out walk, Lee Seung-yeop brought in pinch-hitter Lee Yoo-chan.
Lee promptly stole second base and reached third on the next batter’s grounder.
He then came home when Kang Seung-ho hit a grounder that dropped in front of the right fielder.
Doosan had runners on first and second with no outs in the bottom of the ninth, but Kim Myung-shin struck out Austin, Oh Ji-hwan and Moon Bo-kyung in succession to secure the victory.
Samsung Lions reliever Oh Seung-hwan reached the 400-save milestone in the KBO in his final home game of the season against SSG Lander in Daegu.
With his team leading 4-3 in the top of the eighth inning, Oh Seung-hwan entered the game with the bases loaded and two outs to preserve a 5-3 victory.
Oh, who turned pro with Samsung in 2005, reached the 400-save milestone in 668 games.
Combined with his 122 saves in the United States and Japan, Oh has 522 career saves.
Seung-hwan Oh reached 500 saves in his Korean-American career on 6 June against the NC Dinos.
With Oh Seung-hwan on the mound, SSG brought in Kim Kang-min, who is the same age as Oh Seung-hwan at 41, and then replaced him with another 41-year-old, Choo Shin-soo.
Choo spun his bat sharply on a three-ball two-strike at-bat, but Samsung first baseman Lee Sung-kyu made a great catch of a hard-hit ball flowing over the top of the infield to take the pressure off Oh Seung-hwan’s shoulders.
Oh gave up singles to Oh Tae-gon and Han Yoo-seom in the ninth to put runners on first and second, but he got Guillermo Heredia to fly out to right field for the final out.
He then gave up a huge foul home run to Park Sung-ho that just cleared the right-field fence, but regained his composure and lined it straight to left field, finally smiling.
With one game left in the regular season, Samsung used two foreign pitchers, David Buchanan and Taylor Widener, back-to-back for its final home game to give its fans a win.
Trailing 1-3 in the bottom of the sixth, Samsung scored three runs with runners on first and second on back-to-back singles by Kang Min-ho and Ryu Ji-hyuk and a sacrifice fly by Jose Pirela to take a 4-3 lead.
Lee Sung-gyu, who relieved Oh Seung-hwan in the bottom of the eighth, capped the scoring with a triple to right-centre field.
The Hanwha Eagles swept the Lotte Giants 8-0 at home in Daejeon to end their six-game losing streak and escape last-place ignominy for the fourth straight year.
This confirms Kiwoom Heroes as the lowest-placed team this season. Lotte is also locked into seventh place.
Hanwha slugger Noh Si-hwan reached his 100th RBI of the season with a grounder to shortstop in the first inning, becoming the second-youngest player in history to reach the 30-homer-100-RBI milestone after Lee Seung-yeop (22). Noh will turn 23 in December this year.
Noh, who has 31 home runs to his name, reached 100 RBIs in a season for the first time since his debut in 2019 and increased his tally to 101 with an infield single in the eighth inning.
Hanwha took a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning on Nick Williams’ mid-month two-run homer and added three runs in the eighth to make it 5-0 and give Lotte the white flag. Williams led the way with four hits and four RBIs. 파워볼게임