SK Wyverns' slugger Han Dong-min surely has a flair for the dramatic, and he put it on full display on Monday to lift his Korea Baseball Organization club to the 2018 Korean Series championship.
Han belted a go-ahead solo homer in the top of the 13th inning for the Wyverns' 5-4 victory over the Doosan Bears in Game 6 of the series at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul.
Han was voted the MVP of the series for his effort. Though he only batted 4-for-21, two of the four hits were home runs and he knocked in four runs. Han earned 30 out of 72 votes from the media.
Han's homers bookended this series. His first blast was a two-run shot in the first inning of Game 1, which the Wyverns won 7-3. He went through a dry spell, but ended it with a bang by hitting the game-winning shot in the 13th inning of the clinching game.
Han also played the hero in the previous playoff series against the Nexen Heroes. It was his walk-off solo homer in extra innings in Game 5 of that series that put the Wyverns in the Korean Series in the first place.
"I am pretty lucky to win this MVP award," Han said in the post-championship ceremony while fighting back tears. "Everyone on the team, from coaches down to the players, worked so hard for this championship."
Han's home run on Monday came with two outs in the 13th against new Doosan pitcher Yoo Hee-kwan, who'd gotten two quick outs. The Wyverns had squandered chances earlier in extra innings, including the bases-loaded opportunity in the 11th. But just when the game seemed destined to head for the bottom 13th, Han put the Wyverns up for good with one swing of the bat.
Han also thanked the Wyverns' relievers for putting up zeroes on the board and giving him a chance to hit the home run. And with the manager Trey Hillman returning home to the United States after this season to be with his family, Han said he was glad to be sending him off with the title.
"We've been talking about winning one for our manager, and to actually do this is really gratifying," Han said. "I was disappointed with my previous at-bat, and I wanted to win the game for the team. And as soon as I made contact, I knew it was going to leave the park." (Yonhap)