The two teams that will face off in the semi-finals are set. The NC Dinos, who swept the Doosan Bears in one game, will meet the SSG Landers, with whom they battled to the end of the regular season.
NC, led by Kang Myung-hyun, won the first game of the wild-card deciding series against Doosan in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League Postseason on April 19 at Changwon NC Park, 14-9, to advance to the semifinals without having to play a second game.
Down 0-3 through three innings, Seo Ho-cheol’s walk-off home run in the bottom of the fourth inning turned the tide. Right after Seo’s home run, Kim Hyung-jun followed with a home run of his own, giving NC the momentum with a back-to-back. After conceding the tying run, but taking advantage of Doosan’s shaky mound, NC scored six runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, including another home run by Kim Hyung-jun, to overtake Doosan and take the win.
The semi-playoffs, which begin on the 21st, await SSG, who finished the regular season in third place. The two teams battled all the way to the end of the regular season for a direct ticket to the semifinals. At the end of the regular season, the five postseason teams were set, but the order was still up in the air. In early October, NC’s third-place finish was a strong possibility, but the team went 1-4 in their five SSG games in October.
Despite NC’s advantage, SSG swept Doosan in their final two games, while NC lost both to the KIA Tigers, sending SSG directly to the semi-finals in third place, with NC in fourth and Doosan in fifth. NC swept Doosan and would meet SSG again in the semifinals. Coincidentally, their regular season record is tied at 8-8.
After the final game of the regular season on July 17, SSG took a short break and is now training for fall baseball. With a direct ticket to the semi-playoffs, the team was able to take the time to recover properly and play their first game of fall baseball without being too out of shape.
“We were thinking that both (Doosan and NC) are good teams, so we are focusing on our team’s situation and strength rather than preparing for any team,” said Kim Won-hyung.
“The bullpen pitchers focused on rest and recovery, and the starting pitchers who need game sense are trying to improve their condition through live batting training. The outfielders are focusing on team play.” 스포츠토토
Last year, SSG became the first team in KBO history to win a “wire-to-wire” championship, never relinquishing first place from the opening game to the final game. By comparison, this season has been a bit of a disappointment. However, they finished the regular season as high as they could with a scary comeback.
SSG had a disastrous September with a record of 6-2-2 and 15 losses, dropping them from second place in August to sixth place. With a seemingly endlessly sinking mood, it was thought that they wouldn’t even make the postseason, but SSG rebounded with a 12-2 record in 12 games in October. With third or fourth place on the line, they swept Dusan 5-0 in the regular season finale on October 17.
“At the end of the regular season, we entered the semi-playoffs with a good mood, focus, and unified will to win,” said coach Kim Won-hyung, “and we will prepare well to continue to show that in this series.”