“It was exactly what I expected”.
The pregame prediction was spot on. Kia Tigers manager Kim Jong-kook predicted Socrates Brito’s breakout game before the game against the Kiwoom Heroes on Sunday.
Socrates was batting just 2-for-3 with no home runs and four RBIs in August. His batting average for the season dropped to 2-for-8. He struck out 10 times in 52 at-bats. The Athletics trio of Na, Sung-beom, and Choi failed to capitalize on the opportunities they created. The cohesion of the batting lineup also dropped.
Coach Kim said, “It’s been a few days, so it will come out. I’m frustrated, too. It’s going to happen soon. It just needs to happen once. I just want him to do it once in the center.” He was looking forward to their performance. The expectations were quickly realized.
In the bottom of the second inning, with runners on first and second, he hit a leadoff single that rolled into the right field seats. Then, in the sixth inning with a 2-1 lead, Na Sung-bum doubled and was doubled out, which seemed to be the end of his chances, but he launched a solo shot to make the score 3-1. He also earned 2 million won in pocket money by hitting a home run over the ‘ink coffee home run zone’.
The last at-bat was epic. In the top of the eighth inning, with runners on second and third, Lim Ki-young gave up a triple to Song Sung-moon. One inning later, Choi Hyung-woo drew a walk and Kim Sung-jin hit a two-run homer to right-center to tie the game.
Choi roared toward the dugout and raised the energy of his teammates. They capitalized on their chances with Lee Chang-jin’s single to right, Kim Tae-gun’s walk, Park Chan-ho’s infield single, and Kim Do-young’s RBI double to make it 8-4. With the win, the team returned to winning ways and moved into fifth place.
Head coach Kim Jong-kook was thrilled. “After giving up the lead in the top of the eighth inning, we almost gave them the 사설토토 game, but Socrates hit the game-winning two-run homer. He hasn’t been hitting well lately, but he came through when it mattered. He was responsible for four of the team’s RBIs, including a home run in consecutive at-bats,” he said.
“Park Chan-ho and Choi Won-joon set the table and created a lot of chances for us, and it was great to see them stay focused after the deficit and get the extra base hits from Park Chan-ho and Kim Do-young. It’s a shame that Panoni didn’t get the win because he pitched really well. It’s always good to have a starter go more than seven innings, it helps our bullpen. We’re looking forward to more performances like today’s.”