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South Koreans reach gold-medal game

South Koreans reach gold-medal game

Lee Seung-yuop hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth inning and top-seeded South Korea beat Japan 6-2 Friday to stay perfect in the Beijing Games baseball tournament.
Japan reliever Hitoki Iwase allowed a leadoff single to Lee Yong-kyu to start the inning and quickly received a mound visit from manager Senichi Hoshino. After striking out Kim Hyun-soo, Lee delivered the South Koreans' most timely hit yet.
Yoon Suk-min pitched a perfect ninth and met catcher Kang Min-ho between the mound and home plate and jumped into a celebratory embrace. Their teammates weren't far behind.
The South Koreans (8-0) will play Saturday night at Wukesong Stadium against the winner of Friday's late semifinal between defending Olympic champion and second-seeded Cuba or the No. 3 United States squad.
Kim Dong-joo followed the home run with a single, then scored a key insurance run when left fielder Akihiro Sato dropped a routine fly ball by Lee Dae-ho for a devastating two-base error.
One out later, Kang Min-ho doubled in another run, raising his hands in celebration as he reached second.
Pinch-hitter Lee Jin-young hit a tying RBI single off Kyuji Fujikawa with two outs in the seventh. Lee Dae-ho, the designated hitter, had drawn a one-out walk and Jeong Keun-woo entered as a pinch-runner, then pumped his right arm in the air and cheered after sliding safely into home plate for the tying run.
Japan's path turned tough as soon as the team lost its Olympic opener to defending champion Cuba.
Still, the Japanese went ahead 2-0 in this game.
Norichika Aoki hit an RBI single in the third and Tsuyoshi Nishioka scored both runs for Japan (4-4), widely considered the favorite to win gold coming into the Olympics. Japan also lost 5-3 to the South Koreans in preliminary play last Saturday.
Japan wanted nothing more than to add a gold medal to its list after beating Cuba for the inaugural World Baseball Classic title two years ago. This is baseball's last hurrah in the Olympics at least until 2016 if the sport gets reinstated into the program at all.
Nishioka, Japan's leadoff hitter, put his team ahead 1-0 in the first when he scored on a groundout. Nishioka drew a one-out walk in the third and advanced on Masahiro Araki's sacrifice before reaching third on a wild pitch. Aoki then singled him home for a 2-0 lead.
South Korea struggled to generate clutch hits until finally breaking out in the eighth.
Lee Yong-kyu doubled to start the fourth for the first hit off Japan starter Toshiya Sugiuchi and Kim Hyun-soo followed with a single. Lee Yong-kyu then scored when Lee Seung-yuop grounded into a double play.
Kim Dong-joo followed with a single and that was it for Sugiuchi, who gave way to Kenshin Kawakami.


Updated : 2021-04-13 22:01 GMT+08:00