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Star left-hander ends 'dream' season with major trophy

All Headlines 19:52 December 13, 2017

SEOUL, Dec. 13 (Yonhap) -- Kia Tigers' left-hander Yang Hyeon-jong has been perhaps the busiest Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) player this offseason, attending a series of awards ceremonies and picking up one trophy after another.

And winning the Golden Glove on Wednesday was the perfect icing on the cake in what Yang said has been a "dream" season.

Yang garnered 323 out of 357 media votes to get his first Golden Glove, leaving his teammate Hector Noesi at a distant second with 12 votes.

Yang went 20-6 with a 3.44 ERA and 158 strikeouts in 193 1/3 innings. He tied Noesi for the KBO lead in wins, while finishing third in strikeouts and fifth in ERAs.

The Golden Gloves are awarded to the best overall players at each position, including designated hitter, and are the final baseball awards handed out each year.

In November, Yang was voted the regular season MVP. It came on the heels of the Korean Series MVP award in late October, as the Tigers won their first KBO crown since 2009. Yang tossed a complete game shutout in Game 2 and recorded a save in the clinching Game 5 against the Doosan Bears.

Yang is now the first KBO player ever to win the regular season MVP, the Korean Series MVP and the Golden Glove in the same season.

Yang has been honored by the players' association and the retired players' association as the year's best player, and has also collected the top awards at various ceremonies organized by local sports newspapers.

Kia Tigers' pitcher Yang Hyeon-jong gives an acceptance speech after capturing the Korea Baseball Organization's Golden Glove at a ceremony in Seoul on Dec. 13, 2017. (Yonhap)

"This has been a dream season," Yang said. "I love winning all these awards, now that I've had a taste of them. I want to be able to come back collecting trophies again next year."

Yang said he didn't want a repeat of what transpired at the 2015 Golden Glove Awards. He had a 15-6 record and a league-leading 2.44 ERA that year, but still finished second to Eric Hacker of the NC Dinos, who led the KBO with 19 wins and finished second to Yang with a 3.13 ERA.

"I left the ceremony as soon as Hacker's name was announced," Yang said. "I didn't want to go through the same emotions this year, and it's nice to be holding this trophy today."

Yang said he's given himself a tough act to follow in 2018, but added he's as determined as ever.

"Obviously, there's going to be a lot of pressure next year to duplicate the success of this year," Yang said. "I want to prepare for next season the best I can and help the team win our second straight championship."

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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