KIA Tigers’ Na Sung-bum started as right fielder and third batter in Game 11 of the season against the Doosan Bears in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on the 6th and flew two RBIs and one walk in four at-bats.
Na Sung-bum suffered a calf injury while returning to KIA after the World Baseball Classic (WBC) and preparing for the regular season. Initially, Na Sung-bum’s injury did not seem to be very long. However, Na Sung-bum began to be prolonged more than expected, and he devoted himself to rehabilitation until mid-June. As a result, he returned to the first division only after facing the KT Wiz on June 23.
While Na Sung-bum was away, KIA was very weak with three wins and seven losses this season against Doosan before the game on the 6th. In particular, he was literally tied up by Doosan’s “Native Ace” Kwak Bin. Kwak Bin pitched in two games against KIA this year and was very strong with two wins, no losses, and a 1.54 ERA. However, this was a story when there was no ‘Kwakbin Natural Enemy’ Na Sung-beom.
Na Sung-bum started the game in a good mood by getting a walk against Doosan’s “native ace” Kwak Bin in the first at-bat with one out and runners on first base in the top of the first inning. And in his second at-bat, he properly showed off his ‘killer’ instinct. Na Sung-bum held out his bat without hesitation when Kwak Bin’s third 122km curve was formed high in the middle of the strike zone in the third inning with one out and runners on second base.
Na Sung-bum’s hit hit well enough to feel that he headed out of the fence as soon as he left the bat, and the ball that stretched as fast as 176.7km hit 124.9m and was stuck in the stands toward the right fielder, leading to a two-run home run. 15th home run of the season. With this home run, Na Sung-bum became the third player to hit a home run against the previous team this season.
His performance did not stop here. Na Sung-beom once again clashed with Kwak Bin in the top of the fourth inning without a runner with one out and a big lead of 5-0, and after a persistent game to nine pitches, he hit a 146km fastball to right field to complete a “multi-hit.” And when Choi Hyung-woo hit a double, he settled on the third base and stepped on Socrates Brito’s wedge timely home run.
Na Sung-beom later failed to produce additional hits at-bat, but it had no effect on KIA’s victory. Based on Na Sung-bum’s winning home run, KIA defeated Doosan 7-1, widening the gap to four games. In addition, he has won nine consecutive games in 3730 days since the match against the Nexen Heroes (currently Kiwoom) in Mokdong on June 8, 2013 and the Hanwha Eagles in Daejeon on the 20th.
Na Sung-beom, who met with reporters after the game, said, “The team is winning consecutive games, and I feel good because I scored the first run and helped. “I never thought of a home run against the previous team,” he said. “I’ve been thinking of something good against Kwak Bin.” I also thought a lot about how I played last year while watching the video. This year was the first time we met, and overall, I had a good sense of hitting, so my focus on my swing led to good results,” he said with a smile. 스포츠토토
Na Sung-bum, whose home run pace has recently reached its peak. Starting with a showdown with the NC Dinos on the 31st of last month, Na Sung-bum has drawn an arch in three consecutive games, and has recorded four home runs in the last five games as he also operated a home run the previous day. Although he had a long hiatus due to an injury early in the season, he was not helpful to the team, but he is adding great strength at the most important time when he can aim to advance to the postseason.
Na Sung-beom said, “I’ve hit a lot of home runs so far, but I’ve never hit it with the thought of hitting a home run.” As he was hit by a regular hit, he gained strength, and the ball went far away, leading to a home run. However, these days, I have a good feeling since I started batting training, and it seems to continue,” he said with a big smile, adding, “I think it’s meaningful for the team to win nine consecutive games in 10 years.”
Last year’s postseason was a ‘nightmare’ for KIA. That’s why he took the fall stage, but he had a hard time in just one game. KIA is currently ranked fifth, but the gap with second-place KT is only three games. It is not an easy interval to narrow, but it is also not impossible. If the good atmosphere continues, they can aim for direct to the playoffs (PO) as second place.
Na Sung-bum said, “The atmosphere is so good. No matter which team you meet, I don’t think you’ll lose in the current atmosphere, he said. “People around me say it’s impossible to win the first place. But I think it’s quite possible. I will really do my best to make the impossible possible, he said. “I want to go up further this year and play a lot of games (in the fall).”