The rise of the Kiwoom Heroes in the KBO is frightening

The rise of the Kiwoom Heroes in the Korean Baseball Organization is frightening.

Last year’s lowest-ranked team, and this year’s lowest-ranked team, Kiwoom lost four games in a row to open the year. But they’ve since rebounded with a win over last year’s champions LG, two straight wins over Samsung, and a three-game sweep of Hanwha, who had a scary start to the year. The seven-game winning streak has moved them up to third place. They are one game behind first-place NC (9-4).

Against LG, they demolished Im Chan-kyu, who won the most games by a homegrown pitcher in the league last year (14), and Kelly, who has been playing in the KBO for six years. Against Samsung, they continued their winning streak with wins over No. 1 starter Conner and Korean ace Won Tae-in.

In the three-game series against Hanwha, the team won all three games against the No. 1 through No. 3 starters Ryu Hyun-jin, Peña, and Kim Min-woo. During the seven-game winning streak, they scored seven or more runs in six games. The game against Hanwha on July 7 was a pitcher’s duel.

They won 4-3 in 11 innings of extra innings.

Against Hanwha, Kim Hye-sung hit a solo home run to tie the game in the first inning and then hit the game-winning home run against Itaewyang in the 11th inning of extra innings to extend their winning streak to seven games.

After the game, Kim said, “Honestly, I don’t understand baseball. The 10th-ranked team beats the first-ranked team in baseball, so in that sense, we don’t care about external evaluations, and we are preparing well by doing our own thing and practicing hard,” she said when asked about the secret of the recent winning streak.

She went on to say that the team atmosphere is good. “I think the atmosphere was a bit bad in the beginning when we lost a series of games, 안전놀이터 추천 but many seniors, including (Lee) Won-seok, gave us good words, so the atmosphere changed and we were able to continue our winning streak,” Kim said.

“I think I told my teammates that if you do your best on the field, you can’t be good in all 144 games of baseball, so if you do your best, you’ll win some days and lose some days,” the captain added.

Kiwoom, which finished last last year, has lost a number of players this season.

Ahn Woo-jin and Lee Jung-hoo, the core of last year’s two-hitter, are gone. Ahn had elbow surgery and joined the army. He will return in the middle of the 2025 season. Lee signed a six-year, $113 million contract with the San Francisco Giants last winter and is now playing in the American big leagues.

Pitcher Lim Chang-min (Samsung) and catcher Lee Ji-young (SSG), who became free agents, left for other teams. On the pitching staff, last year’s free agent signings Won Jong-hyun and Jeong Chan-heon are rehabbing after surgery. Rookie Jang Jae-young is also out with an injury.

Foreign pitchers Hurado and Heisus struggled in the first game, but have pitched well in two consecutive games. Ha Young-min and Kim Sun-ki have also pitched well in the last two games, solidifying the starting pitching staff, which has been the biggest area of concern. The team’s batting lineup has been evenly matched with Lee Joo-hyung, Dawson, Kim Hye-sung, Choi Joo-hwan, Lee Hyung-jong, and Kim Hwi-jip. “The batting lineup is connecting well,” Hong said.

Still, the seven-game winning streak is a surprise early in the season.

“It’s only been 10 games, but there are still 134 games left in the season, and a losing streak can come at any time during the season… I think it’s more important that we keep our composure during the winning streak or the losing streak and continue to do what we need to do,” Hong said before the game against Hanwha on Sunday.

“I don’t care about the public opinion, and I think the players have become numb to it. It’s like that every year. I’ve been emphasizing since camp, ‘This year, there’s no place to fall to the bottom anymore. Let’s go for it with confidence,’ and that’s what I’ve been telling them since camp. We have to stay calm, keep our composure and do our best every game,” he said.

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