“I didn’t know it would be this long.”
KT Wiz captain infielder Park Kyung-soo, 39, batted seventh and started at second base in the team’s sixth game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League against the Kiwoom Heroes at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on 25 April, going 3-for-3 with a double and a triple to help his team to a 3-0 victory. The win was KT’s second consecutive sweep of the series and paved the way for their escape from last place.
It’s been almost two years since Park had a three-hit game since 26 May 2021 against SSG Landers.
A welcome win. KT has struggled early on this season. Prior to the start of the season, they were picked by most experts to be the favourites or close to winning the autumn baseball title.먹튀검증
But injuries have caught up with them. Injuries to key players, both big and small, have left KT struggling. They went on a long losing streak, losing nine games in a row and six in a row, and were at the bottom of the table.
For captain Park Kyung-soo, this moment is unfamiliar. Playing their first autumn baseball in 2020, winning their first overall title in 2021, and finishing fourth last season, KT has been far from a lowly team in the 2020s.
“Honestly, I didn’t expect it to be this long,” Park said after the game, “and I don’t want to make excuses, but when the main players went down with injuries and the last place became a reality, I had a lot of thoughts. I was also hoping that one or two young players would step up and become the heroes of Nanse, but it didn’t work out,” he said.
“There was an atmosphere where we had to accept reality. I think the players who came up from Futures had a hard time adjusting to the first team because the existing players were injured,” he added.
The more I thought about it, the more I paid attention to the team atmosphere. Being at the bottom of the table didn’t weigh on the team or the players. As always, we tried to keep things upbeat, talk a lot, and create an opportunity to rebound. From my position as captain, I rallied the players.
He said, “I thought about what I would do. I thought, ‘I’m the captain, I’m the oldest, so I have to be cheerful so that the existing players can see that. We had a long losing streak and I thought it would be bad for us to play if we were too dark. We joked a lot and said to each other, ‘It’s okay’. The coach (Lee Kang-chul) and the coaching staff were very understanding. He told us that the most important thing is the team atmosphere.”
Little by little, we’re getting back to the KT we knew. Injured players are returning one by one. With 14 wins, 26 losses and two draws, they are one game behind the ninth-placed Hanwha Eagles (15 wins, 25 losses and three draws) and 3.5 games behind the seventh-placed Samsung Lions (18 wins, 23 losses), their opponents in the three-game weekend series. A sweep of the Samsungs would see them climb into mid-table in one fell swoop.
“We’re still at the bottom, but it can only get better from here. We have a lot of players coming back, including (Hwang) Jae-gyun and (Bae) Jung-dae. I’m looking forward to the future. We have a little over 100 matches left, and we need to make sure we can rebound.”