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Korea beats Japan in Olympics baseball

Posted September. 23, 2000 19:48,   


The winning streak of Korea`s baseball ¡°Dream Team¡± against Japan has continued in Sydney.

It was in the Bangkok Asian Games in 1998 that Korea`s first ¡°Dream Team¡± was formed. The then Dream Team I led by Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Park Chan-Ho and the Arizona Diamondbacks` Kim Byung-Hyun stopped Japan 13-8 in the preliminary round and humiliated its archrival with a 13-1 victory in the finals of the Asian Games to capture the gold medal.

Dream Team II was launched last year for the Asian Baseball Championships in Seoul, which was also an Asian qualifying tournament for the Sydney Olympics. The team, which was mainly made up of professional players such as home run king Lee Seung-Yuop, Chung Min-Tae, Chung Min-Chul and Koo Dae-Sung, won the championship trophy by trouncing Japan 5-3 in the third match of the final league.

The Korea-Japan baseball rivalry dates back to 1954, when the Asian Baseball Championships were inaugurated in Manila. Korea suffered a 0-6 shutout.

Nine years later, Korea won its first victory over Japan. In the Seoul Asian Baseball Championships in 1963, Korea beat Japan 5-2 in the first league and finally won the championships with a 3-0 rout, engineered by a two-run homer from Kim Euong-Yong, now manager of Dream Team III in Sydney, and Shin Yong-Kyun¡¯s shutout.

One of Korea`s most dramatic victories over its neighbor took place at the 27th World Baseball Championships held at Seoul`s Jamsil Ballpark in 1982. Trailing 0-2 at the bottom of the eighth inning, Kim Jae-Bak, now manager of the Hyundai Unicorns, made it 2-2 with a surprising bunt and then Han Dae-Hwa, now manager of the Dongguk University team, blasted a three-run homer that hit the pole and landed in the fair zone, making Korea the first Asian country to win the world championships.