Foreign thrower wears “ITAEWON” on his jersey and hopes that “everyone will remember him”

He may be a foreign athlete, but he feels the same way about the tragic events in South Korea. Wes Benjamin, 30, of the KT Wiz, paid tribute in his own way on the first anniversary of last year’s Itaewon tragedy.토토사이트

Benjamin took the court for KT in the second game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO Playoffs against the NC Dinos at Katie Wiz Park in Suwon on March 31. He was not feeling well at the end of the season and pitched for the first time in 25 days.

Perhaps due to his long absence, Benjamin allowed a run in the first inning. With one out in the first inning, he gave up a single up the middle to Park Min-woo. He then gave up a 139 km/h fastball to the next batter, Park Gun-woo, who hit a home run over the left field fence. Benjamin allowed another run in the third inning when, after a triple by Kim Joo-won, Son Asub’s grounder to first base was poorly caught by first baseman Park Byung-ho.

However, Benjamin was not deterred and continued his game. After striking out the opposition in the fourth inning, he found himself in a tough situation in the fifth when he was hit on the thigh by a single from Kim Joo-won, but he remained calm and made the last out without allowing a run. In five innings, Benjamin threw 82 pitches and allowed three runs on four hits, two walks and a strikeout before handing off to right-hander Son Dong-hyun in the sixth. Although he was unable to tie the game and took the loss, he did a good job.

On this day, however, there was something that particularly caught Benjamin’s eye. The cap he wore in Game 2 was emblazoned with the words “ITAEWON”. Most Korean fans knew what that meant. It was a reference to the Itaewon tragedy that occurred on October 29 last year in Itaewon, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. It was a stampede in which 159 people died amidst a large crowd celebrating Halloween. The 30th and 31st of last month, when the first and second rounds of the playoffs took place, was the first anniversary.

Benjamin was aware of the tragedy. “When I returned to the U.S. last year, I heard there had been a bad incident in Itaewon,” Benjamin told Star News at Changwon NC Park, where Game 3 was held. KT ended their season on Oct. 22 after losing the five-game semifinals to the Kiwoom Heroes last year, and Benjamin returned to the U.S. after the season. So he didn’t know the details, but he knew what had happened.

“I heard it was a bad incident in Korea,” Benjamin said, “and since it coincided with the day I started, I wrote it on my cap as a reminder and to share those feelings with the fans.” The fact that the game took place on Halloween was also taken into account. “I didn’t do it for me, I did it for the families, and I do it every year to make sure people don’t forget and remember,” Benjamin said. “I’m also grateful to my fans for always supporting me,” he said.

Benjamin, who filled in for William Cuevas last May when he was out with a right elbow injury, went 5-4 with a 2.70 ERA in 17 games this year and helped KT reach the postseason. This season, he appeared in 29 games and posted a 15-6 record with a 3.54 ERA in 160 innings, ranking second in wins and fourth in strikeouts (157). A season-ending illness limited him to just one game (two innings) in the final two weeks of the pennant race, but he recovered and was back to full strength in the postseason. KT manager Lee Kang-cheol said of Benjamin’s condition after he was hit by a pitch in Game 2: “He was hit hard and had a lot of bruises. He said he could move well.”

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