“It’s a time when you can’t (vaguely) think ‘we can go up’. The players should play with a little more desire to win.”
Despite racking up five hits to help KT Wiz snap a three-game losing streak, Park Byung-ho was not happy after the game.
KT won a 14-4 victory over the SSG Landers of the 2023 KBO Baseball League on Thursday at SSG Landers Field in Incheon, South Korea. With the result 먹튀검증, KT avenged a 1-8 loss to SSG the previous day (Nov. 13) and snapped a three-game losing streak, improving its record to 23 wins, two draws and 33 losses.
The game was highlighted by the performance of Park Byung-ho, who started at fourth and first base, and led KT’s offense with three hits, one double, one home run, one walk, and five RBIs.
Park made his presence felt in the top of the first inning. He came to the plate with the bases loaded after three consecutive walks, and he smashed a 135-kilometer fastball from opposing starter Park Jong-hoon over the right field fence for a grand slam.
With momentum on his side, Park drew a walk in the top of the second and came home on Jang Jang-woo’s RBI double.
After taking a breather in the fourth and seventh innings with a grounder to third base and a fly to shortstop, respectively, Park’s bat came alive again in the eighth. After a leadoff triple by Anthony Alford, he lined a sacrifice fly to right field with the bases loaded. He was replaced by Lee Ho-yeon at the start of the bottom of the eighth inning and finished the game.
After the game, Park said, “We had our chances in the first inning, and the home run came with a lot of luck, but we were comfortable as a team starting with four runs. Personally, it was good to have a big inning,” he said. “I knew it was late (timing), but I thought it would go over. I think it was a lucky home run,” he smiled wryly.
This is the 27th time in his KBO career that Park has hit a home run with four batters in the first inning, a rare feat. However, he had already hit a first-inning grand slam while batting fourth against the Suwon Lotte Giants on May 5 last year. This is a feat that has only been accomplished by former Doosan Bears Kim Dong-joo (August 22, 2001 against the Jamsil LG Twins and September 6, 2008 against the Mokdong Heroes) and former Hyundai Unicorns and Samsung Lions players Shim Jung-soo (September 21, 2004 against the Jamsil LG Electronics and April 3, 2005 against the Daegu Lotte Giants).
Nevertheless, Park said, “It doesn’t mean much. What’s really important is that we can’t hit long balls. That’s why I think the team is in the bottom half. I know it’s late, but I want to regain my long ball and contribute to the team scoring runs easily,” Park emphasized.
Park made his professional debut in 2005 and was one of the KBO’s most dominant sluggers with 362 career arches until last year, but he hasn’t had much to smile about this season. A left hamstring injury in late April sidelined him for about two weeks, and he hit just three home runs through May.
“I don’t know,” Park said of his lack of home runs until May. I think my hitting balance was a little off. Even when I got a hit, it didn’t come out cool, and that lasted a long time, so I’m working on it a little more. Fortunately, I got a long hit recently, and I’ve been finding it little by little since then.”
True to his word, Park’s bat has started to heat up in June. He’s hit three home runs in his last five games, including this one.
“My lower body needs to be a little more stable so that my speed can come out and I can hit long balls, so I’m working on that,” he said. “Even if I don’t hit a home run, it’s better to hit a ball with power. That helps me more than a triple,” he said.
Despite the victory, KT is still in ninth place in the standings. As a center fielder, Park Byung-ho also felt a sense of responsibility.
“In the center field, Alford did a good job in the beginning. But I did well on my own. There was an inconsistency in that part. Right now, Kim Sang-soo is doing a good job of creating chances up front, so it would be helpful for the team to get two or three runs from the center fielders.”
Park Byung-ho added, “We have to be concerned about (the team’s ranking). In a tight game, the center fielders need to hit long balls. It is the center fielder’s destiny to produce results. That’s why they get criticized more,” he confessed.
In conclusion, Park said, “What the team really needs now is to win unconditionally, even if it’s by one run. It’s a time when you can’t (vaguely) think ‘we can go up’ when you’re at the bottom of the table,” he said, adding, “It might be overkill, but the players should play with a little more desire to win.” He gave a clear message to his teammates.