KT Wiz veteran infielder Hwang Jae-gyun (36) made a costly mistake in Game 1 of the KBO Playoffs (PO) against the NC Dinos at Katie Wiz Park in Suwon on March 30.
Trailing 0-2 in the top of the third inning, he missed an ordinary infield hit by the opposing team’s leadoff hitter Park Min-woo.
Hwang Jae-gyun’s error led to an unearned run, and KT lost the game 5-9.
In the second game of the PO the next day, Hwang Jae-gyun made another mistake. In the fifth inning, trailing 0-3, he missed Park Min-woo’s grounder.
It wasn’t like Hwang Jae-gyun, who had been through the entire series. Due to the shaky defense, KT lost the second game of the PO with a score of 2-3.
Hwang Jae-gyun managed his facial expression. He played the third game of the PO as if he didn’t care if it would affect the team’s mood.
“He’s definitely a veteran,” KT coach Lee Kang-cheol said of Hwang Jae-gyun ahead of Game 4 of the PO at Changwon NC Park on March 3, “and he doesn’t mind making mistakes.”
He even joked, “He doesn’t seem to feel sorry for himself.” Lee expressed his trust in Hwang Jae-gyun in an indirect way.
However, Hwang Jae-gyun’s mind was filled with anxiety, apology, and pressure.
In the top of the fourth inning of Game 4, Hwang made a mistake that cost him the leadoff hitter, Son Ah-seop. It was his third error in four games of the series.
Hwang Jae-gyun’s expression was distorted. He raised his hand to apologize to starting pitcher William Cuevas, who was standing on the mound.
Cuevas’ reverse throw prevented Hwang from scoring a run, but Hwang’s face was still dark.
In the bottom of the first inning, with the score tied at 0-0, Hwang hit a grounder in front of the pitcher. He couldn’t get his head up.
However, Hwang Jae-gyun broke out of a self-inflicted hole that seemed impossible to escape.
With a 3-0 lead and runners on first and third in the top of the second inning, he lined a clean single to left field off the second pitcher of the game, Lee Jae-hak.
With the score 6-0, Hwang Jae-gyun took a changeup from Lee Jae-hak in the top of the fourth inning and blasted a huge home run over the left field fence.
It was a shot that erased his earlier mistake.
Hwang Jae-gyun didn’t celebrate or make any gestures.
He circled the bases and went into the dugout with a calm expression. It was more of a look of relief than joy.
KT went on to defeat NC 11-2 and even the series at two games apiece, led by Hwang Jae-gyun, who went 2-for-2 with a home run, two RBIs and one run scored.
KT will look to advance to the Korean Series in Game 5 of the PO on Friday.
“I shouldn’t have made the mistake I did today,” Hwang Jae-gyun said after the game, “but Cuevas blocked it well, so I was able to forget about the mistake and focus on the next play.”
“In the fourth inning, I aimed for Lee Jae-hak’s changeup with two balls in the count, and I made a mistake, which led to a good result,” he said. “I felt good hitting, but I was frustrated that I didn’t get a good result, but now I feel like I can approach the next game in a good mood.” 슬롯사이트