A team that was favored to finish last returned to fall baseball three years after its 2020 unified championship season as the NC Dinos secured fifth place.
NC won 8-4 against the LG Twins at NC Park in Changwon on April 13. With the win, NC remained in fourth place with a record of 74 wins, 65 losses and two ties. They also moved three games clear of sixth-place KIA (71 wins, 69 losses, and 2 ties), securing fifth place regardless of the remaining games. It was the team’s return to fall baseball after a three-year hiatus following their 2020 unified championship.
After taking over as acting head coach last year following the resignation of former head coach Lee Dong-wook, Kang won recognition for his leadership as the team competed in fall baseball until the very end, posting a record of 58 wins, 50 losses and three ties. He signed a formal managerial contract with the NC after last season for a total of 1 billion won ($250 million in signing bonus and $250 million in annual salary) for three years.
However, there were cracks in the team after the departure of key players such as Yang Yang-ji (Doosan), Noh Jin-hyuk (Lotte), and Won Jong-hyun (Kiwoom), who became free agents after the end of last season. Everyone picked NC to finish last this year. However, the team gradually solidified itself under the leadership of head coach Kang In-hwa. Add to that the overwhelming performance of foreign ace Eric Peddie, the resurgence of Son As-seob, the health of Park Geon-woo and Park Min-woo, and the reorganization of the pitching staff, and the team made it to the fall baseball in the first year of the new coach’s appointment. Based on Kang’s tenacity, NC became a strong team again.
On the day, NC laid the foundation for the win with Tanner’s six innings of three-hit ball (one home run), two walks, one strikeout, and one earned run. Kim Sung-wook, who came on as a substitute, finished his final appearance of the regular season with his fifth win (two losses), and Choi Jung-won, who went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored, completed the sweep, despite missing starters like Park Gun-woo and Kwon Hee-dong.
On this day, NC was able to hit the ball out of the park. Despite a seven-run deficit against Tanner, they showed their determination to win by putting in all of their best pitchers, including Ryu Jin-wook and Kim Young-gyu. It was the plan of manager Kang In-hwa to tie up the game once and for all. Although Lee Yong-chan faltered in the bottom of the ninth and gave up three runs, it was enough to secure the win and a return to the postseason.
After the game, Kang said, “Tanner pitched six innings to set the stage for the win. The bats were focused early in the game and came through with big innings. We will prepare well to play a good game with our fans in our last home game of the season tomorrow.”
Tanner, who is expected to be a one-two punch in the postseason alongside Eric Peddy, finished his regular season with the win. “The bats got us a lot of runs early and we played good defense, which helped us a lot,” he said. “We really needed the win with the standings battle going on, and I think it paid off because I tried to go into the game with a relaxed mindset rather than feeling the pressure of being the starter,” said Tanner.
“I joined the NC Dinos in the middle of the season and I think I had a really good experience in the KBO until today’s game. I was able to play with a good teammate and get a good result. Now we have to prepare for the postseason, and I don’t think we’ll do anything differently than the regular season. I would like to thank the fans for always coming to the stadium and supporting us.”토토사이트
Kim Sung-wook, who filled the gap in the outfield with a three-hit performance, said, “I stepped in for an injured player in a tough situation for the team, and I’m glad that both I and the team got good results. I think there are times when hitting is good and times when it’s not. It’s very helpful to have batting coaches Song Ji-won, Jeon Min-soo, and Park Dae-on always giving me good words. Even if I don’t feel like hitting well, I don’t put pressure on myself and try to think positively. “There are only three games left and I don’t know if I will play or not, but if I do, I will do my best to produce good results like today,” she said.
NC will play its final home game against Samsung on the 15th before traveling to Gwangju for a two-game series against KIA on the 16th and 17th to close out the regular season.