KT WIZ foreign pitcher William Cuevas’ sacrificial spirit continued to work in the fall of the 2023 season.
Cuevas started Game 4 of the Korean Baseball Playoffs (PO-5 best-of-three) at Changwon NC Park in Gyeongnam, South Korea on Wednesday and pitched six innings of one-hit ball, striking out three and walking none to lead the Wiz to an 11-2 victory.
With only three days of rest since Game 1 of the POs, Cuevas looked like he was at the top of his game, dominating NC with his sharp changeup.
Cuevas continued to work tirelessly in the fall of the 2021 season, helping KT win its first overall title.
After pitching the winning game in the NC on October 28, when the regular season lead was tight, Cuevas took just two days off before pitching in the first-place game against the Samsung Lions to clinch the regular season title.
Individually, Cuevas bounced back from a tough Game 1 in which he was charged with seven runs (four earned) on six hits (one home run) in three innings.
Cuevas was dominant, not allowing a single hit until the top of the sixth inning, when the NC offense went around the bases twice.
He threw 73 pitches, mixing in a cut fastball (23), four-seam fastball (19), two-seam fastball (12), changeup (10), and slider (9).
The NC batters were particularly stunned by Cuevas’ cut fastball, which was sharp to the mitt.
In the bottom of the first inning, KT third baseman Hwang Jae-gyun reached on a throwing error that sent leadoff hitter Son Ah-seop to first base, the only run allowed by Cuevas.
It was a moment of déjà vu, as Hwang Jae-gyun’s throwing error in the first inning gave up two runs.
But Cuevas remained calm.
After comforting Hwang, he shut down the top of the order of Park Min-woo, Park Geon-woo, and Jason Martin.
After KT scored two runs in each of the first through fourth innings, Cuevas, with a weight off his shoulders, retired four straight batters in the second through fifth innings.
His no-hitter was broken in the top of the sixth inning when Son Asub singled up the middle, but he was able to keep the tying run out of scoring position.
While Cuevas’ ‘streak of zeroes’ was displayed on the scoreboard, the KT bats scored eight runs to secure the victory early.
Cuevas was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the day and received a cash prize of 1 million won.
“I tried to forget about my poor performance after the first round of the POs, and I spent the last three days analyzing my power,” Cuevas said at the postgame press conference.
“Today’s game was different from the first game of the POs. The batsmen also provided scoring support and played good defense, which helped us a lot.”
“Today I pitched with one more day’s rest than I did then,” he laughed, before adding, “I think I’ll need a little more rest before my next start.”
Cuevas said he kept throwing in the seventh inning, when it was 8-0.
“After the sixth inning, (manager Lee Kang-chul) asked me how I was feeling,” he said. “I told him I was fine to keep throwing, but he said I didn’t need to because we had a big lead. I think he was protecting me so I could be ready for the next game.”
If KT wins Game 5 of the NC and PO at Katie Wise Park in Suwon on Friday, Cuevas could return to the Korean Series against the LG Twins. 파워볼사이트