“I came when I was 8th last year, but I went to fall baseball” 11th day, 1.4 billion foreigners believe in miracles
The miracle of 2022 that advanced from 8th to the postseason. KT foreign hitter Anthony Alford has faith that KT will reproduce the miracle of that time again this year.
KT won 6-1 in the 4th game of the season against Doosan in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League held at Suwon KT Wiz Park on the 19th. As a result of this day, they escaped from 2 consecutive losses and overcame the baseline of 3 consecutive matches, narrowing the ride with 9th place Hanwha to 1.5 games. Season 11 wins, 2 draws, 24 losses, 10th place.
The protagonist 안전놀이터of the victory was Alford. As the sluggishness continued, the batting order went down to 6, but he rebounded with 2 hits (1 home run) and 3 RBIs in 4 at-bats, leading to his escape from losing streak. Hitting a wedge that widened the gap with the final home run, he wiped out the sluggish batting average in the last 10 games.
Alford hit a 2-run homer that broke the balance in the 4th inning when the match was 1-1. With the appearance, he hit the curve (112km) in the middle of the first pitch of Doosan starter Choi Seung-yong, and reported his 5th home run of the season in 9 games after the match against Suwon NC on the 9th. It was the final blow of the day.
Alford, who caught his senses, did not stop. In the 5th inning with a 4-1 lead, he had a chance for 2 outs and 1st and 2nd bases, widening the gap by hitting a timely hit with 1 RBI. Doosan Park Jung-soo had an advantageous count against 2B-1S, then hit the curve on the 4th pitch and tasted a multi-hit in 13 games since the match against Samsung in Suwon on April 29th.
Alford, who we met after the game, said, “Every member of the team helped break the losing streak. In addition, the starting pitcher gave up 5 innings with 1 run, and the batters were also energized,” he said. I thought that showing more progress day by day was the way to get out of the slump quickly. In order to overcome the slump, I tried to do well every day.”
Alford joined last year as a substitute outsider and renewed his contract for a total of 1.1 million dollars (approximately 1.4 billion won). KT’s discernment was correct. With the opening of the 2023 season, Alford wielded a batting average of 3.68, 3 homers and 10 RBIs for the month of April with an upgraded batting average. He struggled to keep the center of the batting line by himself while the team was injured one after another.
KT Anthony Alford / OSEN DB
Alford’s bat began to dull on April 30, starting with no hits in 4 at-bats against Suwon Samsung. His batting pace dropped sharply in May, probably because he consumed a lot of physical strength in April, and his monthly batting average in May was quite low at 10.305. In his last 10 games, his batting average was lower at 1.11.
“Not only me, but all players feel tired at this time,” said Alford. But there must be a reason the team brought me in, and I don’t really care because I have to do my job responsibly.”
The future of KT, which ended its losing streak with the victory that day, was also bright. “The season is still a long way off,” Alford said. In addition, there are many injured players, so young players are getting opportunities and showing off their talents,” he said. “When I came last year, KT ranked 7th and 8th, but eventually advanced to fall baseball. I can show that kind of image again this year,” he said confidently.
At the end of May last year, KT recruited Alford for a total of $577,000 as a replacement foreign player for Henry Ramos. As Alford said, KT’s ranking at the time was 8th. Afterwards, on June 14, when Alford debuted in the KBO League, he raised the ranking to 5th place, and furthermore, while fighting for rankings at the top ranks, he stepped into the postseason in 4th place. This year, he is staying at the bottom for the 11th day, but he showed his gaze that it was still too early to give up.
What type of baseball should be played to achieve miracles for two years in a row? Alford said, “In the meantime, there were many games that I could win, but it was difficult because of small things such as mismatches and misses. In the future, if we focus on supplementing that part, we will be able to win a lot.” “All the beasts know what to do. With (Park) Byeong-ho entering the lineup, it seems that the batting line has become stronger. (Moon) Sang-cheol hyung is also doing very well, so I think KT will do better in the future.”