Bae Je-sung started the 2023 professional baseball KBO League away game against the NC Dinos at Changwon NC Park on the 29th and threw 99 balls in 6.1 innings, recording 8 hits, 1 home run, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts, and 1 run, leading KT to an 8-2 victory.
It was a game that showed outstanding crisis management skills. There were crises in the bottom of the first inning with two outs and runners on first and second base, runners on first and second base with no outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, and runners on first and second base with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning, but they wisely passed all the innings without losing a point. In the bottom of the third and fourth innings, he completed the three-way retirement innings, and the only loss was the left-handed solo shot given to leadoff hitter Yoon Hyung-joon in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Bae Je-sung, whom I met after the game, said, “I feel good because I feel like I threw my ball on the mound after a long time. “I will maintain today’s balance until the end of the season and prepare to be more helpful to the team,” he said with a bright smile.
The performance of the batters, who scored 13 hits and 8 points, including Moon Sang-chul’s three-run final in the bottom of the second inning, was also a great help to Bae Je-sung.
He said, “From the beginning of the game, batters gave up points one by one. So even when the runner was in the scoring position, he played with the idea of giving one point and dealing with the next batter. “I pitched confidently because the corner control was good and the balance was good,” he explained.
Bae Je-sung, who started his professional career in 2015 with the designation of the Lotte Giants as the 88th overall in the second ninth round, has been wearing KT’s uniform since the 2017 season. Until last year, his career record was 32 wins, 36 losses, and a 4.13 ERA in 128 games (557.2 innings).
However, Bae Je-sung fell into a deep slump early this year. The ERA in April was 5.32, and in May, it was only 4.41. In June, it seemed to rebound with 2 wins, 1 loss, and a 1.25 ERA, but he struggled against the Daegu Samsung Lions (four runs and three earned runs in four innings) on the 23rd, just before the NC match. Coach Lee Kang-chul and teammate Ko Young-pyo offered a helping hand to Bae Je-sung.
Bae Je-sung said, “Before coming to this expedition, the coach said that my arm seems to be throwing a little lower than when I was good.” So I paid attention to that,” he said. “I talked with (the late) Young Pyo-hyung a few days before the game while watching my pitching video.” Even if I tried to force the movement when it was good, it didn’t come out well. Young Pyo hyung watched it with him from the side and helped him make a good move. As a result, a good balance came out from the first inning. “The director and Young Pyo-hyung’s help was great,” he expressed his gratitude.
KT recorded 43 wins, 2 draws, and 43 losses with a victory on the same day, returning to a 50% winning rate in 99 days since the match against the Doosan Bears in Jamsil on April 21. The ranking is in fifth place without change, but it is only one game away from fourth-place NC (43 wins, 1 draw, 41 losses) and two games away from third-place Doosan Bears (44 wins, 1 draw, 40 losses). At the beginning of the season, he stayed at the bottom due to a severe slump, but he seems to be getting closer to autumn baseball.
In particular, Bae Je-sung will join Sangmu at the end of this season and serve in the military. Since it’s the last season before joining the army, his goals and thoughts must be different.
“There is no personal greed,” he said. “Since it’s my last season before joining the military, I want to go as high as possible with my teammates,” he said adding, “I’ll make sure I can perform well like the 2021 season (KT integrated championship).”