KT Wiz’s infield is full of veterans. However, there is not a single player who does not work hard. Kim Sang-soo (33), the youngest member of the infield, was all smiles as he hit his first home run since joining the team.
KT Wiz won 8-4 against the LG Twins in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League away game at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Friday. The win was KT’s fourth straight, improving their record to 34 wins, 2 ties, and 37 losses. The win-loss margin, which was once as low as -14 (on May 18, KT was in 10th place with a record of 10 wins, 2 draws, and 24 losses), is now -3. It’s almost like KT is a miracle team. The team is seventh in the league standings, with a two-game lead over third-place Doosan.
Kim Sang-soo was the star of the show. Kim went 3-for-5 with a home run, three doubles, three RBIs, and two runs scored on the day. Starting at leadoff and shortstop, Kim got things started with a single to left field in the first inning. However, he was unable to cross home plate as he was unable to follow up.
In the third inning, with runners on first and second, he singled to left. He then moved to third on Kim’s single to right-center and sprinted home on Alford’s grounder to first. LG first baseman Austin made a bold throw home (fielder’s choice) after the pitch, but Kim was quick on his feet. The TV broadcast showed KT manager Lee Kang-cheol being surprised to see Kim Sang-soo in the dugout after scoring. Kim Sang-soo was that quick.
In the top of the eighth inning, with his team leading 6-2 and four runs. With runners on first and second, Kim stepped up to the plate. The LG pitcher was Oh Seok-ju. On a 1-2 pitch count, Kim took a four-seam slider (133.7 mph) down the middle of the plate and smashed it over the left field fence for a two-run home run. His first home run of the season. It was also Kim Sang-soo’s first home run since being traded to KT ahead of the season. It was his first home run in 298 days since September 9 last year against Daegu Lotte (against Lee In-bok). According to LG’s club Trackman data, the bat speed was measured at 153.4 kilometers, the distance at 114.8 meters, and the launch angle at 31.8 degrees. In the end, Kim Sang-soo’s blast allowed KT to secure an 8-4 victory.
“The coach said it was fast, so I just laughed, but I don’t think I have slow feet yet,” Kim said of his third inning home run. “I knew it would be difficult to catch the ball because it was spinning a little bit, so I was a little more aggressive, and I think that led to a good result,” he said. It was a comment that showed Kim’s ability to think on his feet.
When asked about the team’s recent uptick in performance, Kim said, “I’m most pleased that we’ve improved from the beginning. The reason I can do so well is because of the coach’s consideration. He talks to me a lot, and when the score difference is big in the second half of the game, he substitutes me first to help me stabilize my physical strength. I don’t have any problems in terms of physical fitness,” he emphasized.온라인바카
KT’s infield consists of Park Byung-ho (37), a 1986-born first baseman, Park Kyung-soo (39), a 1984-born second baseman, Hwang Jae-gyun (36), a 1987-born third baseman, and Kim Sang-soo (1990). Kim Sang-soo is 33 years old. On any other team, he’d be the oldest. But here, he is the youngest. Before the game, Lee Kang-cheol quipped, “If you add up the ages of our infielders, they’re all over 140 years old.”
In fact, the combined age of the four is 145. “When I go out to play, I don’t think about being the youngest at all, but every once in a while I look around and think, ‘Oh, I’m young!’ (laughs) There’s no reason not to work hard just because you’re older. Every athlete tries to work hard. Any baseball player wants to wear the uniform for a long time. I think I’ve gotten a lot of that from being on this team. I look around and see older guys who can play longer. I also feel a lot from that,” he said sincerely. With the veterans leading by example, KT is now eyeing a third place finish.