After narrowly missing out on a perfect game with seven outs, KT Wiz’s foreign starting pitcher Wes Benjamin, 30, did not hide his disappointment after the game.
Benjamin pitched an eight-inning, one-hit, no-hit shutout, including not allowing a single batter to reach base until the bottom of the seventh inning, in a 3-0 victory over the visiting SSG Landers in the 2023 Baseball World Series at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on Wednesday.
“I felt very good today, so I was conscious of pitching a perfect game from the fourth or fifth inning,” Benjamin said after the game. “I felt a little calmer because I was conscious of it, so I was able to concentrate and throw the ball.”
On this day, Benjamin’s pitching was perfect.
SSG had a predominantly right-handed batting order to attack the left-handed pitcher, but Benjamin’s sharp “awl” delivery kept SSG’s bats in check.
He cooked SSG with a variety of pitches, including fastballs (44), sliders (19), and changeups (5) in all corners of the strike zone.
After a perfect game, Benjamin gave up an RBI single in the top of the seventh inning with a 1-0 lead.
Facing SSG’s leadoff hitter Choi, he threw a fastball on a two-pitch, two-strike count and allowed a double to the left field wall.
“I should have thrown it deep,” Benjamin said, “but the ball went up the middle, so it’s not surprising to get a hit off Choi, who is the best hitter. She didn’t miss it and hit it very well.”
Benjamin, who is known for his good manners, even clapped for Choi after the seventh inning, despite the disappointment of the perfect game.
“Choi Jung came up to me and said she was sorry,” Benjamin laughed, adding, “I was surprised that she said hello because she didn’t need to be sorry at all.”
Benjamin threw 103 pitches until the eighth inning, when he turned the ball over to closer Kim Jae-yoon for the ninth.
No other pitcher in the KBO has thrown a complete game this season.
“I thought about throwing a complete game, but (KT manager) Lee Kang-chul told me not to push myself (after the eighth inning),” Benjamin said. “I thought it would be good to save my energy for fall baseball, so I stopped pitching.”
With the win, Benjamin improved to 15-5 on the season, tying Odrisamer Despaigne for the most wins by a KT pitcher in history.
“I don’t care about the record,” he said, “I’m just aiming to pitch well in fall baseball.” 파워볼