Moon Sung-ju of the LG Twins speaks to reporters at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Sunday, ahead of Game 3 of the first round in the Korea Baseball Organization postseason. (Yonhap)
At the 2017 rookie draft in South Korean baseball, Moon Sung-ju was selected 97th overall by the LG Twins, with only three players coming after him.
Few would have given Moon any chance of even making it to the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), let alone thriving in the league. But here he is in November 2021, wielding a hot bat for the Twins in a postseason series against their Seoul rivals, Doosan Bears.
In two games in the first round, all tied at one game apiece, Moon has batted 3-for-7 with a double and three RBIs and two walks.
He's tied for the club lead in RBIs in the series.
Moon only appeared in 31 games in the regular season this year and batted a meager .228, making his emergence in the postseason that much more surprising.
"Moments I'd only dreamed about have come true in the postseason," Moon said in his pregame press conference Sunday at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul, where the Twins and the Bears were to play the deciding game of the best-of-three showdown.
"I was nervous in the first two games, but I tried to show everything I'd worked for," the 24-year-old said. "Honestly, I didn't think I would even get into the starting lineup in both games. But all I can do now is to keep doing what I've been doing."
On the opposite side, veteran catcher Park Sei-hyok has been the best hitter for the Bears this fall. He's 3-for-5 with an RBI and a steal in this series, after batting 2-for-7 with two RBIs in the wild card games last week.
"I was swinging the bat well late in the season, and I've been trying to maintain that feeling," Park said. "I've been watching a lot of films from some of my better games over the last couple of years. I usually bat in the lower part of the lineup and so I try to get on base as much as I can."
The 31-year-old catcher also has to lead a young pitching staff from behind the plate. The Bears will be without their top two starters, Ariel Miranda and Walker Lockett, for the rest of the playoffs, no matter how deep they advance, because of injuries. But Park said he didn't want to make any excuse.
"We still have to play baseball without them. The guys that are here have been pitching well," Park said. "We may be shorthanded, but we don't want to hear anyone say we lost the series because we didn't have Miranda and Lockett." (Yonhap)