Why ‘No. 1 team captain’ Na Sung-bum said he “didn’t even have the decency to look at the juniors”

“I didn’t want to show my juniors any respect.”

Kia Tigers captain Na Seong-beom (35) let out a long-simmering emotion after hitting a ball worthy of his name. Na Sung-beom started at third base and batted right field against the Doosan Bears in the 2024 Shinhan SOL Bank KBO League at Gwangju Kia Champions Field on Friday, going 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs to lead the Tigers to an 8-4 come-from-behind victory. He raised his season batting average to .176 from .103.

Na Sung-beom activated the home run gun in the bottom of the third inning, trailing 1-0. With Seo Gun-chang leading off with a single to right, Na Sung-beom hit a two-run shot over the right-field wall to make it 2-1. On a 1-2 pitch, Choi Won-joon’s slider was just off the plate, and Na didn’t miss it.

The other run came off the bat of Na Sung-beom, who also hit a two-run homer to extend the Doosan lead. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth inning, he hit a two-run double to left center field to extend the lead to 4-1. It was the decisive blow that ended Doosan’s 10-game winning streak.

Kia manager Lee Beom-ho said after the game, “Na Sung-beom lived up to his name. He had four RBIs by himself, including a two-run double to tie the game, and our No. 4 hitter Choi Hyung-woo also led the offense well with a single and a wedge home run. Hong Jong-pyo and Park Chan-ho also showed good offensive performance in the bottom of the order.”

Na Sung-beom had a late start to the season on March 28. He injured his hamstring during an exhibition game and was unable to make the opening roster. Naturally, being sidelined from the start of his captain’s season was a heavy blow, and he was eager to get back on the team and make an impact. Even without their leadoff hitter, Kia had been racing to the top of the standings thanks to the play of foreign one-two punchers Will Crowe and James Nail and the firepower of their hot bats. The team believed that if Na Sung-bum joined the team sooner rather than later, they could gain more momentum, and Na Sung-bum felt the same way.

What awaited him was a terrible slump. His season batting average had dropped to .080 before the three-game series against Doosan in the middle of the week. He had just two hits in nine games. The slump baffled him, and he struggled with the lack of a breakthrough.

In the meantime, Kia’s momentum had slowed down. By the 14th, Kia had a 4-6 record in May, trailing the second-place NC Dinos and the third-place Doosan Bears by 1.5 카지노 games. The lead would have been even harder to maintain if Doosan hadn’t ended their 10-game winning streak on the day, but the resurgent Na Sung-beom was able to hold onto the top spot. Kia improved its record to 26-16 on the season, pushing Doosan down to fourth place and 2.5 games out of first place.

“I think I felt a little bit more pressure than when I wasn’t the captain,” said Na. The other players worked really hard and kept accumulating a lot of wins, and we were in first place, but I honestly couldn’t help a little bit despite being the captain. We should have won a lot of games as soon as I came back (from injury), but after I came, I felt like we went through a little bit of a downward spiral, so I was personally upset, and I didn’t have the face to look at the juniors,” he said honestly.

“I just hit a lot of good pitches yesterday and today. There are still a lot of matches left and I hope I can show that I can play well and win more matches and hopefully help the team,” he added.

During his slump, he relied on positive thoughts and the support of his teammates. “It’s really my first time. I’ve had a lot of bad times in the middle of the season, but this is the first time I’ve had a bad time (from the beginning), so I didn’t know how to solve it. I have my own know-how when I have a bad time in the middle of the season, and it gets better over time, so I didn’t have any problems, but I’ve never had a bad time like this right after the start of the season, so it was hard,” Na said.

“The coaches kept saying good things to encourage me, and I tried to work hard. I was worried at first because I wasn’t hitting well, but I just tried to trust myself and keep watching good videos and keep that good feeling going in batting practice. I think I just tried to stay confident in the batting cage, and I think that’s why I’ve been getting good at-bats since yesterday,” he said, looking a little more relaxed now.

As captain, I can’t say anything more to my teammates. They just need to keep doing what they’re doing. “Honestly, they’re all doing a really good job, so I don’t think I have anything to say. There are tough games, and there are a lot of mistakes, but I don’t want to criticize them, but I want to encourage them and give them strength, because they know they made mistakes. I hope they don’t repeat the same mistakes,” he said, vowing to be a supportive captain for his teammates, even if it’s a little late.

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