Despite a dazzling performance from starter Choi Seung-yong, the offense struggled and the game headed to extra innings. The Bears utilized four bullpen pitchers, led by Seung-yong, and it was Park Jung-soo (27, Doosan Bears) who came to the rescue in the top of the 11th inning.
Park came into the game with the bases loaded and nobody out in the top of the 11th inning of a 3-3 tie between the Doosan Bears and the Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League 2023 at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul, South Korea, on May 25 and got a triple play to end the game.
In the bottom of the 11th, Doosan capitalized on an error and Kim Jae-ho’s RBI single to win 4-3, giving Park his first win of the season.
The game was hard to predict. Both starting pitchers pitched well, and the game went into the bottom of the ninth inning without a winner.
In the 10th inning of extra innings, Samsung scored a run and seemed to have the game won, but Doosan didn’t give up, scoring one run and taking the game to the 11th inning.
Park Jung-soo. /Photo=Doosan Bears
In the top of the 11th inning, second-year left-hander Lee Byung-hun took the mound. However, with an 0-2 count, he threw four consecutive balls to load the bases, and as if he was aware of the new pinch-hitter, Ahn Joo-hyung, he made a throwing error that went well off the first baseman’s mitt.
The Doosan bench made a move, dropping Lee Byung-heon in favor of right-hander Park Chi-soo. Park Chi-kook and Jung Chul-won had already pitched, and closer Hong Gun-hee, who had pitched two innings, had been pulled after giving up one run in the 10th. Despite a heavy load on his shoulders, Park got Kim Tae-gun to ground out to third base on a sacrifice bunt and then induced Kim Hyun-joon to foul out to left field to preserve the inning.
The phrase “crisis followed by opportunity, opportunity followed by crisis” was apt. After failing to capitalize on the opportunity, Samsung faltered and Doosan took advantage. The leadoff hitter Kim Jae-hwan’s bunt was missed by Samsung’s second baseman Kim Dong-jin, and Lee Tae-hoon missed a grounder outside the first base foul line with runners on first and second. A walk and Kim Jae-ho’s game-tying single to left ended the game in favor of Doosan메이저놀이터.
Doosan players celebrate after Kim Jae-ho’s (right) game-winning hit. /Photo=Dusan Bears
Along with Kim Jae-ho, Doosan head coach Lee Seung-yeop singled out Park Jung-soo for recognition. “On the mound, Park’s guts shined as he pitched a no-hitter in a critical situation,” Lee said.
Park said, “It was a tough situation, but I went to the mound with the determination of ‘I’ll stop it no matter what’. I’m glad I was able to do that,” Park said, adding, “After I closed out the top of the 11th inning, the atmosphere on the bench was eager. I was really cheering for the team’s victory, not my own.”
He has spent more time with the second team than the first team so far this season. Four games and 7⅔ innings are all he’s had until today, but his confidence is second to none. “I’m in good shape, and I don’t have any soreness,” he said. “I’ve always had a good flow, and then I got sick and collapsed, but the training staff has been paying a lot of attention to me, and I’m doing well with my schedule.”
It was a great opportunity for him to make a mark on coach Lee Seung-yup. “It’s true that I was nervous because I didn’t have much experience in important situations,” Park said, “but if I continue to throw well, I will be able to pitch in important situations. I will prepare harder.”