Postseason hero rescues Doosan Bears with clutch home run

November 9, 2018

INCHEON, Nov. 9 (Yonhap) — Former Korean Series MVP Jung Soo-bin once again played the hero for the Doosan Bears in the championship series on Friday, saving the club from falling into a deep hole.

Jung smacked a go-ahead, two-run home run in the top of the eighth inning against the SK Wyverns, lifting the Bears to a 2-1 victory in Game 4 of the Korean Series at SK Happy Dream Park in Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul.

The Bears are now tied in the best-of-seven series at 2-2, with Game 5 back at the same stadium on Saturday.

The two starters, Josh Lindblom for the Bears and Kim Kwang-hyun for the Wyverns, mostly traded zeroes, with the Wyverns eking out a run in the third inning on Kim Kang-min’s RBI single. The Bears kept putting runners on base against Kim but failed to cash in.

Jung Soo-bin of the Doosan Bears celebrates his two-run home run off Angel Sanchez of the SK Wyverns in the top of the eighth 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)

Jung Soo-bin of the Doosan Bears celebrates his two-run home run off Angel Sanchez of the SK Wyverns in the top of the eighth 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)

But with Kim Kwang-hyun out of the game and Angel Sanchez on the mound, Jung provided the entire Doosan offense with one swing of the bat.

Sanchez worked a clean seventh but gave up a leadoff single to No. 9 hitter Baek Min-gi in the eighth. Heo Kyoung-min grounded one to shortstop Kim Sung-hyun, who got the force at second.

And that set the stage for Jung’s heroics. On a 2-1 count, Jung swung on a fastball and his towering fly ball cleared the right field fence.

Jung raised his arms well before reaching the first base bag and jumped up and down as he sprinted around the bases — coming home only a few steps behind the lead runner.

Jung, voted the MVP in the 2015 Korean Series when he batted .571 with six runs scored in four games, entered Friday’s game batting 3-for-14 in this series. All three hits came in Game 1 last Sunday.

And with only 19 career homers in 911 regular season games over 2,620 at-bats, Jung isn’t exactly a power threat. Given the way he chokes up on the bat — leaving enough space at the bottom for another hand — Jung doesn’t even look the part of a home-run hitter standing in the box.

But with the clutch shot on Friday, Jung now has three homers in 56 at-bats in the Korean Series, a far more productive rate than in the regular season.

“We’d missed so many scoring chances earlier, and we needed to turn things around quickly,” Jung said after the game. “I told myself I wanted to be the one to make the difference when I stepped up to the plate that inning.”

Jung said he felt the ball would travel farther than it actually did.

“I started celebrating early, but then I was kind of scared the ball wouldn’t go over the fence,” Jung quipped. “I know I choke up on the bat, but I thought I could still hit one out if I put the barrel on the ball. I just had to get my timing down on Sanchez’s fastball, and I did just that with the home run.”

Jung Soo-bin of the Doosan Bears watches his two-run home run off Angel Sanchez of the SK Wyverns in the top of the eighth 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)

Jung Soo-bin of the Doosan Bears watches his two-run home run off Angel Sanchez of the SK Wyverns in the top of the eighth 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)

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