The SK Wyverns defeated the heavily favourite Doosan Bears 4 games to 2 and won the Korean Series to claim the 2018 Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) title. It was their first win in eight years.
The SK Wyverns, based in Incheon, were managed by Trey Hillman. The American became the only foreigner to guide a team to a KBO league title.
Born in 1963 in Amarillo, Texas, Hillman was a below the average Minor League infielder as a player. His coaching career took him to win the 2006 Japan Series with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters. He managed the Major League Baseball (MLB) Kansas City Royals (2008-2010).
“It’s incredible,” Trey Hillman said in his post-championship press conference, all soaked in champagne. “The people I’ve got around (me), the relationships we have, and the love that we have for each other … it’s really special.”
Trey Hillman won’t return for the 2019 season.
Slugger Han Dong Min was the hero of the series and earned well deserved MVP honours. After hitting a walk off home run to end the play off series against the Nexen Heroes, he provided a tie breaking towering shot in the thirteenth inning of game 6 of the final series.
The SK Wyverns had tied the game in the top of the ninth on a home run by Choi Jeong and won the title clincher 5-4 at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul.
The Wyverns moved to Seoul leading the series 3-2. They had taken the lead winning, 4-1, the last game of the series played on home turf at Munhak Stadium, Incheon. Kim Tae Hoon earned the win in game 5.
Before game 5, the two teams had won one game each both in Seoul and in Incheon, but the Doosan Bears have never taken the lead during the series.
The Doosan Bears, based in the Nation Capital Seoul and managed by Tae-hyeong Kim, have played in the fourth consecutive Korean Series. After winning in 2015 and 2016, they lost in 2017 against the Kia Tigers. They had dominated the regular season, finishing with a 14-game lead.
The 2018 KBO enjoyed a total 8,073,742 attendance, an average of 11,214 spectators per game. The six games of the final series averaged 25,000 spectators.