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Three-year-old KT Wiz top spring training for first time

The KT Wiz, the newest team in the Korea Baseball Organization, have won their first spring training exhibition game series, raising expectations for their performance in the upcoming season as the team enters its third year.

The KT Wiz finished spring training with seven wins, one tie and three losses to finish first among the KBO’s 10 teams. The KT Wiz were confirmed spring training champs after the NC Dinos, the top-ranked team until Saturday, lost to the Kia Tigers and the Doosan Bears, the third-ranked team, lost to the LG Twins.

The KT Wiz were supposed to play against the Lotte Giants on Sunday, but the game was canceled due to weather.

On the other side of the board, the Samsung Lions finished at the bottom for the first time in four years with two wins, one tie and nine losses. The Samsung Lions have long been a powerhouse team but had a disappointing ninth-place finish in the season last year, a stunning drop from first place the previous year.

The KBO’s regular season is scheduled to start on Friday. The result from the exhibition games do not carry over to the regular season.

There have only been five teams that won the regular series after topping spring training. Last year, the KT Wiz finished second in exhibition games but at the bottom of the regular season.


FC Augsburg’s Ji Dong-won dropped from Korean team

FC Augsburg forward Ji Dong-won was dropped from the Korean national football team since he won’t be able to play in the upcoming World Cup qualifier against Syria due to a yellow card suspension, the national football governing body said Saturday.

The Korea Football Association said since Ji isn’t available for Korea’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Syria in Seoul on Tuesday, it decided to call up Hwang Ui-jo to fill the void.

Ji picked up his second yellow card in Korea’s 1-0 loss to China in the final Asian qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Thursday, which gave him an automatic one-match suspension.

Hwang, who plays with Korea’s second-division football club Seongnam FC, has scored one goal in eight matches for Korea.

Korea are in Group A, along with Iran, Uzbekistan, Syria, China and Qatar in the final round.

With four matches remaining, the Taeguk Warriors are in second place with 10 points after collecting three wins, one draw and two losses. They are four points behind the group leader Iran.

Syria are in the fourth place with eight points.

Only the top two nations in the group earn automatic berths to the 2018 World Cup, while the third-place team must go through playoff rounds to enter the world football’s showpiece event.

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