The game could have ended with a victory, but LG fans were left heartbroken, while the victorious NC fans were left with a sour aftertaste.
The NC Dinos rallied for a 7-5 victory in their 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League home game against the LG Twins at NC Park in Changwon on April 26, led by Kwon Hee-dong’s dramatic three-run shot two batters into the bottom of the ninth inning.
With the win, NC, which secured a 14-1 blowout victory on May 25, continued its upward trend and improved to 54 wins, 49 losses and two draws. NC remains in fourth place, one and a half games clear of fifth-place Dusan. They have three games in hand on third-place SSG Landers. LG, on the other hand, has lost two straight games to fall to 65 wins, 40 losses and two draws. They remain atop the league standings, but are now 5.5 games behind second-place KT, who won on the same day.
LG and NC traded one run in the fourth inning, and it was LG’s Adam Plutko who was the first of the starting pitchers to leave the mound. He complained of discomfort in his left adductor (inner thigh muscle) and was removed for protection. In the fifth inning, LG brought in the bullpen, and in the sixth inning, they capitalized on NC starter Tanner and reliever Kim Young-gyu to score four runs. 5-1 lead. The game seemed to be tilted in LG’s favor.
NC fought back in the bottom of the sixth with a storming grounder. Two batters later, Kim Ju-won hit a liner to left field. LG left fielder Moon Sung-joo tried to make a sliding catch after the ball was one-bounced, but he was caught behind the plate. With a four-run lead on the line, it would have been nice to have a more solid throw, but Kim Joo-won rounded third base and swept home for a grounder. It was his third groundball in the KBO this season and 93rd in his KBO career. He also became the fourth youngest player in history to hit a ground ball. It was 5-2, and in the eighth, Do Tae-hoon hit a solo shot to make it 5-3, but LG still had the advantage.
And the bottom of the ninth. NC’s last offense. Still down by two runs. LG’s pitcher was ‘closer’ Ko Woo-seok. It was obviously going to be difficult for NC to overturn. Goh Woo-seok got the leadoff hitter, Kim Hyung-joon, to fly out to right field and then got Son Ah-seob to ground out to third. Two outs. One out to win the game. Park Min-woo kept the hopes alive with a single to right-center. However, Go Woo-seok induced Park Gun-woo to ground out to second, and Shin Min-jae tossed to Oh Ji-hwan to end the inning with three outs and the game seemingly over. Some NC fans were packing their bags.
But then, second base umpire Yoon Sang-won made a gesture with both hands pointing up, indicating that the game was not over. The replay showed Yoon loudly shouting, “My foot was hit.” In the slow motion video, the ball grazed Yoon’s shoe and deflected slightly. Shin Min-jae quickly changed the direction of his glove in a split second and made a good catch and threw to second base, but the game was not over. The umpire took the microphone and said on the field, “The ball hit the umpire’s leg, so the runners will advance one by one on the upstroke.” For LG fans, it was an unfortunate moment when an ordinary grounder that should have ended the game was turned into a hit.
KBO Baseball Rule 5.06 (c) Dead Balls on the Basepaths states, “A ball is dead when: “A runner advances one base or returns to his original base. No runner shall be out in the interim,’ of which paragraph (6) reads, ‘If a fair ball that does not reach an infielder (including the pitcher) is hit by a runner or umpire in fair territory, or if a fair ball that does not pass an infielder (other than the pitcher) is hit by an umpire – each runner whose base must be cleared by the batter becoming a runner shall advance.’ The [bookkeeping] then reads, “If a batted ball passes the pitcher and is hit by an umpire standing in the infield, the ball is dead.
The bizarre sequence continued. The next batter, Martin, hit a hard grounder to center field in front of Oh Ji-hwan. Park Min-woo came home to make it a one-run game, 5-4. With two outs and runners on first and third, Kwon Hee-dong stepped up to the plate. After a full-count battle with Ko Woo-seok, Kwon took a 156-kilometer fastball in the middle of the sixth pitch and smashed it over the left field fence for his fifth home run of the season (120 meters). The LG fans were devastated after witnessing the shocking defeat. Of course, umpire Yoon didn’t intentionally stick his leg out to hit the ball. However, the victorious NC fans also expressed their joy, but also their frustration at the same time. With the victory, NC improved its record to 7-6 against LG this season. So far, NC is the only team with a better head-to-head record against LG this season.메이저놀이터
After the game, head coach Kang “Seung-Jang” Myung-hwa said, “Today, the entire team and the fans who came to the ballpark to support us were able to win with their desire to win and not give up until the end. Congratulations to Kwon Hee-dong for his game-winning home run. We will prepare well to continue our winning streak on the 27th.”