Son Dong-hyun (22-KT) met with reporters on the field in late August, eager for his first postseason appearance. KT made the fall baseball playoffs for three consecutive years from 2020 to last year, and won the overall title in 2021, but Son wasn’t there when he joined the Commerce in March 2021.굿모닝토토 주소
“I didn’t make the roster in 2020, I won the title in 2021, and last year I didn’t make the roster after I was transferred at the end of September,” Son said at the time. “My roommate (Bae) Je-seong asked my brother how it felt to play fall baseball, and my brother said, ‘My average fastball was 144 kilometers, but when I went to fall baseball, it became 148 kilometers. It’s really crazy,” he said. I want to feel that way too,” he said.
With KT’s second-place finish in the regular season, Son was named to the playoff roster and finally realized his dream of reaching the postseason for the first time in his career. He appeared in all five games against the NCs, going 1-0 with a 0 ERA (seven scoreless innings) and a “crazy pitching performance” to lead the team to a reverse sweep and a spot in the Korean Series. For his efforts, Son was named the Playoff MVP (with a prize of 3 million won), receiving 39 of 71 votes (54.9%) from the media.
“I pitched all the games in this series, and I’m so happy to have turned the tide,” said Son, who threw two scoreless innings of relief in Game 5. “There’s nothing hard about it now. I’m so happy that I helped lead the team to victory,” he said with a bright smile.
When asked if he had series MVP aspirations, he said, “I’m not going to lie, I just wanted to win. In fact, I was so nervous yesterday (Day 4) that I didn’t sleep well. I just wanted to win, and that’s why I came here.”
Son was selected by KT with the 21st overall pick in the third round of the 2019 KBO Draft out of Seongnam High School. He made a strong impression in his debut season, going 2-3 with a 4.75 ERA in 34 games and five starts, and he appeared in 23 games the following year, but didn’t have the same impact. After missing out on the playoffs in 2020, Son Dong-hyun headed to the Armed Forces Athletic Corps (Commerce) in March 2021 to fulfill his military service obligation.
Son Dong-hyun, who was discharged from the military in September last year, formed the KT tailgate trio with Park Young-hyun and Kim Jae-yoon in his first full-time season. Son’s season record was 8-5, 1 save, 15 holds, and a 3.42 ERA in 64 games, establishing him as an “any-call” pitcher who can be called upon in any situation, whether it’s a must-win, chase, or long relief role in his fourth year. All of his numbers are career highs, and his innings pitched ranks fifth all-time among relievers (73⅔ innings).
Playing his first fall baseball, Son appeared in all five games of the playoffs, resulting in an ERA of 0. He started with a one-hit, two-strikeout performance in Game 1, followed by a two-hit, one-strikeout performance in Game 2, a one-hit shutout in Game 3, and a one-hit shutout in Game 4. If Park is a pitcher who is in charge of making sure the game is won, Son Dong-hyun is a pitcher who is in charge of making sure the game is won.
“I thought he was going to win the MVP,” said Lee Kang-cheol, “I didn’t think he would be this good, but I think the experience of filling in for Park Young-hyun at the end of the season helped a lot. Even in the Blue-Black game, I saw him the most. I used it well, and I think he did a good job.” He applauded.
“When we lost the first two games, I had some muscle soreness the day after the game, but that went away after we won. My body felt light and I wanted to keep going,” he said, adding, “It was good to fill the gap left by Park Young-hyun. I felt like I prepared really well for the playoffs and gained a lot of confidence, and that led to good results.”
“I felt it myself,” said Son Dong-hyun, laughing, “In the regular season, when I pitched multi-inning games, I had a bad second inning, but now I don’t care about that. I don’t even feel tired when the count goes up,” he said.
Next up for Son is regular-season leader LG, which is looking to win its first Korean Series title in 29 years. After a one-day break on the 6th, the long-awaited Game 1 will be held on the 7th at LG’s home field, Jamsil Stadium in Seoul. To beat LG, which has a stronger batting lineup than NC, the team will once again need a “crazy performance” from Son Dong-hyun.
“It feels like a dream to win the playoffs right now,” said Son. “I’m looking forward to the Korean Series because I don’t know what it’s going to be like. The team atmosphere is very good, so I think we’ll have a good game against LG.” He expressed his determination to carry the momentum of the playoffs into the Korean Series.