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Samsung, Doosan exude confidence ahead of potential decider

All Headlines 17:58 October 31, 2013

By Yoo Jee-ho

DAEGU, Oct. 31 (Yonhap) -- Hours ahead of the sixth and the potential deciding game of the Korean Series on Thursday, members of the Doosan Bears and the Samsung Lions both exuded confidence that they will emerge as champions.

The Bears lead the best-of-seven series 3-2 and will try to close out the series on the road here at Daegu Stadium, about 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

The Bears missed a chance to finish off the Lions, the two-time defending champs, at home, Jamsil Stadium in Seoul, on Tuesday. The Lions prevailed 7-5 then, and Doosan's manager Kim Jin-wook said he doesn't want to miss another opportunity to knock off the Lions.

"I think it will come down to which team can bear down and concentrate better during key situations," Kim said. "We're exhausted, and we might be at a disadvantage against their hard-throwing pitchers. We have to try to end this series tonight."

The Bears will be playing their 15th playoff game of this fall, a record in a single postseason. Along the way, infielder Lee Won-seok pulled his left side in Game 2 of the Koreans Series, and Oh Jae-won strained his left hamstring while scoring a run during Game 3 of the final. Designated hitter Hong Sung-heun has fouled off two pitches off his left calf and missed Game 5.

Kim said all three players will be available for pinch-hit duties on Thursday. He quipped that he expects Oh, a speedster who had team-high 33 steals but just seven home runs during the regular season, to generate some power.

"He does have that leg injury, and so he's got to hit a home run and just trot around the bases," Kim said with a smile. "If he hits an infield grounder, it will be an automatic out. So I told him to hit the ball out of the park and take his time rounding the bags."

In the opposite dugout, the Lions' left fielder Choi Hyung-woo said the Game 5 victory could be the decisive turning point for his club.

"After that win, we all felt that we were almost there (to the championship)," said Choi, who is batting .400 in the Korean Series. "When we trailed 3-1, we weren't quite ready to give up, but we sensed that things would be difficult. But the mood has changed now."

Told of these words, Doosan's own left fielder, Kim Hyun-soo, said he and his teammates will also take the field as if there is no tomorrow.

"I don't really care what they say," Kim said. "We just have to stick to our game plan and play our own game. When teams have their backs against the wall, they always say they're confident. We will also play like there's no tomorrow for us."

Kim rejected the notion that the Bears' loss in Game 5 might have swung the pendulum to the Lions' side.

"Remember, we're still leading this series 3-2," Kim said. "They can say whatever they want to say, but I don't think we've lost any momentum."


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