Small ball beats big bats in baseball postseason game

October 30, 2018

SEOUL, Oct. 30 (Yonhap) — David beat Goliath for a change in the South Korean baseball postseason on Tuesday.

The Nexen Heroes squeezed past the SK Wyverns 3-2 in the second round in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), cutting the series deficit to 2-1.

And the Heroes got the win by manufacturing runs in the old school fashion, while the Wyverns, wielding the big bats, couldn’t capitalize on some late-inning chances.

The Wyverns, which led the regular season with 233 homers, entered this game having scored 12 of their 15 runs on long balls over the past two contests. And they got both of their runs Tuesday on solo shots.

The Heroes, which had 165 regular season home runs and hit three in Game 1 last Saturday, haven’t gone deep since. At least on Tuesday, they didn’t need to.

Players of the Nexen Heroes celebrate their 3-2 victory over the SK Wyverns in Game 3 of the second round playoff series in the Korea Baseball Organization at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Oct. 30, 2018. (Yonhap)

After Jamie Romak put the Wyverns on the board with a solo shot in the top second, the Heroes responded with a two-run single by No. 9 hitter Joo Hyo-sang in the bottom second.

It all began with a leadoff walk. A one-out single followed, and a groundout advanced the runners to second and third.

Joo then rolled a soft-hit single down the right field line, just past the glove of first baseman Park Jung-kwon, who would have made a play if not for a funny hop at the last second.

The Wyverns tied the score with a solo homer by Kang Seung-ho in the fifth, and the Heroes again answered that in the bottom half.

Kim Hye-seong, getting his first start of the series because of his defense at second base and speed, led off the inning with a line drive triple to right-center gap. Song Sung-mun brought him home with a sacrifice fly to center.

The ball wasn’t hit too deep but Kim put his speed to good use as he beat the throw by Kim Kang-min at the plate.

And SK’s offense went silent the rest of the game.

With the bases loaded in the sixth, pinch hitter Jung Eui-yoon grounded into an inning-ending, 5-4-3 double play.

In the eighth, the Wyverns had the tying run at second and their top three sluggers coming up. But Han Dong-min (41 regular season homers), Jamie Romak (43) and Choi Jeong (35) all struck out swinging against reliever Lee Bo-geun.

Lee and three relievers combined for 3 2/3 shutout innings after starter Han Hyun-hee was pulled. They limited the Wyverns to two singles and struck out seven batters.