Substitute card struck – ‘1-ball’ Benjamin substitution… KT bench tactics lead to upset
KT WIZ coach Lee Kang-cheol’s determination shone through in Game 5 of the playoffs (best-of-five, best-of-three – PO) with a ticket to the Korean Series on the line.
He pulled out his substitute card when he needed to and turned the game around, and even when his starting pitcher was struggling, he saw a “one-ball” and boldly changed pitchers to prevent a run.
KT punched its ticket to the Korean Series for the first time in two years with a 3-2 victory over the NC Dinos in Game 5 of the PO at Katie Weeds Park in Suwon on Friday, a “reverse sweep” that saw the team win three straight games after two losses.
The first to make a move was the KT bench, which was down 0-2.
Unable to get a runner on base against NC starter Shin Min-hyuk until the bottom of the fifth inning with one out, KT made a decision when Jang Sung-woo broke the no-hitter with a double and Moon Sang-chul followed with a single to put runners on first and third.
They removed Oh Yoon-seok, the No. 7 hitter who had only one at-bat earlier, and brought in Kim Min-hyuk.
Kim Min-hyuk was the ‘trump card’ of the playoffs, as he had only appeared as a pinch-hitter in the playoffs and was showing off his good sense with two hits in four at-bats.
He repaid the bench’s faith in him with a tiebreaking two-run double over the first baseman’s head off a change-up.
The NC bench didn’t leave Shin Min-hyuk alone after he was hit by three consecutive pitches.
With the bases loaded and two outs, left-handed pitcher Kim Young-gyu was brought in and struck out Choi Jae-dae and Choi Soo-ho in succession to put out the flames.
In the top of the sixth inning, the KT bench made another shrewd move.
After giving up two runs in the fifth inning, starter Wes Benjamin gave up a leadoff single to Park Gun-woo and threw a fastball to the next batter, Kwon Hee-dong, and promptly switched to Son Dong-hyun.
The decision by the KT bench, which judged the pitch to be off the mark, paid off.
Despite having runners on first and second with Kwon’s sacrifice bunt, Son finished the job by getting Jason Martin to fly out to centre field and Oh to ground out to short.
The KT bench showed patience in the top of the seventh, leaving Son to finish the inning.
After coming on with the bases loaded in the top of the sixth inning and getting through the inning without allowing a run, Son gave up a double to Son Ah-seop with two outs in the top of the seventh after his team had cut the deficit to 3-2.
Despite having two strong options in the bullpen in Park Young-hyun and Kim Jae-yoon, the KT bench opted to have Son face Seo Ho-chul.
Facing Seo, Dong-hyun fought off a fastball and induced a fly ball to right field to complete his mission. 토토사이트