The moment when even the ‘150SV pitcher’ sweated… “I think I was more nervous.”￼
- on Jul 12, 2023
A situation came that could feel somewhat burdensome for the finishing pitcher, from the firefighting extinguishment to the fielder’s mistake. However, Kim Jae-yoon, the closer of the KT Wiz, remained calm and gave the team victory.
KT won 4-3 in an away game against Kiwoom Heroes in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League held at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on the 12th, secured a winning series, and succeeded in recapturing 7th place.
The flow was not smooth as the batting line only scored 4 runs even after all the starters achieved hits, but the bullpen pitchers’ good fight against starter William Cuevas led to victory.
The last inning was the biggest hurdle. In the bottom of the ninth inning, when the team was leading by one point, Kim Jae-yoon made a relief mound and allowed a hit to Joo Seong-won, the first batter. In addition, during the sacrifice bunt by follow-up hitter Kim Jun-wan, first baseman Park Byeong-ho made a mistake by not being able to properly catch the ball in a hurry, and the crisis of safe first and second base pressured Kim Jae-yoon.안전놀이터
Kim Jae-yoon caught a straight hit from follow-up batter Kim Hye-seong, threw to first base, and caught first base runner Kim Jun-wan. He seemed to breathe a sigh as he instantly filled up two out counts, but after sending Lee Jeong-hoo with an automatic 4-ball, he sent Lim Ji-yeol out with a ball that fit the body, causing a crisis with two outs.
It was a situation where the game could have ended with one hit, but the ending was a ‘happy ending’ anyway. Kim Jae-yoon blocked Kim Woong-bin’s ground ball with his body, then threw the ball to first base and got the last out. Only then could KT and Kim Jae-yoon breathe a sigh of relief.
After the game, Kim Jae-yoon expressed his feelings, “I was in very good condition, but I gave up hits from the first batter, and the course was not good, so the fans and the coach must have been anxious.” At that time, he asked, “Will you play with (Lee) Jeong-hoo or the next batter (Lim Ji-yeol)?” It seemed that a right-handed batter (Lim Ji-yeol) would be more comfortable than a left-handed (Lee Jung-hoo), and he came up to ask about that. “I looked back.
As a result, choosing to fight Lim Ji-yeol almost became poison. Kim Jae-yoon said, “Originally, I don’t throw the ball that fits my body well. Catcher (Jang) Seong-woo-hyung reversely signed a splitter, but I tried to throw it accurately, so I think I threw it wrong.” “he said.
Kim Jae-yoon, who pitched in relief the previous day and threw 8 balls, was responsible for the last two days in a row, and recorded 151 saves following his 150 saves.
Kim Jae-yoon said, “Since I made a lot of (save), I felt good myself. I am proud of myself because I think that I have endured and done so far. I try to save as many as possible,” he smiled.
This season, Kim Jae-yoon’s power is also shown in numbers. At the end of the first half, Kim Jae-yoon’s season average ERA is 1.60, and his on-base percentage (WHIP) per inning is only 0.86.
Kim Jae-yoon said, “I prepared the same every year, and I think I paid more attention to my body care so that I didn’t get sick as much as possible and my pitch didn’t drop. It’s an important season, so I think my mindset is slightly different from before. ‘I have to focus more and throw’. I think this is how the result came out because I thought like this,” he said.
Jaeyoon Kim’s season is not over yet. The same goes for the team that has not let go of hope for fall baseball. Kim Jae-yoon promised, “I think I need to prepare well so that I can throw more stably and in better condition in the second half by resting well and preparing well.”