The Samsung Lions pose for photos after winning the Asia Series. (Yonhap News)
TAICHUNG, Taiwan (Yonhap News) ― South Korea’s Samsung Lions beat SoftBank Hawks of Japan 5-3 to capture the Asia Series tournament in a battle of league champions.
At Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium, the Lions, the 2011 champions of the Korea Baseball Organization, overcame an early deficit against the Hawks, the Nippon Professional Baseball champions.
Samsung’s starter Jang Won-sam settled down after a shaky start and the bullpen took care of the rest, as the Lions became the first KBO club to win the Asia Series since it began in 2005.
The Lions also avenged a 9-0 loss to the Hawks in the round-robin phase of this tournament.
Trailing 1-0 with just one hit off Hawks’ starter Sho Iwasaki through four innings, the Lions finally solved the Japanese right-hander with five runs in the top of the fifth.
After a single, a hit by pitch and a walk loaded the bases, Jung Hyeong-sik lined a single up the middle to put the Lions up 2-1.
Park Seok-min followed with a ground-rule double over the left-field fence to make it 3-1. Then against new pitcher Yang Yao-hsun, Kang Bong-gyu hit a single that deflected off the glove of shortstop Munenori Kawasaki to build a 5-1 lead.
This year’s Asia Series brought together league champions from South Korea, Japan, Australia and host Taiwan. In the round-robin stage, the Lions beat Perth Heat of the Australian Baseball League and Uni-President Lions of Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League, but lost to the Hawks.