(LEAD) Dinos cleanup Martin banking on fond memories ahead of key KBO postseason game

CHANGWON, South Korea, – Just over a week ago, Jason Martin delivered one of the biggest home runs in NC Dinos history. Up against the SSG Landers at Changwon NC Park in Game 3 of the first round in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) postseason, the cleanup hitter for the Dinos smoked a three-run homer that turned a 5-4 deficit to a 7-5 lead in the bottom of the second inning. The Dinos went on to win the game 7-6 to complete the three-game sweep of the Landers and reach the second round.

Martin is back at Changwon NC Park, in the southeastern city of Changwon, on Thursday for another Game 3, this time in the second round against the KT Wiz. The Dinos can also complete yet another three-game sweep here, and book their spot in the Korean Series.

After going hitless in the past two games, Martin said Thursday he hopes to build on some fond memories of last week.

“I feel really good about today, especially having that memory of last time,” Martin told Yonhap News Agency in a pregame chat at the stadium. “I think we’re going to come out and play well, and hopefully, we could clinch it tonight.”

Martin is 0-for-8 in this series with a sacrifice fly and an RBI. He insisted he is not pressing in the box.

“I’m just taking it one at-bat at a time. I know one at-bat can change everything,” Martin said. “So not trying to think too much of the past and just trying to do well in the future.”

Dinos manager Kang In-kwon noted in his pregame scrum that some of his hitters have cooled off since the start of the postseason, and singled out Martin as a key player for Game 3.

“I think some guys are due for a breakout, and Martin has to start hitting better,” Kang said. “I think how Martin swings the bat will be crucial in today’s game.”

The Dinos have been getting offensive production from elsewhere, especially the three hitters in front of Martin. Leadoff man Son Ah-seop, No. 2 hitter Park Min-woo and No. 3 hitter Park Kun-woo have accounted for 10 of the team’s 18 hits in two games.

“I haven’t got a hit yet but I think that just says a lot about our team. When somebody’s not showing up that day or a couple of days, there’s always somebody there to have a big game,” Martin said. “And I feel like that’s why we’ve gotten here.”

On hitting behind three highly productive teammates, Martin said, “Every at-bat, I feel like I’m coming out with runners in scoring position and runners on base. That makes my job pretty easy, just being able to put the ball in play and being able to get more RBIs.”

The Dinos are riding a six-game winning streak this postseason. Dating to their previous postseason appearance in 2020, the Dinos have won nine straight games in postseason play, tied for the longest such streak in KBO history.

Martin, enjoying his first taste of postseason play in his first year in the KBO, said confidence has been contagious throughout the clubhouse.

“We all feel like we’re confident and we’re going into each game knowing that that we have a good opportunity to win,” Martin said. “And we’re showing it.”

Source: Yonhap News Agency