The rise of the dinosaur army NC Dinos is strong. Before the opening, they were evaluated as last-place candidates, but they not only laughed it off and entered the postseason, but also won a ticket to the playoffs by defeating difficult opponents one after another.
NC defeated SSG Landers 7-6 in the third game of the 2023 KBO postseason semi-playoffs (best of 5) held at Changwon NC Park on the 25th. As a result, NC, which made the series record 3-0, entered the playoffs as a partner of 2nd place KT Wiz.
This is a very valuable achievement. NC, whose key players before the opening, including Yang Eui-ji, Noh Jin-hyuk, and Won Jong-hyun, left for the Doosan Bears, Lotte Giants, and Kiwoom Heroes through free agency, respectively, was considered a strong candidate for last place.스포츠토토
There were constant injuries and evil spirits. Foreign hitter Jason Martin debuted late due to an injury, and foreign pitcher Taylor Widener (Samsung Lions), who also suffered from an injury, showed up late and was released due to poor performance. In addition, key domestic players suffered from injuries, but NC did not waver. They continued their cruise by taking the top spot from the beginning.
The pitching staff had a big contribution. Eric Peddy (20 wins, 6 losses, 209 strikeouts, 2.00 ERA) has established himself as a super ace who dominates the league, while Lee Yong-jun (3 wins, 4 losses, ERA 4.30), Lee Jae-hak (5 wins, 5 losses, ERA 4.54), and Choi Seong-young (5 wins) Resources that did not receive expectations, such as 4 losses and an ERA of 4.86, played their part whenever there was a gap in the starting lineup. Tanner Turley (5 wins, 2 losses, ERA 2.92), who joined the team mid-season as a replacement foreign pitcher for Widener, also showed an acceptable performance.
In addition, Shin Min-hyuk (5 wins, 5 losses, ERA 3.98) and Song Myeong-gi (4 wins, 9 losses, ERA 4.83), who overcame an early slump, performed well in all weathers, and closer Lee Yong-chan (4 wins, 4 losses, 29 saves, ERA 4.13) and Kim Young-gyu. The bullpen consisting of (2 wins, 4 losses, 24 holds, ERA 3.06) and Ryu Jin-wook (1 wins, 4 losses, 22 holds, ERA 2.15) also boasted solidity. In this way, NC was able to build a strong pitching staff.
In the batting lineup, Son Ah-seop definitely shined. This season, along with 5 home runs and 65 RBIs, he recorded a batting average of 0.339 (187 hits in 551 at-bats), becoming the first batting champion since his debut and the fourth (2012, 2013, 2017, 2023) most hits leader, Park Min-woo (batting average of 0.316, 46 RBI, 26 stolen bases). , Park Geon-woo (batting average 0.319, 12 home runs, 85 RBI) and other veteran players led NC’s attack.
Son Ah-seop, who took on the important role of captain with his natural leadership skills, also led the young players well. As a result, Kim Joo-won (batting average 0.233, 10 home runs, 54 RBI) and Seo Ho-cheol (batting average 0.287, 5 home runs, 41 RBI) became key players after several trials and errors.
With the addition of the soft but firm leadership of head coach Kang In-kwon, NC was able to establish itself as a strong team that did not fall into the bottom tier despite several crises.
However, the regular season ended poorly. They battled with SSG for 3rd place until the final day, but lost both games to the Gwangju KIA Tigers on the 16th and 17th and stayed in 4th place.
Meanwhile, in the game on the 16th, even Pedi, who was hit in the arm by Go Jong-wook’s batted ball, left the line, leaving NC to go to the fall festival in a rather unfavorable atmosphere. This is why the possibility of an upset (a lower-ranked team beating a higher-ranked team and advancing to the next round) was raised more than ever ahead of the wild card match against 5th-place Doosan.
NC entered the fall baseball season with Son Ah-seop’s famous saying, “I’m truly proud of you guys.” Was the captain’s sincerity conveyed? With less pressure, they successfully defied expectations in the postseason. In particular, the performance of unexpected players stood out. Seo Ho-cheol (3 hits in 4 at-bats, 1 home run, 6 RBIs), Kim Hyeong-jun (2 hits in 5 at-bats, 2 home runs, 4 RBIs), and Kim Joo-won (2 hits in 4 at-bats, 2 RBIs), who are experiencing their first fall baseball experience, showed their presence, leading NC to 14-9. Leading the way to a complete victory.
When they met SSG, the ‘winner of the battle for third place’ in the semi-playoffs, NC’s storm became even stronger. NC captured the first game 4-3 thanks to the comeback pitching of starting pitcher Shin Min-hyuk (5.2 innings, 4 hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, no runs) and the outstanding performance of Kim Seong-wook (1 hit, 1 home run, 2 RBI), who pinch-hit the final 2 runs in the top of the 8th inning. also announced a 7-3 victory in the second game. This time, it was the result of veterans such as Son Ah-seop (2 hits in 4 at-bats, 1 RBI) and Park Geon-woo (3 hits in 5 at-bats, 2 RBIs).
After gaining momentum, NC won 7-6 in the third game thanks to the performance of Martin (2 hits in 4 at-bats, 1 home run, 3 RBIs), who had a 3-point arch in the final, and the bullpen’s relay pitch, securing a ticket to the playoffs. I did it. In addition, NC, which reached this position with 4 consecutive wins and no losses in the postseason, was able to get some rest time. The first round of the playoffs will be held at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on the 30th.
Just like the catchphrase ‘Let’s go without hesitation,’ NC is continuing its remarkable upward trend not only in this year’s regular league but also in fall baseball. Their gaze is now heading higher.
After the third game of the semi-playoffs, Coach Kang In-kwon said, “I think the players will be physically and mentally fatigued. Fortunately, I got some time to rest, so I will take the time to recharge and prepare well for the series against KT,” he pledged to do well.
Kim Young-gyu, who won the Series MVP after recording 1 win, 2 holds, and an ERA of 0.00 in 3 semi-playoff games (3.2 innings), said, “I will prepare well so that I can show a good performance in the playoffs,” and “(KT’s batting line) has not made a single hit.” I don’t think there is a batting order that can take a break, but our team’s pitchers are also good. I plan to throw confidently and aggressively. “We will not think that we are being pushed down and will play harder,” he said with strength in his voice.
Martin, the daily MVP of Game 3 of the semi-playoffs, also said, “Winning the Korean Series is a big challenge. It would be great if I could achieve it. “I think we can do it because the entire team has the mindset that they will win,” he emphasized.
Meanwhile, Super Ace Peddie is also expected to participate in the playoffs. Coach Kang said, “If no variables arise, I think Peddie will be able to play (as a starting pitcher) in the first game of the playoffs.”