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Korea garners first Olympic medal in baseball; beats Japan 3-1

Korea garners first Olympic medal in baseball; beats Japan 3-1

Posted September. 27, 2000 20:13,   


Korea earned its first medal in Olympic baseball by beating its archrival Japan.

Korea won the bronze medal in the consolation match of the Sydney Olympic baseball competition as home run king Lee Seung-Yuop, 24, of Samsung Lions, hit a double to bring in two runs for a 3-1 victory over Japan, Wednesday.

With men on second and third bases with one out and the score at 0-0 in the bottom of the eighth, Lee¡¯s chances didn¡¯t look so good as he had been struck out three times by Daisuke Matsuzaka. On a 2-3 count, first base was empty and the Japanese ace was not supposed to confront Lee directly. Since Lee was struck out on curves in his previous three at-bats, the Japanese ace was expected to pitch an inside curve. But Matsuzaka pitched a fast down the middle of the plate and Lee came up big with a double to center to bring in two runs and give the Koreans a 2-0 lead.

Next batter Kim Dong-Joo singled to right to bring in Lee from second to put the Koreans up 3-0. Consequently, Matsuzaka's sole erroneous pitch earned Korea the bronze medal.

After stopping the Japanese with one run in the top of the ninth, all the Korean players rushed to the mound and hugged. It was the first medal Korea won in Olympic baseball. The team had been eliminated in the preliminary round in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and finished last in Atlanta.

Japanese players who won the silver and bronze in the 1992 and 1996 Olympics, respectively, failed to add one this time and left the stadium calmly, some shedding tears.

Koo Dae-Sung completed the game, scattering five hits for one run with some fantastic corner work, becoming the hero of the game.