The Korea Herald

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Samsung Lions run away with league title

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Published : Sept. 28, 2011 - 16:07

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The Samsung Lions have won the pennant race title in the country’s top professional league for the first time in five years.

After winning the game against the Doosan Bears 5-3 on Tuesday, the Daegu-based club improved their record to 76-47 to claim the regular-season title. And with the title, they have now secured an automatic berth for the best-of-seven Korean Series, starting on Oct. 24.

Since the Korea Baseball Organization started in 1982, the Lions have won three consecutive regular-season titles from 1985 to 1987 and two titles in 2005 and 2006. But they have failed to reclaim the top spot since 2006. 
Samsung Lions players and officials celebrate after winning the KBO league championship at Jamsil Stadium on Tuesday. (Yonhap News) Samsung Lions players and officials celebrate after winning the KBO league championship at Jamsil Stadium on Tuesday. (Yonhap News)

When former manager Sun Dong-yeol, a legendary pitcher, stepped down after six years last year, many doubted that the Lions would see much success this season.

But Ryu Joong-il, who took the helm at the end of 2010, managed to pull the team together.

He played for the Lions from 1987 to 1998 and served as a coach for the team until 2010 before making his debut as a manager this season.

Ryu said on Tuesday that he was now aiming to win the team’s fifth Korean Series.

“I have a pretty good feeling that we can win the title. We have many good players and they played very well this season,” he said.

With less than two weeks to go before the start of the post-season, SK Wyverns and Lotte Giants are in a tight battle for the runner-up spot, with the KIA Tigers running closely behind the two teams.

“Lotte has good hitters, SK has good left-handed pitchers and KIA also has good pitchers. But I don’t have any preference. We can play any team in the Korean Series,” Ryu said.

By Oh Kyu-wook (596story@heraldcorp.com)