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‘Fresh off a win’, LG coach Yeom Kyung-yup now dreams of ‘building a dynasty’

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우승 한풀이' LG 염경엽 감독, 이제 '왕조 건설'을 꿈꾼다|동아일보

After quenching the LG Twins' championship thirst, manager Yoon Kyung-yup is now dreaming of a “dynasty.

After finishing the regular season in first place this year, LG reached the Korean Series (KS-7 best-of-five) for the first time in 21 years since 2002, sweeping the KT Wiz 4 games to 1 to lift the trophy.

It had been 29 years since LG had won the overall title since 1994.

It was also a dream come true for Yeom, who was hired by LG after the 2022 season as a “championship contractor” to help the team win the KS title.

LG parted ways with former coach Ryu Ji-hyun after failing to advance to the KS despite finishing second in the regular season with the most wins (88) in franchise history in 2022 and hired Yeom.

Yeom was desperate to win. He had coached the Nexen Heroes (now Kiwoom) from 2013-2016 and the SK Wyverns (now SSG Landers) from 2019-2020, but had never reached the top of the KS as a head coach.

When I took the helm at LG, I said, “I have one goal, the same as the club, the same as the fans. It's to win a championship as a coach. I've won a championship as a player and a manager. My last dream is to win a championship as a coach,” Yeom emphasized, and he finally realized it.

His next dream is to build a dynasty. After winning the KS title, Yeom said, “I don't think it's the end, but the beginning. I think LG has taken the first step to become a strong team and a prestigious organization.”

LG's batting lineup has been one of the strongest in the league this season. They ranked first in team batting average (0.279), RBIs (714), and team OPS (slugging percentage + on-base percentage – 0.755). They were also first in team ERA at 3.67.

Above all, the new structure stood out.

In the outfield, Kim Hyun-soo, Oh Ji-hwan, Hong Chang-ki, Park Hae-min, and other mainstays stayed healthy, but the prospects grew up.

Moon Bo-kyung has fully established himself as the starting third baseman. After hitting .315 with nine home runs and 56 RBIs and an OPS of 0.833 last year, Moon continued his strong play this year, hitting .301 with 10 home runs and 72 RBIs and an OPS of 0.825.

Shin Min-jae also pushed Seo Geon-chang out of the way to become the starting second baseman, while Moon Sung-joo had a career-high season and carved out a spot in the outfield.

Although they didn't make the KS roster, big-hitting prospects Kim Bum-seok and Lee Jae-won are also considered to be the core of LG's batting lineup in the future.

The mound is also full of promising pitchers.

This year, rookies Park Myung-geun and Yoo Young-chan have become a reliable pair.

Park made a strong impression early in the season, going 4-3 with five saves and a 5.08 ERA in nine appearances. Yoo Young-chan, who finished the regular season with a 6-3 record, one save, and a 3.44 ERA in 12 appearances, emerged as a hot commodity after pitching six innings of one-run ball in three KS games.

Go Woo-seok and Jung Woo-young, who won gold medals at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games, are still only 25 and 24 years old, respectively.

LG, which boasts solid depth, has also gained experience by playing the KS this year.

In recent years, few teams have been able to win the KS two years in a row. The last team to do so was the 2015-2016 Doosan Bears.

With dynasty-building aspirations, LG will aim to win the KS for the second time in eight years next season.

Coach Yeom said, “I thought this year was the most important. “If we win this year, we will be mentally stronger for next season,” he said. “If we go to the KS again next year, we will be a stronger LG.

He also said, “I think the team with the best system is the team with veteran players who play a role in nurturing and growing the players under them, and we are slowly becoming such a team. Kim Hyun-soo, Oh Ji-hwan, Park Dong-won, and Park Hae-min are leading the juniors well.” “The new structure is well organized. If they develop the players well, they will become a prestigious club.” 스포츠토토맨


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