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Heroes from previous dynasty help end SK Wyverns' title drought

All Headlines 00:29 November 13, 2018

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Nov. 13 (Yonhap) -- The SK Wyverns' veterans didn't die, and they didn't fade away, either.

The Wyverns claimed their first Korean Series title since 2010 on Monday, and they had sizable contributions from key members of that earlier team who stuck around to get another taste of a championship.

The Wyverns beat the Doosan Bears 5-4 in 13 innings in Game 6 of the Korean Series on the road at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul.

And they couldn't have done it without the likes of outfielder Kim Kang-min and designated hitter Park Jung-kwon, both part of the Wyverns dynasty earlier in the millennium.

Kim Kang-min of the SK Wyverns smiles after an RBI single against the Doosan Bears in the bottom of the third inning of Game 4 of the Korean Series at SK Happy Dream Park in Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul, on Nov. 9, 2018. (Yonhap)

The Wyverns played in every Korean Series from 2007 to 2012, winning it all in 2007, 2008 and 2010. Before this year, Kim had played in 31 Korean Series games and Park had appeared in 28 -- ranking ahead of everyone else in the series on either team.

Over the years, Kim and Park have seen their roles gradually diminish. Kim, 36, played in 80 games during the regular season this year, his fewest since 2011, and Park, 37, appeared in a career-low 14 games and batted .172.

But manager Trey Hillman still had enough trust in the veterans to put them on his postseason roster. And they both responded with some clutch performances.

Kim stepped in nicely for injured teammate Ro Soo-kwang, both in the leadoff spot and in center field, and quickly made people forget about the budding star.

Kim was named the MVP of the penultimate playoff series, batting .429 (9-for-21) with three home runs and six RBIs in five games against the Nexen Heroes. One of those home runs was a solo shot that tied the score at 10-10 in the bottom of the 10th inning of Game 5, which set the stage for Han Dong-min's walk-off solo blast in the same inning.

Kim reached base in every game of this postseason and had six hits with five RBIs in the Korean Series.

Park, the 2010 Korean Series MVP who became virtually a forgotten man this year, delivered a walk-off homer in Game 1 against the Heroes for an 10-8 victory and then hit a go-ahead two-run shot in the sixth inning of the first game in the Korean Series, lifting his team to a 7-3 win.

In Game 5, when the Wyverns were nursing a 2-1 lead in the bottom eighth, Park drove in the third run for the team with a single. The Wyverns went on to win 4-1.

Park's final line may not look pretty, but those few hits that he had all came at critical junctures. His lone hit in the previous series was that walk-off home run in Game 1. In the Korean Series, Park's three hits produced four RBIs.

Park Jung-kwon of the SK Wyverns runs to first base after hitting an RBI single against the Doosan Bears in the bottom of the eighth inning Game 5 of the Korean Series at SK Happy Dream Park in Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul, on Nov. 10, 2018. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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