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SEO HO-CHUL’S UNFORGETTABLE ‘FIRST FALL’ WILDCARD MVP

All firsts are hard to forget, but NC Dinos infielder Ho-cheol Seo’s first fall baseball experience was one of them .Seo stepped to the plate with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth inning with the Doosan Bears trailing 0-3 in Game 1 of the Wild Card (WC) Decision at Changwon NC Park on Sept. 19.Seo pulled a 149-kilometer-per-hour fastball from opposing starter Kwak Bin for a grand slam to left field .Kim Hyung-jun followed with a solo shot, giving Seo the first back-to-back home runs in a wild-card game since the format was introduced in 2015 .In the bottom of the seventh inning, trailing 6-5, Seo was the first player up to bat. The NC fans chanted “10-run home run,” and Seo responded with a two-run double over the left field fence. With that, Seo reached the six-hit plateau for the first time ever in a wild-card game, setting a record for the most RBIs in a single game. The “first” wasn’t the only one.

It was the first postseason game for Seo, who joined the team in 2019, and the first fall baseball game for NC at Changwon NC Park, which opened in 2019.Seo was not on the field for the 2019 Wild Card Game at Jamsil Stadium and was serving in the military with the Commerce Baseball Team when they won the 2020 championship. In 2020, the postseason was held at a neutral venue, Gocheok Sky Dome, due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, so NC fans were unable to witness their much-awaited first championship. In 2021 and 2022, NC didn’t make it to the top five. It’s also a significant achievement for Seo, who has had a tumultuous year .Seo, who started the 2023 season in the first team after being labeled a perennial prospect, was plagued by injury throughout the season.

On April 15, he was placed on the disabled list with his first “head shot” of the season, and on August 5, after a triple-digit batting average, he tore a ligament in his left pinky finger while running the bases. Later in the season, on September 24, he was hit by another pitch and broke his nose, and on September 9, he tore a ligament in his ankle, which kept him out of the lineup until the end of the season .That left him with a .287 batting average (114-for-397) in 114 games this season, a “career high,” but he didn’t get enough plate appearances. However, he made up for it with a strong day at the plate After going 4-for-3 with a home run, six RBIs, and two runs scored in the 14-9 win, Seo was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Wild Card Game. It’s also his first career award. Kim Hyung-jun also had an MVP-caliber performance on the day, going 2-for-5 with a double , 스포츠토토존 two home runs, four RBIs and two runs scored, but he had to give way to the “crazy guy” Seo.

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