KT WIZ veteran infielder Hwang Jae-gyun (36) made a costly mistake in the first round of the KBO Playoffs (PO) against the NC Dinos at Katie Wiz Park in Suwon on March 30.
Trailing 0-2 in the top of the third inning, he missed an ordinary infield hit by the opposing team’s leadoff hitter Park Min-woo.
Hwang Jae-gyun’s error led to an unearned run, and KT lost the game 5-9.
In the second game of the PO the next day, Hwang Jae-gyun made another mistake. In the fifth inning, trailing 0-3, he missed Park Min-woo’s grounder.
It wasn’t like Hwang Jae-gyun, who had been through the entire series. Due to the shaky defense, KT lost the second game of the PO with a score of 2-3.
Hwang Jae-gyun managed his facial expression. He played the third game of the PO as if he didn’t care if it would affect the team’s mood.
“He’s definitely a veteran,” KT head coach Lee Kang-cheol said of Hwang Jae-gyun before the fourth game of the PO at Changwon NC Park on March 3, “and he doesn’t mind making mistakes.”
He even joked, “He doesn’t seem to feel sorry for himself.” Lee expressed his trust in Hwang Jae-gyun in an indirect way.
However, Hwang Jae-gyun’s mind was filled with anxiety, apology, and pressure.
In the top of the fourth inning of Game 4, Hwang made a mistake that cost him the leadoff hitter, Son Ah-seop. It was his third error in four games of the series.
Hwang Jae-gyun’s expression was distorted. He raised his hand to apologize to starting pitcher William Cuevas, who was standing on the mound.
Cuevas’ reverse throw prevented Hwang’s error from leading to a run, but Hwang’s expression was still dark.
In the bottom of the first inning, with the score tied at 0-0, Hwang hit a grounder in front of the pitcher. He couldn’t get his head up.
However, Hwang Jae-gyun broke out of a self-inflicted hole that seemed impossible to escape.
With a 3-0 lead and runners on first and third in the top of the second inning, he lined a clean single to left field off the second pitcher of the game, Lee Jae-hak.
With the score 6-0, Hwang Jae-gyun took a changeup from Lee Jae-hak in the top of the fourth inning and blasted a huge home run over the left field fence.
It was a shot that cleanly erased his earlier mistake.
Hwang Jae-gyun didn’t celebrate or make any gestures.
He circled the bases and went into the dugout with a calm expression. It was more of a look of relief than joy.
Behind Hwang’s performance, KT defeated NC 11-2 to even the series at 2-2 and send the series to a best-of-five PO.
Hwang Jae-gyun, who went 2-for-5 with a home run, two RBIs and one run scored in Game 4, will now set his sights on Game 5, which will be held at his home stadium, Suwon Katie Wiz Park, on the 5th. 먹튀검증