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(Premier12) S. Korea, Japan put on entertaining offensive show

All Headlines 23:02 November 16, 2019

By Yoo Jee-ho

TOKYO, Nov. 16 (Yonhap) -- In a game where the result ultimately didn't matter, South Korea and Japan treated their baseball fans to a highly-entertaining display of offensive explosion on Saturday in Tokyo.

Japan outdueled South Korea 10-8, with the two teams combining for 26 hits, in the final Super Round game at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Premier12 at Tokyo Dome, And the sellout crowd of 44,224 certainly got their money's worth from the slugfest that lasted three hours and 39 minutes.

The Super Round game between South Korea and Japan at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Premier12 is underway at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo on Nov. 16, 2019. (Yonhap)

There were some fireworks inside the iconic domed stadium, with each team putting up crooked numbers in a couple of huge innings.

Japan opened the scoring in the bottom second, and South Korea tied it in the top third with Hwang Jae-gyun's solo home run.

And things were just starting.

Japan burst the game open with six runs in the bottom third. The inning began with five consecutive hits, with RBI singles by Seiya Suzuki and Hideto Asamura in the middle of it. Japan added four runs on a bases-loaded walk, a single, a groundball and a sacrifice fly.

That 7-1 lead was almost gone in the top fourth, as South Korea nearly matched Japan's big inning with five runs.

South Korea got three straight singles off starter Takayuki Kishi to get a run across the plate. Kang Baek-ho joined the party with an RBI single, and then Park Sei-hyok and Kim Sang-su both hit doubles to drive in three more runs together.

Kang Baek-ho of South Korea hits a two-run single against Japan in the top of the seventh inning of the Super Round game at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Premier12 at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo on Nov. 16, 2019. (Yonhap)

All of a sudden, the lead for Japan was only 7-6. And both teams had more offense left in them.

In the bottom fifth, Tetsuto Yamada and Yoshihiro Maru each hit run-scoring doubles to give Japan a 9-6 lead.

South Korea fought back with two runs in the top seventh, courtesy of an RBI single by Kang Baek-ho. And then Japan got a run back in the bottom seventh when Kensuke Kondo was hit by a pitch from reliever Go Woo-suk with the bases full.

That made it 10-8 for Japan, and that stood as the final score -- perhaps to the disappointment of fans in the stands.

These high-scoring games are typically nightmarish for managers and pitching coaches, but fun for spectators. Japan and South Korea will meet again in Sunday's championship final, because they finished first and second after four games in the Super Round.

And if Saturday's game was a prelude at all, fans will be in for another treat.

Hwang Jae-hyun of South Korea celebrates his solo home run against Japan in the top of the third inning of the Super Round game at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Premier12 at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo on Nov. 16, 2019. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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