Japan wins World Baseball Classic

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It was fitting that Ichiro Suzuki drove in the winning runs in the 10th inning to beat South Korea 5 to 3 in the championship game of the World Baseball Classic.

LOS ANGELES — To Japan and South Korea, the final of the World Baseball Classic was more than the final game of a 16-team tournament. It was the chance, the prized chance, to subdue a despised rival and be called the best team in the world. It was an opportunity for one proud country to incense another.

With a pulsating 5-3 win over South Korea in 10 innings Monday night, the Japanese won their second straight Classic and remained atop the international baseball world. Until the next tournament, in 2013, the Japanese can boast about being superior to the South Koreans and any country where players pick up bats and baseballs.

Ichiro Suzuki lined a two-out, two-strike single to center field off Chang Yong Lim to drive in two runs in the 10th and ignite a celebration from Dodger Stadium to Tokyo. But Suzuki did not immediately celebrate. After he scooted to second on the throw home, he showed no emotion. He calmly lifted his hand to call a timeout.

“I believe that Ichiro’s hit is something I’ll never forget,” said Tatsunori Hara, the Japanese manager. “It’s an image that will forever be imprinted in my mind.”

From The New York Times. The entire article is a good read.

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