Kiwoom Heroes advances to second round of playoffs


Lee Jung-hoo poses after his successful hit

On Oct. 22, the Kiwoom Heroes beat the KT Wiz and advanced to face the LG Twins during the second round of the playoffs which will occur in the last week of October.

The regular KBO playoff season ended with KT Wiz in fourth place and Kiwoom Heroes in third. The team that wins the best of five games is to enter the next round against the team that placed second—this year being LG Twins—during the regular season.

The Heroes won the opening game 8-4 on Oct. 16, while the Wiz won the next one 2-0 the following day. On Oct. 19, the Heroes beat the Wiz 9-2, but lost the next day 6-9. With the series tied, the two teams entered the decisive fifth game.

Game 5 was held at Gocheok Sky Dome, the home of the Heroes. Both teams started their best pitcher, Wes Benjamin for the Wiz and An Woo-jin for the Heroes. The Wiz led 1-0 during the first inning, but the Heroes quickly caught up during the second, with Jeon Byeong-woo’s triple bringing Yasiel Puig from second base to home. 

However, the score did not stay tied for long, as Anthony Alford from the Wiz scored a solo home run during the third inning. The Wiz held the lead until the fourth inning when Heroes’s Song Sung-mun hit a two-run homer, living up to his title “Mr. October” once again. Song was given this nickname after receiving the postseason MVP for three consecutive years.

The Heroes extended the lead with another point in the fifth, as Benjamin threw a wild pitch, allowing Heroes’s Lee Yong-kyu to pass the home plate from third base. With Jang Seong-woo’s hit letting Alford run in home from second base, the Wiz closed the gap and made it a one-point game in the eighth.

The Heroes’s closing pitcher Kim Jae-woong, however, sealed the game by preventing the Wiz from scoring further, ending with the score 4-3.

An Woo-jin, who started for the Heroes two games during the postseason, was awarded MVP for the series. He pitched six successful scoreless innings on the 16th and gave only two points on the 22nd. Across the two games, he had a total of 17 strikeouts despite pitching 12 innings.

During the first two games against the Twins, the Heroes will play at LG’s Jamsil Baseball Stadium. The remaining games will then be hosted at the Gocheok dome. The winner of this second round will face the pennant-winning SSG Landers in the Korean Series, which will take place starting Nov. 1.

“I think that the games between the Heroes and the Wiz were particularly exciting this year because the results were really unpredictable,” Eric Chang (12), avid baseball fan, said. “Both teams did really well, and I can’t wait to see how Heroes goes against the Twins.”