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Slumping shortstop becomes hero with key hit, walk

All Headlines 18:44 November 10, 2018

INCHEON, Nov. 10 (Yonhap) -- By delivering a clutch hit and showing patience at the plate, SK Wyverns' shortstop Kim Sung-hyun ended his postseason slump to play the hero for his Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) club.

Kim hit a game-tying double and drew a bases-loaded walk for an insurance run in the Wyverns' 4-1 victory over the Doosan Bears in Game 5 of the Korean Series on Saturday. The Wyverns now lead the best-of-seven series 3-2, sitting one win away from grabbing their first championship in eight years.

The Wyverns were trailing 1-0 entering the seventh inning, managing only three singles off Doosan starter Seth Frankoff up to that point.

Kim Sung-hyun of the SK Wyverns celebrates his game-tying double against the Doosan Bears in the bottom of the seventh inning of Game 5 of the Korean Series at SK Happy Dream Park in Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul, on Nov. 10, 2018. (Yonhap)

Jung Eui-yoon led off that inning with a single, and pinch runner Kim Jae-hyun moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. It set the stage for Kim's heroics, as the light-hitting shortstop -- who had been 1-for-13 prior to that at-bat -- sent a double to the left-center gap to tie the game at 1-1.

The ball fell just short of the warning track, and left fielder Jung Jin-ho threw the ball over the cutoff man to allow Kim to reach third base. Kim then came home to score the go-ahead run on Kim Kang-min's sacrifice fly.

Kim came up with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom eighth, after the Wyverns had added one run on the board for a 3-1 lead. Kim fell behind 0-2 against Kim Seung-hye before drawing a walk on a 3-2 fastball for a 4-1 lead. That stood as the final score.

Kim hasn't had a memorable postseason career. Most notably, he committed a game-ending error in the bottom of the 11th inning in the wild card game against the Nexen Heroes in 2015. This year, during the previous playoff round, Kim received a warning from the league office after giving the finger to the Heroes' outfielder Jerry Sands, who'd slid hard into second baseman Kang Seung-ho to break up a double play.

Kim Sung-hyun of the SK Wyverns hits a game-tying double against the Doosan Bears in the bottom of the seventh inning of Game 5 of the Korean Series at SK Happy Dream Park in Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul, on Nov. 10, 2018. (Yonhap)

On Kim's double, both left fielder Jung Jin-ho and center fielder Jung Soo-bin were playing shallow. Kim said he was "lucky" to get the extra-base hit because the ball would probably have been caught if the fielders were playing their normal depth.

"I know I've made headlines in the postseason for all the wrong reasons," Kim said. "But this is probably the first time I am getting attention for something positive."

But not so fast -- on that double, replays showed Kim may not have touched the bag at second base as he made the turn toward third. But the Bears didn't appeal at the time, and play went on.

"I touched the bag with my foot. I felt it," Kim said, trying to nip the controversy in the bud.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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